Saturday, June 6, 2009

How will the UP Community react to a possible case of A (H1N1) infection?

While I am writing this, La Salle-Taft had just confirmed its 3rd case of A (H1N1) infection. As a preventive measure, the campus would be closed until June 14 so that DLSU personnel can disinfect first their premises. The original carrier of the disease is a Japanese exchange student. The next two victims were her dorm mates.

In the mean time, the UP Diliman administration had announced the postponement of class opening from June 9 to June 16 “in view of extension of registration, and the DOH advisory on A (H1N1).”

A DLSU-like situation isn’t impossible in UP Diliman. First, we have hundreds of foreign and exchange students here. Second, we have many students who had just arrived from overseas vacations. What about those who had attended conferences and lectures abroad? In case someone tests positive for this dreaded disease here, the effect can be much worse.

First UP students, seldom stay in one area throughout the day because of our classes! Also, our campus area is so big! What about the residential areas in our perimeter? Because of the student’s mobility and UP’s big population, an ordinary student can probably get to mingle with a hundred or so people in a day.

In case of a confirmed infection, how will the UP administration react? Will they opt to close down the student’s home unit (e.g. the School of Economics) - or all buildings where the student went? What about contact tracing? Are you telling me that they have a way of knowing who the student’s seatmates in CASAA were when he ate there?

What about the Infirmary where the victim will be most likely sent initially? Will they close the down the facility? Better yet, how will the Health Service respond to this? What about the houses in RIPADA? Will they be asked temporarily to prevent a community outbreak? What role will the student leaders play in this case?

We’re not saying that this would happen in happen in UP Diliman, or in any UP unit for that matter. But, as they say, it is better to be prudent.

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