We read with interest the Linfield Review editorial, Oct. 9, “Don’t we have a right to know?” Students certainly do have a right to H1N1 flu information and Linfield has been working diligently to deliver this message.
Beginning last spring, Linfield convened a Flu Preparedness Committee, developed a web site and began work on a campus-wide education program. Progress continued over the summer and this fall, when 90 hand wash stations were installed, informational posters were distributed and resident advisors and athletics staff were trained. A series of protocols are in place to assist any students who are ill, including making sure that meals can be delivered to their residence hall room. Meanwhile, the Student Health Center has bolstered staff and will be adding an extra phone line to handle increased traffic.
In preparation for the arrival of students, a series of communications were developed in August for students, parents and employees, and distributed during orientation week. Additional information was also sent out about flu vaccination clinics to all students and employees. Parents, alumni and friends of Linfield College who subscribe to the E-Cat newsletter also received information about the flu in the September edition. Immediately after discovering the first outbreak of influenza A at Linfield, all students, faculty and staff were notified simultaneously by email – Jeff Mackay, associate dean of students, contacted students, while Linda Powell, human resources director, notified faculty and staff. Emails were also sent to residents of halls under restricted access.
Education has continued with the purple plague exercise and other educational programs. We are pleased to find this education is paying off. Students and staff are doing the right thing to reduce the spread of illness – washing hands often, covering their cough with something other than their hands, and self-isolating when feeling sick. Students are getting our message about influenza; last year we had less than 50 students receive the seasonal influenza vaccine, this year we have had more than 120 and counting.
There have been reported cases of laboratory confirmed Influenza A on campus and numerous cases of influenza-like illness. Statistics surrounding this topic are in constant flux and we encourage you to refer to the website, Flu Preparedness Information, www.linfield.edu/flu.html, for the latest information.
We will continue to deliver information to the campus in a timely manner. And good communication is a two-way street. We encourage your feedback. Please visit the website, www.linfield.edu/flu.html, and send ideas or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
vice president of finance and
chair of flu preparedness committee;
associate dean of students