H1N1 Update: Sept. 18

September 18, 2009

To Members of the Bowdoin Community,

I am writing to update my message of last Thursday regarding the H1N1 virus ("swine flu") at Bowdoin. As expected, we have seen a significant increase in the number of students reporting flu-like symptoms. Thus far, ill students continue to recover quickly after experiencing symptoms that are generally milder in nature than the seasonal flu.

The College continues to encourage students with flu-like symptoms to visit the Health Center and to remain in isolation while they recover with support from Health Services and many other staff and faculty throughout the College. The College has set aside isolation space for ill students who do not live in single rooms. In some cases, students with families who live nearby have gone home to recuperate. To date, we know of only one case of H1N1 among Bowdoin faculty or staff.

As of late today, 116 students have reported flu-like symptoms to the College since the start of classes on September 3. Of these, 53 have recovered and have returned to regular activities. There are currently 38 students in isolation on campus, either in College-provided spaces or in single rooms, while 25 students have left campus to recuperate.

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, where possible, to permit these students to make up their work.

I continue to urge members of our community 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

Going forward, we will update this information weekly, or as events warrant, in the announcements section on the home page of the Bowdoin Web site, so look there for any new information. In the meantime, I want to express my thanks to all of the members of our community who are caring for students who are ill. I also want to thank those students who have come forward for care, and who are helping us contain this illness through responsible action.

Sincerely yours,

Tim Foster
Dean of Student Affairs

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