Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Flu hits Whitman campus hard, H1N1 vaccine near

Emmy Coleman '13 wears a respiratory mask to prevent spread of her influenza-like illness. Credit: Bullion
Emmy Coleman '13 wears a respiratory mask to prevent spread of her influenza-like illness. Credit: Bullion
The Health Center saw 68 students with influenza-like symptoms last week, the peak weekly number since the beginning of the semester. As of 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4th, 27 total cases had come to the Health Center this week, including the weekend.

The decrease in students with the flu this week has brought relief to the Health Center, as has the anticipation of a shipment of the H1N1 vaccine. The vaccine will first be available to students who are considered High Risk in accordance with the standards set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Students who meet those qualifications will be notified via email when they can receive the vaccine.

20091102-02-swineflu-webAlthough the Health Center was very busy they have not yet had to call upon the Student Health Advisory Council to aid them but, as interim director of the Health Center Claudia Ness said, “Just knowing that they are there is helpful.”

The large number of students with flu-like symptoms resulted in reduced class sizes this week, but not every ill student stayed home.

“I think a lot of people feel pressured to go to class even though they’re sick,” said senior Daniel Grant, who found himself ill for a full six days, three of which were class days.

20091102-03-swineflu-webChuck Cleveland, Dean of Students, sent an e-mail to the student listserv urging sick students to isolate themselves according to Health Center instructions. Cleveland also assured students that they would not be penalized for their absence.

“It has come to my attention that some students are reluctant to self isolate and miss class for fear of academic repercussions. This is unfortunate as the ILI can easily spread to others in the class. I want to remind you that the faculty will provide academic accommodations to students who miss class due to illness. If you become ill go to the Health Center, follow their instructions but please do not go to class with ILI” said Cleveland in the e-mail.

20091102-04-swineflu-webVisiting Assistant History Professor, Gustavo Licon, who has been battling off a cold himself, is one of the professors who provided academic accomodations.

“Being sick really slows you down,” Licon said. For students who miss class he has granted extensions needed to complete work or given alternative assingments so that students can maintain participation points. Licon saw an average of about three students missing from each of his classes last week.

“Professors were more than accommodating,” attested Grant. “The hardest part was overcoming the fevers, chills, and aches.”

Students who have fallen ill have received the support of section mates through their isolation. First-year student Diana Wu of Prentiss Hall was grateful for the help she received from Dox section, which took turns picking up her meals from the dining hall for her as well as checking in from time to time.

With the flu firmly established on campus, attention has turned to stopping its spread. In an email to his Argument in Law and Politics class, Professor of Forensics Jim Hanson captured the focus on keeping other students from getting ill.

“If you are sick please just e-mail me and don’t come to class. Let’s put a halt to this flu thing” Hanson said in the e-mail.

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