From the Provost's Desk: Keeping healthy through influenza season

Following personal health measures, staying home when unwell and accommodating our students are keys to protecting our U of A community.


As the Fall semester progresses and the temperature cools, we are entering the annual cold and flu season – and this season is expected to be worse than previous years based on current data. As a result, community members may be more likely to need time away to care for dependents and themselves. I thank all of you who have followed personal health measures since returning to campus, including those of you who have stayed home when you were feeling unwell. In the coming weeks, it will be especially important for each of us to continue taking these steps, to prioritize our health and the health of our colleagues and students. 

Boost your immunity with vaccinations

One way to boost one’s immunity and help others stay healthy is by getting the influenza vaccination and the bivalent COVID-19 booster

You may have already received your free flu shot during the recent three-week clinic held at the University Health Centre and UHC Pharmacy on North Campus. If not, you can also visit an AHS immunization clinic near you to receive your shot. The bivalent vaccine, which provides added protection against both Omicron and the original SARS-CoV-2 virus strain, is currently offered by appointment at the University Health Centre and the UHC Pharmacy. 

Staying home when you feel unwell

Despite best efforts and measures taken, should you feel unwell this flu season, please follow the university’s recommendation to stay home and take care of yourself. 

Accommodating students who are unable to attend class

Students, like staff and faculty, also continue to balance their health and their studies. It is important that students who feel unwell and are unable to attend class are provided with the proper accommodations for their circumstances. 

Instructors, please ensure you are aware of the academic accommodations and wellness services available to students (shared below) and know what to do when a student is sick from exams or term work. For example, remember you cannot require students to visit a doctor or other healthcare provider nor require them to provide a medical note. Discretion and compassion should be used in deciding whether circumstances justify granting an excused absence.

Academic accommodations and wellness services for students 

  • Wellness Supports — social workers help bridge gaps and connect students with resources that provide ongoing mental health support and referrals to other mental health resources.
  • Academic Success Centre — for student inquiries regarding academic accommodations for students with permanent documented disabilities and chronic physical and mental health conditions.
  • Student Service Centre — provides information and access to services to support students’ academic, financial, mental and physical well-being.
  • Office of the Dean of Students — for inquiries about accommodations and wellness.

By taking steps to keep ourselves healthy and ensuring students receive appropriate accommodations when they are feeling unwell, we can protect the health and well-being of our community while continuing to meet our teaching and learning objectives. 

Dr. Verna Yiu
Interim Provost and Vice-president (Academic)

COVID-19 information for the U of A community:
Staying home when unwell: What students, instructors and staff need to know 
For instructors: What to do when a student is sick from exams or term work