Georgetown to Swine Flu: DO NOT WANT!

swineflu1Pandemic? Or, perfect excuse to postpone your finals?

Having learned earlier this year how quickly a college campus can turn into a cesspool, Georgetown officials are taking all precautions to prevent a Hilltop swine flu epidemic (including kicking students out of their houses during study days…).

After sending out an email on Tuesday saying that finals and commencement would proceed as scheduled and instructing everyone to, ya know, wash their hands and be sanitary and stuff, the University sent out a second, harder-core email last night, outlining their five-pronged plan for swine-flu-survival.

Here are the basic tenets:

  • Don’t go to Mexico. And if you must, you’ll need to get a health assessment before coming back on to campus
  • Cleaning crews will be sanitizing high-traffic areas and hand sanitizer will be available in residence halls.
  • The University has created quarantine houses in case they’re needed
  • There will be a discussion today at 1 pm in the ICC Auditorium with University officials and infectious disease experts to calm down the hypochondriacs.
  • Seriously people: wash your goddamn hands.

While it would definitely suck to be one of the unfortunate souls kicked out of their houses to make room for potential quarantine areas, it seems like the University is handling this as well as it can.  Vox will be attending the Swine Flu info session this afternoon—if you can’t make it but have a question you want to ask, leave it in the comments!

Full email after the jump.

Dear Members of the University Community:

In response to increasing numbers of swine flu cases in the United States, and to new reports of suspected cases in the Mid-Atlantic region, we wanted to update you on the ongoing efforts of the University’s emergency response team. Georgetown officials are in daily contact with local and federal public health authorities and are factoring any new information into our ongoing efforts to take appropriate proactive steps. Plans put in place over the past several years to address other global outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as SARS and Avian Flu, help to inform our approach to the most appropriate responses to swine flu. Our efforts are informed by public health protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As of this afternoon, the CDC has confirmed 91 cases of swine flu in the United States, including one on a college campus in Indiana. In addition, there are four others cases suspected at a campus in Delaware. Late today we learned of reports of suspected cases near Annapolis and Baltimore but there are still no cases that have been reported in Washington, DC or on Georgetown campuses.

At Georgetown we have begun taking proactive steps as precautionary measures to protect, support and educate members of the campus community:

  1. Consistent with CDC travel warning advice and our policies, University–sponsored and University-related travel for students, faculty and staff to areas affected by a CDC travel health warning is temporarily suspended. Currently, this moratorium applies to travel to Mexico based on the existing CDC warning. Those planning personal travel to these locations are encouraged to take the CDC travel health warning into account and postpone nonessential travel to Mexico at this time as well. Faculty or staff who do travel to these areas must contact the Georgetown University Medical Center’s Occupational Health Medical Director at (202) 687-0398 for a health assessment before returning to their responsibilities on campus. Students who travel to these areas must contact Student Health at (202) 687-2200 before returning to campus.
  2. University officials and infectious disease experts will be available tomorrow at 1p.m. in ICC Auditorium on the Main Campus to respond to questions about swine flu from students, faculty and staff.
  3. Cleaning crews are sanitizing high traffic locations and common areas throughout campus and hand soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizer is being provided in residence halls.
  4. We have identified a limited number of safe campus housing facilities with individual air filtration systems should they need to be used to isolate members of the university community that may present swine flu symptoms and health risks to the larger community. We have not needed to use this housing but are making rooms available in the event that we need to do so with little advance notice.
  5. We have begun a public education campaign to get information to members of the campus community about proper hand washing procedures and steps they can take to protect themselves.

We ask that all members of the university community remain vigilant about their health and personal hygiene. Symptoms of swine influenza may include fever, body aches, cough, sore throat, and in some cases gastrointestinal upset. The virus is typically spread via personal contact through coughing or sneezing, and can sometimes be spread by contacting something with flu viruses on it and then touching the nose or mouth. Students should visit the Student Health Center if they experience flu-like symptoms, particularly if they have traveled recently to an area where swine flu is known to be present. Faculty and staff may consult their personal physicians.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide updates to the university community via the emergency preparedness website.


Todd Olson
Vice President for Student Affairs

Rocco DelMonaco
Vice President for University Safety

Image from Flickr user Totally Severe, used under a Creative Commons license.

3 Comments on “Georgetown to Swine Flu: DO NOT WANT!

  1. Pingback: Vox Populi » Swine Flu update: Travel tips and standing up for (sub-par?) sanitizer

  2. We have it at GW!

    Party! or NOT

    – Logan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>