Colleges Plan Ahead for Possible H1N1 Outbreak - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; kptm.com |

Colleges Plan Ahead for Possible H1N1 Outbreak

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Jenny Nowatzke

OMAHA (KPTM) - In the next few months, we could see Creighton University, or the University of Nebraska-Omaha campus on lock down, all because of the H1N1 virus.

This past weekend, the Centers for Disease Control announced, college students are at high risk for catching the virus, and are now a top priority for getting the H1N1 vaccine.

"We, for the last several years have already been - not recognizing this was the organism we'd be dealing with - but preparing people that this was a possibility," said Marcia Adler, Coordinator of Student Health.

At UNO, student health nurses are waiting on 10,500 H1N1 vaccines to arrive on campus this October.  In the meantime, they're passing out free flu kits, and highlighting the H1N1 symptoms.

"We're scheduled to send out a mass email to the students, and we've got a letter to go to parents so they can have a conversation with their kids over Labor Day break," said Adler.

At Creighton University, officials are most worried about students who live in the dorms, and eat in the school cafeterias.

"If you can't get away from someone, the sick person should wear a mask. So, we'll be providing those to students," said Tanya Winegard, with the school's Student Services.

If a large majority do become infected, and the campus is forced to temporarily shut down, they have a plan to make sure students stay on track with their school work.

"We're making specific plans down to each individual class. Do we offer labs in a more compressed time frame? Other classes may be acceptable for online learning, or learning from a distance," said Winegard.

UNO has also talked about offering online classes if they do have to shut down for a short period of time.

Both UNO and Creighton should have plenty of H1N1 vaccines by October.  The shots will be free of charge for all Creighton students.

Meanwhile, UNO plans on charging their students $10 for the vaccine.

UNO is relying on parents to talk to their kids, and make sure they get the vaccine.  Meanwhile, Creighton is going to offer prizes and incentives to students if they do get the shot.
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