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.
You probably read enough about it on everyone else’s blogs… but it was a pretty important happening on campus last week so here we go – THE MCVIRUS 2013.
A term that was coined by students and the McDaniel Free Press, it is actually a slight misnomer because we are not the only people to have ever gotten the virus. It was gastroenteritis and it was actually pretty common earlier in the winter. McDaniel was just a little behind on the trend. And being a small school, it didn’t take us long to catch up.
As the Editor in Chief of the Free Press, I was excited for such a large event with the possibility for so many stories. I also wanted to lay rumors of food poisoning and other Glar misfortunes to rest. We spent all day Wednesday covering the virus that had been nonexistent before Tuesday night, trying to get the facts straight. Ironically, by the next day half our staff had been hit, including myself.
But it was a small price to pay for exciting milestones. The Free Press made personal records, for site hits, page views and more. My favorite piece was a ‘best of social media’ where we gathered the funniest tweets and statuses about the viruses and shared them with campus. The staff together did a great job and put together some fine pieces of journalism on a time crunch.
If you haven’t already, check out mcdanielfreepress.com for a great look at life on campus!
Getting sick sucks! I spent most of this week either lying in bed hugging my tissue box or in class wishing I was back in bed hugging my tissue box. The common cold has reached McDaniel luckily it’s not as bad as the flu epidemic but its still bringing down even the healthiest of students. My friend down the hall had it worse than me. Being the get up and go student I am, I don’t really believe in missing class for a simple cold but her case was so bad that we nearly locked her in her room and wrote quarantine on the door.
When you’re that sick, there’s always relief to be found in the services that McDaniel offers. When you come to campus, your orientation leaders and FYS instructors will beat the concept of the Wellness Center into your head. It’s useful and if you’re really not feeling well, it can be a good resource.
Another nice service that the school has just started is meal-to-go which is basically a room service option for sick people. If you call in, Glar workers will make you a meal and bring it to you. It’s a good way to convenience the sick and prevent spreading illness. I think it has something to do with the flu fear that’s in the back of everyone’s minds.
As for keeping up with your work, make sure you have at least one reliable person in each of your classes. Professors are not super useful for catching up on missed work so you’re going to want to have someone to depend on. If you don’t know anyone in your class, make a new friend. That’s what college is all about! Didn’t mean for this to turn into an advice column…but I hope you found it useful anyway. Bottom line is, stay healthy and when in doubt take EMERGEN-C. It’s like a Hulk sized dose of vitamin C, I swear by it.