Greetings WWC Families,
The Warren Wilson College Student Health Center is excited about another fall on campus. As we look forward to the year, we anticipate that many of you might have questions about how we will handle the Pandemic H1N1 Influenza here on campus. Hopefully, we can ease many of your concerns.
1. No matter where your student lives in the world this year, he or she will probably be exposed to the H1N1 virus. Here at WWC, the Health Center has a medical professional on campus 5 days a week and we will provide transportation to local ER’s and urgent care centers for medical care after hours and on weekends. We have been told by our health department that some vaccine may be available (depending on supplies) for us to distribute on campus sometime in late October or November.
2. We are doing extensive outreach and education to remind our students to wash their hands frequently, not to share food and drinks with each other, and to follow good prevention practices.
3. If we do confirm a case of H1N1 on our campus, the Buncombe County Health Department will be notified. At that point, they will give us very specific instructions on how they want us to handle the outbreak. In the meantime, WWC College has protocols of action in place for handling medical issues.
4. If a student develops symptoms of H1N1, especially a fever, we will ask that the student “self-quarantine” in his or her room, and instead of going to the health center for care, phone the health center nurse. Phone triage will take place at that point and a plan of care will be developed and carried out. Students have also been given an email address to use for questions. A kit will be delivered to the student room containing supplies including a mask and disinfectant wipes to utilize when using a common bathroom. When appropriate, a health care worker will go to the residence hall to visit a sick student for further assessment and to prescribe or administer medication if necessary. We will enlist the help of our residence life staff to check in on students periodically and to arrange for delivery of meals.
Students are asked to follow this “self quarantine” until they have been free of fever, for at least 24 hours. This is consistent with the guidelines established for colleges by the Center for Disease Control. We anticipate that cases on our campus will follow the trends that we saw in NC summer camps where the symptoms were mild to moderate, comparable to the seasonal influenza. Students with certain underlying health issues may be at greater risk for complications and we encourage them to consult with personal physicians for guidance and identify themselves to our health center staff.
5. If your student develops H1N1, and you live within driving distance of WWC, it would help us greatly if you would come to take your student home for the recommended “self-quarantine” time. If the student cannot get home, it would be helpful for you to make regular connections with your student and encourage her or him to be in touch with us if they need anything further. This provides one more point of concerned attention for the student.
6. We have also shared information about the H1N1 virus with faculty and work crew supervisors and we have asked them to take this into account when setting attendance expectations, extending as much flexibility to students as possible.
If you have questions regarding our plans, please contact our Health Center Nurse, Pat Parker, RN at (828) 771-2053 or the Student Life Office at (828) 771-3800.
Addressing issues like the flu outbreak is part of a larger plan we have for dealing with emergencies of all kinds on our campus. Our plan includes communication tools like voice alerts on campus and text alerts to cell phones. Please encourage your students to sign up for the text alert program if they have not already done so. Signup information can be found on our website’s inside page. For more information about our Emergency Plan and Procedures you can visit the info section of our website.
The WWC Health Center Staff