It seems like every few years there is a new disease, viral or bacterial, in nature that seems to scare populace and make them run for the hills. A few years ago it was the anthrax scare caused by terrorist threats and a few powdered filled envelopes. Before that it was H5N1, otherwise known as Bird Flu. Today it is H1N1 or better known as swine flu. Ever since the World Health Organization declared the swine flu to have reached a pandemic stage, people have been looking at coughers and sneezers with wariness and caution. So what if this virus hits Bellevue College like it has Washington State University? Do we have anything planned if there is an outbreak? The answer is: yes we do.
In addition to staying at home when you’re sick, washing your hands and covering your coughs, the school has compiled information for students via http://bellevuecollege.edu/flu/. It addresses the issue of what to do in the event of a swine flu outbreak at BC. “It’s all about minimizing the risk of spreading the disease here at school,” said Maggie Whetsel, director of public safety at BC, “and to help minimize the risk we need information. The evidence so far has shown that most people who get this illness are between the ages of 10 and 19, which should be a big concern for us since there are a lot of those in this school. So please stay home when you’re sick.”
Another problem raised by this potential outbreak is the frightful idea of missing too much school and failing out. This is a tricky problem because it’s not only students who get sick but potentially professors as well. So what happens when you or your teacher gets this virus? “The main idea here is to let teachers know to be more lenient to students who get swine flu and vice versa because no one can really help getting sick,” said Whetsel. “The number one thing for you, as students, to do to avoid a virus related outbreak at school is to make sure you speak to your professors about what to do if you contract swine flu. Get their email and make sure you can contact them if you get sick so you can keep up with what’s going on in class. You can also subscribe to BC’s emergency text alert to get current and up to date information about what’s going on at school.”
Furthermore (and this needs to be repeated), do not feel like you can tough this bug out and simply come to school with a few aspirins or Tylenols in your system. In fact, even when your fever is gone, stay home for at least an additional 24 hours. If you are still coughing, stay home for even longer then that. Recent studies have shown that even though your fever may have dissipated you are still possibly contagious, according to MSNBC news. Nothing spreads a virus quicker than coughing in the middle of a crowded classroom.
Another question begging to be asked is: will the school it shutdown in the event of an outbreak? This depends on a number of things. The school will not shut down if only a few students get sick and can’t come to school. But if too many students are absent because of the virus then the issue will be brought to the attention of either the vice president or president of the administrative office. They are the people who will decide whether or not to close school in the event of an outbreak. So keep yourselves up to date and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Above all, stay healthy!