UW starts school mindful of H1N1 - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UW starts school mindful of H1N1


MADISON (WKOW) --  Students and faculty on the UW campus have one more thing to think about as school starts: H1N1.

Monday, UW leaders sent a memo to staff and students, reminding them to be proactive in preventing the spread of the virus. Click here for more information on what they're doing to be proactive.

It's not just introductions and summer recaps in UW classrooms this year.

Aaron Brower, UW Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, says, "We sent a letter to all students and faculty on campus to help prepare for what we expect to be a pandemic event on campus."

H1N1 reminders are literally everywhere on campus. Cover your cough signs and hand sanitizers dot public areas. Leaders won't say at all how many students may have cases of H1N1. Students tell us that at least one case could be in Sellery Hall on campus.

Sarah Grey, a UW freshman, says a person with flu-like symptoms is on her floor in Sellery. She says, "They're on the same floor as me so it makes me a little bit worried. But I'm just washing my hands and trying to stay germ free."

Professors repeated an H1N1 prevention reminder in each of Tyler Junger's four classes. Junger, the Chair of ASM (UW-Madison's student government) says, "They don't want you coming into class in a 200 person lecture hall and coughing on someone and getting everyone in the hall sick."

The tune of the day? Just stay home.

Brower says, "We're not asking for signed excuses, or having to go into health service to document, that this is H1N1 . We just want students to stay home."

Ryan Berns, a freshman at UW, says he hopes other students would stay home if they felt sick, but says, "If I would feel sick, it does worry me that I would have to miss class."

Even in cafeterias, students tell us they're taking precautions.

Junger works at one student cafeteria, and says, "There's a new person on every shift who actually goes around and changes out the utensils every half an hour, and wipes contact surface. And that's their job for the time they're open."

As far as auditions and student organizations go, leaders just hope they'll remember the mantra: "Just stay home."

Jeff Wiegel, a staffer for a club called UW-Navigators, says, "We're a small group: only about 50-70 of us to meet each week. So I hope they know if they're sick, they just shouldn't come."

In Dane County, there have been a total of 607 confirmed cases of H1N1. It's estimated there have been more than 6,000 cases since the year began.

UW leaders ultimately don't believe a large number of students and faculty would come down with H1N1 at the same time. If that would happen, Brower says faculty could resort to online materials, phone-lectures, even the staple of having students mail in their papers.


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