The Swine Oh Nine Update
It appears as though the powers that be are expecting an increase in cases of the “Flu formerly known as Swine” at University Park in the coming months. After lying (laying?) low for much of the summer, the increase in the student population will likely lead to a resurgence of the bug.
The Dreaded Flu is expected to be particularly potent towards people from 6 months to 24 years old. It is safe to assume that the aforementioned age group encompasses most, if not all of those attending the University Park campus (though precocious 5 month olds have been known to stroll the grounds on occasion).
The usual flu avoidance measures should be followed, including regular handwashing, not sharing drinks, and disinfecting potentially contaminated surfaces. More tips for not getting ill can be found in the bathrooms on your floor.
Like the rest of the Penn State student community, we received a letter (actually an email) from Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims in early August outlining the Swine H1N1 containment measures Penn State would be undertaking. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (The one who took Graham’s Cabinet post) put it best when he said, “The point is for sick students to isolate themselves.” Wisdom.
In compliance with the CDC and PaDOH recommendations, Penn State will strongly urge students with influenza symptoms to follow CDC self-isolation guidelines. Students should not attend class or any public gatherings while ill. Symptomatic students who live in residence halls should leave campus and return
home to recover. The CDC recommends isolation until at least 24 hours after fever has resolved. For students who are unable to go home for their convalescence, the University will assist in identifying acceptable alternatives to the extent possible.
I should go home? But wait, what about all those classes I’ll miss?
Fear not, Sims notes that attendance policies will be adapted so that your wellbeing, the wellbeing of your classmates, and the wellbeing of your GPA is protected.
Additionally, the Morning Call notes that sick students at Penn State will be able to have boxed meals delivered to their rooms, a fact that hasn’t appeared in any offical University press releases.
So, keep that Purell handy. It might be a long, feverish semester.