Letter from President Steven Knapp Regarding H1N1 Influenza

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May 02, 2009

I write to you today to follow up on yesterday's announcement of two probable cases of H1N1 influenza on GW's campus. While we continue to await results of testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the District of Columbia Department of Health has determined that these two students are no longer contagious. They have recovered fully following treatment with anti-viral medication. The University is working closely with the DC Department of Health and federal health officials to ensure we are following their protocols and taking all needed steps to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. In all these efforts, the University community has benefited greatly from the help and advice of medical experts on our faculty.

The University is open and operating and exams will proceed as scheduled beginning May 4 through May 12. Commencement also is proceeding as scheduled.

Many of you have expressed concern about residence halls and possible exposure to the H1N1 virus in common areas. The DC Department of Health and the CDC have emphasized that the virus is passed mainly from person to person through close personal contact. The GW Student Health Service and Dean of Students have worked quickly to give those students who developed the flu access to private rooms to protect other students. They were treated with anti-viral medications and asked to stay in and avoid contact with other students. Those in close living quarters with them also were informed of the initial flu diagnosis and given information about symptoms, prevention and treatment. Members of the University staff also are going directly to affected residence halls to speak with students where they live about the H1N1 virus and preventative steps they can take.

In addition, the University is focusing particular attention on locations on campus where students gather and is devoting extra resources to cleaning those locations. The DC Department of Health and the CDC also continue to advise preventative steps including washing hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers and avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth. Additional information on prevention and symptoms is posted on GW Campus Advisories and the GW Student Health Service and GW Medical Center websites.

We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff and to keeping the GW community informed. The University will continue to provide any updates via GW Campus Advisories, Info Mail and residence hall and parent list servs.


Steven Knapp

For more information about The George Washington University, visit www.gwu.edu.



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