Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Flu Preparedness

H1N1 is a strain of influenza A. There is a rapid test for that. I think we can run that test at the school. If someone tests positive for influenza A at this time of the year they are considered probable cases of H1N1 ... at least that is how the college where I teach is handling it. The state department of health is so backed up with samples for H1N1 that it is unlikely that anyone will know that is what they have until after they are better.

But we have a plan. We have some rooms that are set aside for "voluntary isolation." Students who have symptoms are directed to call the school nurse during regular hours and campus safety evenings and weekends. Someone will show up to confirm the symptoms and then help them move to one of the isolation rooms. Residence life staff is responsible for ensuring that they have everything they need, including food.

We profs have all been asked to think ahead about how we are going to handle our classes if we get sick, and how flexible we can be for students who get sick. I've put a handout on all my course web sites giving students general directions for group discussions. They will have to sign in, make notes. I spoke this morning to a prof who teaches anthropology. She has picked out a selection of movies that some staff person can show her classes.

The first-years showed up on Saturday. Some of the athletes came on Monday. Today the upper classman are moving in. Classes start tomorrow.

We already have four students in isolation.

Boy oh boy, I'm looking forward to this semester.

3 comments:

  1. Good luck! It's already gone through here big time. I'm pretty sure my husband and I have both had it, but by that point they'd stopped testing around here.

    A friend of ours who's 28 was in a coma for 10 days with it. It's mostly nothing, but can get pretty scary really quickly.

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  2. At my daughter's university, 2000 students had flu-like symptoms in the first week of classes. That's more than 10% of the student population. Ack.

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  3. Just a thought, but could you work out a way for students to conference call in to class, if they are in isolation? That way they could "attend" lectures.

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