Our View: Swine flu questions that must be answered

Editorial Board

Kent State has been working hard to prevent its students from catching the H1N1 virus. But first, the university needs to answer questions about how the swine flu will impact a student’s everyday life.

Tossing up a few hand sanitizers around campus and announcing that swine flu vaccinations will be offered – at some point – is not going to be enough to make students feel better. These are great ways to avoid an outbreak, but what happens when students get it?

Not all students can be shipped home for quarantine that easily. There are plenty of students who don’t live near Kent, in Ohio or even in the U.S. Are extra rooms available, on or off campus, where sick students may go to rest and not contaminate others?

What about students who don’t have health insurance? The DeWeese Health Center is very accommodating to students, but no one can guarantee a student will come down with swine flu only Monday through Friday between the given times each day. If there is an outbreak, will the health center be open more often?

Once a student has swine flu and leaves the residence halls, will just that room or the entire hall be sanitized? We know those who work to keep the halls clean work very hard, but this flu is different from much of the usual germs we’re used to passing around.

If a professor becomes diagnosed with H1N1, will there be other options for students? The class might be one that a student needs in order to graduate, and the university can’t expect that student has the time or money to stay another semester to make the class up. What if the class is very important for that student’s major? Can someone else step in to make sure the student doesn’t miss out learning the necessary skills?

When the vaccine does become available, what important staffers, whom students are in contact with every day, will get the vaccine first?

Students don’t have time to be worrying about the answers to all of these questions. The job of a student is to go to school, study and graduate. These questions must be answered by someone in the university so its students can rest easy and study hard instead of fretting over quarantines and which cafeteria is the safest.

Please let us know. We’ll take every precaution not to get sick in the first place, but you must let us know what happens if the scenario arises.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.