May 1, 2009
Dear Members of the Smith Community,
As you may be aware, as of noon today, eight influenza cases among Amherst College students are being treated as probable cases of the H1N1 or swine flu virus. The students, who are being treated and isolated, are doing well and expected to recover quickly.
In light of this situation, Amherst has canceled all parties this weekend but is otherwise conducting business as usual, as we are at Smith. Because students are entering reading period, there are no large events planned on our campus this weekend.
If you have followed the updates on our Web site you know that common sense health precautions continue to be the most effective way to avoid spreading infection: wash your hands regularly with soap or sanitizing gel; cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; seek medical attention and avoid public gatherings if you experience flu-like symptoms. Health Services stands ready to serve students with any flu concerns and has instituted separate waiting rooms for sick and well visits. Anyone in the campus community with compromised immune systems, serious heart, lung, kidney or liver diseases should seek advice from their health care provider regarding precautionary measures.
Building Services is following disinfectant protocols in the student houses, with particular focus on doorknobs, common areas and commonly touched surfaces. Many campus buildings, including those with dining rooms, have hand sanitizer dispensers, and I strongly encourage you to use them.
Please consult the college’s H1N1/swine flu Web site regularly for information about Smith’s response to this evolving situation.
Carol T. Christ