December 17, 2021 | NEWS | By Tom Byron | Photo by Tamar Crump
Flu season is hitting Colorado College hard. Coughing echoes through dorm halls, the new Student Health Center is full of students looking for flu tests and medicine, and it seems like everyone knows at least one other person who’s sick in bed. Classes have brought back Zoom lectures for sick students, and some have moved entirely online.
According to the Health Center, more than 100 positive flu cases were confirmed on campus as of last week. Jose Apagoda ’23, a CC student currently sick with the flu, said in an interview that he wasn’t even aware that the Student Health Center offered flu tests.
A student who wished to remain anonymous for medical privacy confirmed that he hadn’t gone to the Health Center for flu testing, preferring to stay home once he had confirmed that he had tested negative for COVID-19. Even if the number of cases on campus is only slightly higher than last week’s confirmed number, that means that roughly one in 20 students is currently sick with the flu.
For those unlucky enough to catch the illness, the experience is brutal. Dana Angeles ’22 agreed to an interview only over text because “I cough my lungs out whenever I talk.” She’s been too sick to attend class for multiple days and is trying to keep her apartment mates safe by staying in her room as much as possible.
The current CC policy states that students with flu-like symptoms should not attend in-person classes to limit the spread of COVID-19 and other transmissible diseases, but there is little information on how students and professors should handle the option of remote lectures or tests.
With the breakneck pace of the block plan, missing even a single class can be extremely difficult, but rest and relaxation are vital to recovering from an illness like the flu.
At this point, students and professors have been working out individual solutions on their own, and the option of Zoom may be a double-edged sword. It can provide a way to keep up with class for those who need it, but also a possible pressure to not get the rest that a sick person needs.
“My professor has given me the option, but I’ve felt too tired to even do that,” said Apagoda, when asked if his class offered a Zoom component.
Luckily, there is an easy way to help keep yourself safe from this flu outbreak. This year’s flu vaccine seems to be highly effective, according to data from the Student Health Center. Of those over 100 confirmed cases, less than five of them were students who had received the flu vaccine.
Colorado College has hosted multiple flu and COVID-19 vaccination drives, including one last weekend where 283 vaccines were distributed.
However, immunocompromised people or people who are currently sick are not advised to get the flu vaccine, which has made it difficult for some students who missed the school vaccination drives due to other illness.
Vaccines may not be a perfect protection against this virus, but just as with COVID-19, they have proven extremely effective at lowering risk.