Local Colleges And Universities Plan For Swine Flu Outbreaks

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State health officials say four Ohio schools are already reporting cluster cases of swine flu. Xavier University reports 110 cases; Miami University reports 69; and Cedarville College and the University of Cincinnati also report small clusters. In response, Central Ohio college campuses are ramping up their efforts to combat a potential swine flu outbreak. Columbus State Community College is currently finishing up summer quarter. Spokesperson David Wayne says right now there are no known cases of swine flu at the college. Wayne says the school is developing a plan to deal with a wide-spread flu outbreak. “It might be a combination of online courses, and also off-campus courses, but they’re looking at ways to continue operations in some form or fashion if the campus has to be closed. And they’re looking at all options right now on how to do that,” says Wayne. Wayne says the college aims to have the plan ready by fall quarter – which starts September 23rd. Otterbein College begins September 14th. Spokesperson Jennifer Pearce says the school has formed a flu committee and has ordered – in her words – “boatloads” of hand sanitizer. Pearce says the school has also developed a so-called Red Alert system. “Text messaging, cell phone alerts, and email alerts. So we plan to utilize that form of communications in addition to our website – and perhaps Facebook, for those who have accounts – to let them know if we’re at a certain level, or if there is an outbreak, or if we are canceling events,” says Pearce. A spokesperson from OSU says the University IS expecting a greater number of swine flu cases this fall, based on what other colleges are experiencing right now. But officials at OSU would not yet say what the school is doing to prepare for a potential outbreak. Officials say they plan to release more information on September 14th – a week before classes start. Since the pandemic began last spring, Ohio has had 63 hospitalizations and 2 deaths resulting from swine flu.

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