As we head towards the arrival of all our Lumberjacks, we often do not think about much beyond the fall semester. At the Health Center, we begin planning for the flu season. The key to minimizing the spread on campus is the flu vaccine.
Influenza (flu) makes its rounds every winter. Hebron, with it’s congregate living setting, is especially vulnerable for an outbreak. We were lucky last year as the flu season was mitigated by people who followed masking, social distancing and good hand washing hygiene. They are predicting that this year, with restrictions for COVID being lifted, that we will have a robust flu season.
Many things can help stop the spread of the flu. Good handwashing, staying home or reporting to the health center when you do not feel well, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and most importantly, getting a flu vaccine.
We are encouraging all our community to receive an influenza vaccine this year. We will run clinics in October for the whole community. We hope to access the vaccine through the state of Maine so that the vaccine will be free. We will update you in September on dates and costs.
It is important to get vaccinated by the end of October to be protected during the peak times in January and February. You may be planning to have your student vaccinated over winter break, but remember it takes two weeks for the vaccine to achieve full efficacy, so the return travel to school could mean they are vulnerable.
If your student is a day student, you may plan to have them vaccinated with their primary provider. But you can also sign the consent in the requirements if we make it more convenient for you to have the vaccine on campus. When we send out dates and times, you can just decline the offer.
Getting vaccinated helps avoid missed school days. Any student who is suspected of having influenza will not be able to be on campus until we have a diagnosis and their symptoms have resolved. Remember, the flu looks exactly like COVID-19 so not only will they have to be tested for the flu but also for COVID-19. This could mean at least 3-4 days of missed school.
At any time, you can change the requirement to Yes in Magnus. In September watch for more information on our flu vaccine clinics.