Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Swine Flu: Confessions of a Community Facilitator

Santa Clara University has made it a point to keep the students, faculty, and staff updated on the latest information regarding the recent H1N1 epidemic. Three weeks prior to the Fall semester, I arrived on campus for my Community Facilitator training. At Santa Clara University, a Community Facilitator is somewhat like a Resident Assistant. Because I would hold a position of student leadership in the dorms, I was instructed on Santa Clara University’s mission to fight any and all traces of the H1N1 disease.

I learned the ins and outs of the virus and was lectured extensively on the importance of cleanliness and “appropriate contact” with others (i.e. no hugs or hand-holding allowed). I watched detailed power point presentations, received several informational brochures, and even watched a couple YouTube videos, all about the H1N1 epidemic and how to avoid it. As a result of the school’s precaution, I was informed of the actions my dorm would need to take if someone possessed “H1N1-like” symptoms. As a Community Facilitator, I had the responsibility of noticing if one of my residents started having flu like symptoms and was instructed to immediately send them to Cowell Health Center to be tested for the Swine Influenza Virus.

The Residential Learning Communities (our special name for dormitories) each have designated isolation rooms that suspected Swine Flu victims must reside in until their symptoms subside. These students are required to stay in the isolation rooms and are instructed to wear facemasks if they need to leave the room for a short period of time. Because of the close living spaces in the RLCs, someone who might have the Swine Flu would need to be immediately isolated so as to not spread the virus to any other student. So far, a couple of my own residents have utilized these services. However, none of them have actually contracted the virus.

To this day, I still receive constant email updates about H1N1 and what other steps Santa Clara is taking to make sure its students can avoid the viral influenza at all costs. I know that we must all take precautions in terms of avoiding the Swine Flu and that its important for us to be informed about the effects of the virus. But sometimes I wonder, is it ever too much?


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