Location: Bowdoin / Campus Information / Preparedness / H1N1 "Swine" Influenza / Children's Center Families

Information for Children's Center Families

September 24, 2009

To Bowdoin College Children’s Center Families,
 
Due to an increase in the number of children and staff members now reporting flu-like symptoms at the Children’s Center, we have decided to close the Center for the day tomorrow, Friday, September 25. Five employees and two children are now out with flu-like symptoms, and we have exhausted our list of substitute caregivers. While we have no confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus (“Swine Flu”) at the Center, it is likely that at least some are dealing with this virus. Our experience on campus has been that those who become ill are recovering in two to three days. While circumstances are difficult to predict, we are hopeful that a three-day weekend will allow Children’s Center staff who are ill to recover and will prevent a lengthier shutdown later on. The Center will be cleaned and disinfected tomorrow, and we hope to re-open Monday morning, September 28. Please check your e-mail on Sunday for an update.

I recognize that this will cause disruption for families and I apologize for the inconvenience. We hope you will understand our situation and the need to make this decision, which we believe to be in the best interests of our staff and the children.
 
Sincerely yours,

Kris Gould

*****

September 19, 2009

To Bowdoin College Children’s Center Families,

Today, the College updated information on the Bowdoin Web site regarding the H1N1 virus and the number of students who have reported flu-like symptoms since the start of classes, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to let you know how the Children’s Center is faring in light of these events.

As you know, there have been eight confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus among Bowdoin students, although many more students have reported flu-like symptoms to the Health Center since the state suspended testing at Bowdoin last week. To date, we have had no confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus at the Children’s Center. However, five children and two teachers have reported flu-like symptoms. Of these, one child and one teacher remain at home. The others have recovered and are back at the Center.

Meanwhile, we have taken and are practicing several precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus at the Children’s Center. We have temporarily suspended our practice of inviting Bowdoin students into the Center as part of their psychology class on infant and child development. We are using anti-bacterial soap at our sinks and wiping down our fixtures on a regular basis. The Center is cleaned thoroughly each morning by Bowdoin housekeeping staff, and we are installing an anti-bacterial gel dispenser in the entry foyer for those coming and going and providing anti-bacterial wipes for use on door handles and other surfaces.

Staff at the Center will continue to monitor this situation closely, and I will keep you informed of any further developments. Thank you for your understanding as we work together on behalf of the children and our staff.

Sincerely yours,

Kris Gould
Director

*****

September 10, 2009

To Members of the Bowdoin Community,

Bowdoin, like many other colleges and universities across the country, has seen an increasing number of students with flu-like symptoms since classes began last week. As a precaution, and consistent with our planning, we took steps in advance to diagnose, isolate, treat, feed, and care for students reporting these symptoms. At the same time, state health officials conducted tests for the H1N1 virus, commonly known as "Swine Flu." Late yesterday, the College received word from the state that the H1N1 virus has indeed appeared at Bowdoin, with eight confirmed cases among our students. To our knowledge, we currently have no cases of the H1N1 virus among Bowdoin faculty or staff. Since H1N1 has now been confirmed here, the state will discontinue tests at Bowdoin.

Our experience, thus far, is that students are recovering quickly after experiencing symptoms that are generally milder in nature than the seasonal flu. While the numbers have been changing rapidly, at this moment, a total of 29 students have reported flu-like symptoms since classes began last Thursday. Of these, nine students have recovered and returned to regular activities. Seven students with families who live nearby have gone home to recuperate, while 13 students remain in isolation on campus where they are being cared for by Bowdoin staff. Included in this last group are two students who were treated at local hospitals for dehydration and released back to isolation at the College while they recover.

As you know, the College has been prepared for an outbreak of the H1N1 virus and continues to actively monitor the progression of the virus on campus and in Maine. Classes, events, and activities are continuing as scheduled. Meanwhile, faculty and coaches have been notified about ill students who are unable to attend class and team practices, and provisions have been made to permit these students to make up their work.

As we work together as a community to manage these health concerns, I urge you to observe and practice simple and effective preventive measures to minimize the spread of this illness. Health officials recommend the following steps to reduce your risk of becoming infected:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or elbow
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing

The College is maintaining a Web site that provides extensive information about the H1N1 virus, a link to Bowdoin’s Epidemic Response Plan, and archived advisories for students and their families, faculty, staff and families with children at the Bowdoin College Children’s Center. Additional information is also available at these sites:

Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This is a difficult way to start our new academic year, but our circumstances are not surprising, especially given the experience of many other colleges and universities and the media reports about the spread of the H1N1 virus that have appeared with increasing frequency in recent days. The good news is that, thus far, those at Bowdoin with this illness are recovering quickly and completely. I am especially grateful for the efforts by so many members of our community who are assisting those who are ill, and I am confident that the College has the procedures in place and the resources to manage this situation effectively. Thank you for your help and understanding as we address these health concerns together.

With best wishes,

Tim Foster
Dean of Student Affairs

*****

Dear BCCC Families:
 
I write to follow up with you on Tama Spoerri’s notice regarding the H1N1 virus. Children fall into the highest risk category for the illness and the Bowdoin College Children’s Center is taking the H1N1 situation very seriously.  There is a contingency plan in place that was developed with substantial help from the Campus Emergency Management Team:  
 
Children running a fever of 100.5 degrees, without additional symptoms, will be sent home.  Fever is often the first sign of H1N1.
 
Children must be without fever, diarrhea, and vomiting for 24 hours (without medication) before returning to the Center.
 
If we have 10% or more of the children and staff exhibiting H1N1 symptoms, we may need to close the Center for seven calendar days.  
 
We will be closely monitoring the public schools in our area (Bath, Brunswick, Topsham) to keep abreast of the current flu trend and how it may affect us.   
 
Flu symptoms may include any of the following:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • vomiting or diarrhea

 
CDC recommendations for staying healthy:

  • sneeze or cough into your elbow
  • avoid touching nose, eyes, or mouth
  • wash hands frequently
  • stay home if you are sick, especially if you have a fever

 
Hopefully, this virus will not be as serious as predicted and we will all stay well and healthy.  Thank you for doing your part to help.
 
Kris