vaccineAs of this week, three Fairfield students have been diagnosed with swine flu. Approximately 60 students have had flu-like illnesses.

While the health center reports that all of the cases have been mild, many students are not aware of the flu’s presence on campus.  In addition to a University message Tuesday night giving an update to students on the swine flu, Fairfield has a small page on its Web site dedicated to flu information. In light of President Barack Obama recently declaring swine flu a national epidemic, there is little student knowledge of the H1N1 updates in the University community.

“I had no idea. The University could have done a better job by letting students know to at least look on the Web site,” said Samantha Santana ‘12.

Interim Director of the Health Center Susan Birge said that in no way are they trying  to hide information when in fact students have the right to know about the flu epidemic on campus. The reason for the Web site is that it can be updated in a timely manner and accessible to anyone in the Fairfield community.

The Health Center also received an initial supply of the H1N1 vaccine on Tuesday, which is to be administered to those in the University community who fall into the appropriated categories named by the federal government, said Birge.

According to Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Thomas Pellegrino, the University and the Health Center are well-prepared to deal with outbreaks of the swine flu this semester.

“Our approach is to separate the ill from the healthy, which is something that really calls upon cooperation from everyone,” said Pellegrino.

The Health Center has set up a hall in Dolan Hall adjacent to the Health Center which can fit approximately 22 students. According to Birge, this is for students who can not make it home.

“The Health Center developed protocols for H1N1 and the Task Force created plans to accommodate students who become ill with the flu,” she said. “Identifying a ‘recovery area’ and planning for food, linens, and medical monitoring for sick students has also been addressed.”

Birge also said that in preparation for this semester and flu season, the Health Center has teamed up with the Town of Fairfield and State of Connecticut Health Departments in order to come up with H1N1 strategies on campus.

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