ASU working to educate and prevent the spread of H1N1

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) - "College age students are in that target population for being susceptible to H1N1," said Dr. Debbie Persell.

Part of the reason for that says Dr. Debbie Persell at ASU's College of Nursing and Health Professions, is because often times they live and work in such close quarters.

Knowing they have what Dr. Persell calls a target population, she says their efforts to protect the staff and students are proactive.

"We are working with our local authorities in terms of public health, the Office of Emergency Management, and the county medical officer to make sure that we are in absolute compliance and up to date on the current guidelines for helping manage this virus," said Persell.

"For residence life, where students are in close proximity to one another, there is a tremendous amount of preventive training that's going on," said Dr. Lynita Cooksey, at ASU's Office of Academic Affairs.

She says she expects meetings in residence halls within the first few days encouraging good hygiene, sanitizing work spaces, and what students should do if think they're sick.

"We just want to make sure that students know that they need to be proactive just as we're trying to be proactive, but we're trying to plan because we already know there are cases in the community," said Dr. Cooksey.

Dr. Cooksey says even though they're encouraging students and faculty to stay home if they're sick, they don't want the learning process to be too disrupted.

"We asked the faculty to come up with some reserve type assignments that can be given out either by email or distributed in the classroom or a staff member so that basically the learning environment could still continue," said Cooksey.

Dr. Persell says they do expect some faculty or students to become ill with H1N1.  She says they're doing their best to prepare now for the future.

"We're trying to make sure that they have the tools that they need to stay healthy, or if they get sick, to get healthy," said Dr. Persell.

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