Before this week I would never have known what gastroenteritis was, let alone what it could do to a campus! The term “going viral” has never meant more to me than it does now. Beginning on Tuesday night, what McDaniel students have been calling the “McVirus” or simply “The Plague” began infecting students, spreading like wildfire across the campus. On the Phi Mu floor in ANW, which is the one below my own, 12 girls all came down with it all in one night and 2 of them had to be hospitalized due to dehydration.
Aside from being gross, the threat of getting McVirus inspired the most fear in students. Sanitation can be an issue when so many people live in close proximity to each other, and the physical plant worked almost non-stop to try and disinfect commonly touched objects like doorknobs and counters; Glar changed some of their operational habits to prevent germs from spreading. For example, they began handing out the silverware instead of allowing students to pick their own. Even to their best efforts, however, McVirus spread to a majority of students and even go McDaniel on the 8:30 Baltimore News on Friday.
Lack of hand soap in the residence halls was a big problem. I think the college assumes that most students will bring their own Purell or some other form of hand sanitation, but clearly this assumption does not hold true. The college sent out all kinds of e-mail reminders telling students to wash their hands and avoid the virus as much as possible. The result was that angry students ended up complaining on the McDaniel page about the soap shortage and McDaniel responded by supplying all the bathrooms in all the residence halls with fresh soap and a stack of paper towels.
This goes to show what a little bit of skillful complaining can do on a college campus. I was impressed by the college’s responsiveness to Facebook grievances. By Friday, the school reported a lower number of sick students and like that the epidemic was ended. Hopefully next week will be back to normal. In my case I went home to avoid the school for the weekend and to catch up on some much needed sleep, so returning to school as usual will be refreshing for me.