School is back in session — and so is flu season. That’s why SCAD officials say they are taking every precaution to keep the nasty bug from crippling the school population.
The university launched a new campaign, “Share art, not the flu,” to help prevent the spread of seasonal influenza and the more threatening H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu.
Among the campaign measures are the touchless hand santizing gel dispensers that now hang on the walls throughout the classroom buildings and residence halls.
And on Thursday, Sept. 24, SCAD teamed up with Flu Busters to offer flu vaccines as part of the Health and Wellness Fair. A steady stream of students, faculty and staff filed onto the red carpet in the Hub to get a shot in the arm, hoping to keep what goes around from coming around to them.
Tanya Tucker, a first-year television producing major, said she gets a flu shot every year, but SCAD made this year’s process easier for her.
“It’s definitely convenient,” Tucker said. “I don’t have to go to Kroger or some pharmacy to get it. I just came in after my class.”
Graphic design professor Peter Wong rolled up his sleeve for the cause, “just for extra protection.”
“As teachers we can’t afford to get sick,” Wong said. “So, I try to do everything I can to stay healthy.”
Administrators Art Malloy and P.J. Johnson encouraged students to do all they can to stay healthy, too.
“Because all it takes is one to get sick, and they could infect the whole campus,” said Malloy, dean of student services. He said he lined up to get the shot because it comes highly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — and his wife, who is a clinical pharmacist.
Johnson, SCAD Atlanta’s vice president, said he got the shot because “science tells us it’s a good way to prevent or lessen the effects of getting the flu.”
But at least one student is not convinced of such benefits.
Third-year fashion design student Recho Omondi, said she doesn’t think vaccines are always the answer. Most illnesses can be averted by adopting healthy habits, such as “being cautious of what you eat, like not eating fried foods, packaged foods or processed foods,” she said.
“People get sick because they’re unhealthy, not because the world is against them,” Omondi said. “Our bodies are smart.”
Still, the university isn’t taking any chances.
SCAD’s strict attendance policy has been revised in light of possible flu-related absences. The addendum, posted on each course syllabus, advises students who experience flu-like symptoms to stay out of class until 24 hours after symptoms subside. Those students are required to contact their professors immediately to discuss options for making up any missed classwork.
Provisions have also been made for students who live in residence halls, including room changes for students with infected roommates and food delivery for ill students in isolation.
It is important to note that the recent vaccines are to prevent seasonal flu and are not designed to protect against swine flu, for which a vaccine will be available in October.
SCAD plans to offer swine flu vaccines to students and staff Oct. 22, Malloy said.