September 4, 2009.
As you may know, “flu” is the top public health issue right now and for good reason. Experts are predicting an increase in both seasonal, as well as H1N1 (also referred to as Swine Flu) incidences since both flu viruses spread easily. Assumption College has plans in place to address this health issue.
The majority of the nationally reported cases of H1N1 report mild illnesses. Symptoms are primarily fever (could include chills, a flushed appearance, and/or sweating), headache and body aches along with respiratory symptoms, which may include cough, nasal congestion and sore throat (sore throat or cough alone are not symptoms of the flu). Diarrhea, vomiting and conjunctivitis have also been found in some patients.
Students who are sick should not attend classes. If your son or daughter develops these symptoms, please have him/her contact the Student Health Services by calling extension 7329 or 508-767-7329, Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The resident assistants have “flu kits” that include hand sanitizer, face masks, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and Gatorade packets. If possible, residential students with flu-like illness will be expected to go home if they have family or friends who live relatively close to the campus. Students who are sick should strictly limit the number of people they come in contact with until they no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever for at least 24 hours. After that 24 hour period, they can return to campus. If a student has the flu, she/he will likely be unable to attend class for two or three days, and should contact the Dean of Undergraduate Studies office by calling ext. 7486 or 508-767-7486, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Please discuss an action plan with your son or daughter, should they exhibit signs of the flu virus.
For those who cannot leave campus, we have arranged for temporary, alternate housing where sick students can stay until 24 hours after they are free of fever. They need to contact Student Health Services so arrangements can be made with Residential Life. If Student Health Services is closed, Campus Police will contact a member of the Residential Life staff to make those arrangements.
For the most up-to-date information on Assumption College’s flu plan, please visit www.assumption.edu/flunews or click the button on our homepage. In addition to keeping our Web site up-to-date, we will also notify students by email of any additional changes to our institution’s strategy to prevent and deal with the spread of flu on our campus.
We are working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to monitor flu conditions. We will keep students updated with new information as it becomes available to us and post this information on the Web site. We are providing the following information to our students:
- The signs and symptoms of the flu.
- Flu prevention techniques. We are providing educational materials in the form of posters, emails, and programming to promote prevention, encouraging them to practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
- Offering the seasonal flu vaccine on campus. Assumption College will host a flu clinic for seasonal influenza on Tuesday, September 29 from noon to 7 p.m. The cost of the vaccine is $30, though some health insurances will be accepted or provide reimbursement.
- Encouraging students to get the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that the 2009 H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available in mid to late October. More specific dates cannot be provided at this time as vaccine availability depends on several factors, including manufacturing time and time needed to conduct clinical trials. The H1N1 vaccine will be a 2-dose series vaccination. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that certain groups receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine when it first becomes available. While college-aged students are among the targeted groups, it is even more important to get the vaccine if the student has a chronic health disorder or compromised immune system.
Assumption is carefully following this situation and has planned how it can provide the best possible services for our students. If you should have questions about this, please feel free to contact me. I wish you well.
Catherine WoodBrooks, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs