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Health and Safety Updates

Updated October 9, 2009

General Updates

Typhoon moves through Nagoya, Japan

Early in the morning of Thursday, October 8, 2009 (local time) a strong typhoon passed through Nagoya, Japan.  Visiting exchange students were warned of the typhoon prior to its arrival and told that classes would be suspended on Thursday morning.  The typhoon did hit early in the morning and was out of the greater Nagoya area by 12 noon.  According to the CIE office at Nanzan, no students were injured and no buildings, dorms or facilities on the Nanzan campus suffered any measurable damage.  Classes resumed for all students in the afternoon.

H1N1 Virus

On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that a global pandemic of H1N1 influenza (sometimes labeled “swine flu”) was underway, and it raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6, its highest level. This action was a reflection of the spread of the new H1N1 virus across the globe, not of the severity of illness caused by the virus.

Throughout the past several months, the H1N1 virus has continued to spread, particularly in the southern hemisphere, where the winter season has provided an ideal host environment for influenza.  As Dickinson’s new academic year approaches, as well as the northern hemisphere’s winter season, the Office of Global Education is monitoring the situation surrounding the H1N1 virus and working with on-site staff abroad to be prepared for any possible impact influenza may have on individual programs.

The Office of Global Education will work with our partner institutions, program staff, and colleagues to operate our programs with the health and safety of our students continuing to be our main priority.  Academic mission and standards as well as host country laws and regulations will be important and additional considerations if we need to make programmatic alternations due to the H1N1 virus during the coming year.  Due to evolving policies and guidelines of many countries and organizations around the world, it is not possible for the College to develop one response to meet the situations of students and programs worldwide.  However, the Office of Global Education will monitor local situations through regular contact with our on-site coordinator(s), university and local officials, as well as a host of credible sources (CDC, WHO, etc).

The primary means of reducing the spread of the H1N1 virus is to avoid becoming infected by using good hygiene, identifying the illness as early as possible and isolating ill people from those who are not ill. Once H1N1 vaccines are available, vaccination will become a part of the prevention plan as well.  Students studying abroad are reminded to follow the same, sensible precautions as students in Carlisle.  Among these recommendations are: 

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Rub gel into hands until dry.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Use tissues one time only.
  • Put used tissues in a wastebasket immediately after use.
  • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve if you don't have a tissue.
  • Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing. Use soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Stay at least six feet away from anyone you suspect is sick.
  • Do not shake hands or kiss others as a greeting or farewell and take efforts to limit your physical proximity and contact with others.
  • Avoid crowded and closed-in public places with lots of other people. 
  • Follow the explicit recommendations of the Program Resident Director and administrators at the partner institution, which may include restrictions on personal travel outside of the study abroad program’s host city.
  • Eat a balanced diet and drink lots of water.
  • Exercise on a regular basis and get plenty of rest.

If you would like additional information regarding the H1N1 virus, The World Health Organization (WHO), US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and US Department of State are excellent sources.  Please consult the following websites:

The Office of Global Education will share information with students and their parents through direct email contact as well as through information posted here.   As the fall semester approaches, we will post any relevant host country -specific information below.

Argentina The US Department of State released a Travel Alert on July 14, 2009 related to the H1N1 virus.  Please click on the following link to view this Travel Alert.http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_4540.html

China The US Department of State released a Travel Alert on July 9, 2009 related to the H1N1 virus.  Please click on the following link to view this Travel Alert. http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_4238.html

H1N1 case in Norwich, England UK

One of the students participating on the Dickinson in Norwich program had been diagnosed, and received treatment for, Influenza A (H1N1).  In addition to treatment, the student was asked to remain isolated and group meetings and activities associated with the Dickinson program were temporarily suspended or rescheduled.  Despite these precautions, it is possible that students on the program have been exposed to the H1N1 virus.

The program and courses at the University of East Anglia have continued as planned and the student who had been diagnosed with H1N1 has since made a full recovery.

In addition to the immediate steps we are taking, we are encouraging students to frequently wash their hands with soap and water (or to use an alcohol-based sanitizer if they are unable to access soap and water), and to follow other good hygiene practices.  Students have been told that if they become ill, they should not go to classes or travel.  Also, we recommend that students avoid crowded places to the extent that this is practical.

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.  We can be reached by phone at 717-245-1341 or by email at global@dickinson.edu

 
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