BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 5, 2009 – Dear Virginia Tech faculty and staff: As we start the seventh week of the academic year, I wanted to provide an update regarding the flu at Virginia Tech.
The Schiffert Health Center has been extremely busy. So far, we have seen about 538 cases of influenza-like illness. I expect this number to continue to increase, especially when the regular flu season begins.
Our recommendations to students, consistent with those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have been to self-isolate and to not attend class until they are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications. Unless students are experiencing severe symptoms or have underlying medical conditions, we may not see them at the health center. We ask that they call with any concerns about symptoms or regarding self-management.
I understand that this may create an increased burden for make-up work and exams. However, our goal is to prevent the spread of the flu as much as possible in an environment that is very conducive to contagious illnesses.
We are finding that many of our appointments are being consumed by students who know they don’t need to be seen except for the fact that they were told to go to Schiffert Health Center to obtain an excuse or verification of illness. We cannot provide excuses or illness verification for every sick student and having them come to the health center just for that not only puts other students at risk but also the health center staff. It also prevents students who truly need to be seen from getting an appointment.
Your cooperation in helping to contain and prevent the spread of the flu is greatly appreciated.
Kanitta Charoensiri, D.O., M.B.A.
Director, Schiffert Health Center