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MICA Readies for Potential H1N1 Outbreak

Faculty, Staff Act Strategically to Minimize Spread of Virus

Posted 08.25.09 by MICA Media Relations

BALTIMORE--As MICA's faculty and staff prepare to welcome the College's largest freshmen class ever, they are also preparing for the possibility of an outbreak of H1N1 flu on the campus this fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified people younger than 25 years old as a population that is most susceptible to catching this flu strain. MICA, therefore, is acting strategically to minimize the spread of the virus in accordance with the most recent CDC guidelines for institutions of higher education.

Working in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the College's liaison at Mount Royal Medical Associates, key members of MICA's Environmental Health and Safety, Campus Safety, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Residence Life and Communications departments have been meeting throughout the summer to work on the College's emergency action plan for a potential outbreak. This team had the opportunity to test and revise the plan in July, when a small number of students in MICA's Pre-College program presented symptoms of influenza-like illness.

Students, when they arrive this week, will receive flyers that discuss what actions to take should they experience influenza-like illness. These directives include self-isolation, contacting campus health services or health provider by phone, and covering nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing if he or she must leave a residence. Masks will be available upon request at residence halls and building desks.

Hand sanitizers and posters that focus on prevention are being distributed across campus.

Denelle Bowser, MICA's environmental health and safety manager, has been meeting with various members of the MICA community to educate them on managing safe health practices. She has trained faculty how to support students with suspected influenza-like illness or those who become ill. Bowser has also worked with staff on preparedness and proactive sanitation practices.

Dining Services is well prepared to support students with both healthy meals and practices to reduce the likelihood of transmittal of the virus.

In a letter sent Aug. 13, J. Davidson "Dusty" Porter, vice president of Student Affairs, urged parents and family members to monitor the health of their MICA students before dropping them off for the semester. Students who experience influenza-like illness should not arrive on campus until being symptom-free for 24 hours. A member of the College's Student Affairs staff will work one-on-one with students who have had to miss Orientation or class time because of H1N1. MICA families were also asked to send their students to campus armed with over-the-counter medications, alcohol-based hand rubs, anti-bacterial cleaners, tissues and soup.

Family members living within a six-hour drive of MICA will be asked to pick up their students who are experiencing influenza-like illness. For those who hail from outside this six-hour range, MICA will provide temporary housing in a vacant College-owned building that is being retrofitted with bedrooms, bathrooms and showers, lounge, kitchen, computer terminals and studio space.

Student Affairs will serve as the liaison between a student who has to miss class because of the flu and his or her faculty member(s).

In addition, MICA has requested through Mount Royal Medical Associates to receive doses of the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine once they are available.

Members of the media should call 410-225-2300 for more information.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 48 states and 61 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. Redefining art and design education, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.

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