With news reports of the flu epidemic reaching a fevered height, it is reassuring to know that thanks to our Health Services Office, we are well prepared on campus for the flu season. Since this past October, flu clinics were available on a scheduled basis in the Health Center at no cost to students, staff and faculty. In addition, Director of Health Services, Katherine Nicoletti (pictured right), took the flu vaccination clinic on the road to the students in the Davis Lobby, the Athletic Center lobby for the Bison Stampede Event and in Jazzman’s Café. As a result of her efforts, more than 100 people were vaccinated through health services (not counting those vaccinated off campus on their own) and only 3-4 students visiting Health Services exhibited flu symptoms and were sent home.
As students returned to campus from break, we welcomed them back with additional information about the flu. During Christmas break, postings on the Nichols portal advised students to obtain a flu shot before returning to campus along with the advice not to return to campus if they are ill. We also asked students to make sure they are fever free without Tylenol or Motrin for at least 24 hours before returning to campus. During check-in, flu pamphlets were also given to students as a reminder of the symptoms.
In all of this planning, we recognize the principle that student health and safety are always paramount. That’s why we carefully weigh our focus on academics with health safety for students, faculty and staff. And with viruses like the flu, where individuals can be contagious even a day or so after their symptoms have subsided, we ask faculty to be flexible and allow students to make up work and stay away during the time period where they may spread their illness to others.
Through all of these efforts, our goal is to limit the effects of the flu virus on campus and to create an environment where students, staff, and faculty alike can stay healthy throughout the spring semester.