Dear members of the Campus Community:
I am writing to update you on the latest information regarding the contagious stomach virus that has impacted the College during the past several days. Providers at the Health Center have treated 44 students with symptoms of the infection over the past three days. Most students who have become ill have improved in a day or two, and I am not aware of any hospitalizations.
In an effort to provide more meaningful data and in order to track the number of students that were sickened recently, but did not seek medical attention, we are collecting information from resident advisors to assess the total number of sickened students. Data obtained thus far is consistent with widespread activity, with more than 100 students (which includes the 44 treated at the Health Center) reporting symptoms of stomach virus in several different residence halls. It appears, based on our total visits today, that the number of cases seems to be declining.
I have been in communication with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and area hospitals to share epidemiologic data and discuss steps the College has taken to mitigate the impact of the infection. Private laboratories are currently testing specimens obtained from students who have been ill. Although norovirus is the most likely cause of the current outbreak, we are testing for several other infectious diseases.
I appreciate the extraordinary efforts that have been made by students, staff, dining services, and especially our custodians as we work through the formidable challenges of managing a significant health problem on campus. Student volunteerism to assist those who have been ill has been especially helpful. Please remember to take proper precautions when you are caring for a sick friend. The College has suspended the requirement for a Dean’s Excuse; students are encouraged not to attend class while they are ill and for an additional 2 days after recovery. Employees with symptoms of the virus should not report to work while ill and for 2 additional days. Dining services has taken several steps to reduce the spread of infection. Students are asked not to use the dining facilities while ill — grab n’ go Buddy Meals can be delivered by friends. Facilities Operations continues ongoing cleaning and sanitizing of the campus and we are distributing disposable gloves, paper towels, and disinfectants to residence halls.
I will share new information with the campus as it becomes available. Thank you again for your continued teamwork.
Jeffrey Goldstein, M.D.
Director of Health Services