An outbreak of mumps has left students sent home, cricket games cancelled, and preliminary and final exams under threat as students across Oxford come down with the infection.Cherwell has learned that major outbreaks have occurred at Exeter, Corpus Christi and St Anne’s colleges, with as many as several dozen students falling ill across the entire university.It is possible that the infection, an airbourne virus transmitted through coughing or sneezing, was spread at recent college balls. In serious cases, it can cause deafness and meningitis. Four Anne’s students have reportedly been confined to their rooms, while two have been sent home to recover in quarantine.At Corpus, at least three students are affected, all of whom have either been asked to remain in their rooms or go to home for a brief period.Jack Counsell is a second year mathematician at Corpus who has contracted mumps and is sitting exams this term.Speaking to Cherwell, he said: “How I got mumps is a mystery, as the incubation time is between 2-3 weeks.”Although the “the college has been supportive and useful” by rearranging tutorials and relaxing deadlines, he said, he is concerned about upcoming examinations. He added that he “can’t really work, and as it’s a viral infection, you can only treat the symptoms.”A post on the Corpus Christi College Cricket Club Facebook page announced that the St Anne’s side had had to concede this week’s scheduled match “[D]ue to an outbreak of mumps and food poisoning.”According to Jack Beadsworth, a second year at Corpus, feeling in college was relatively jovial.He told Cherwell: “Oddly enough people really don’t seem to be that worried about it at all. It’s more of a cause for humour than a genuine cause for concern.” Speaking exclusively to Cherwell, St Anne’s JCR President Pranay Shah said: “‘The mumps outbreak around a few Oxford colleges is a pretty terrible coincidence with finals, prelims and other exams for the majority of students, but the response from staff has been very helpful.“As well as warning people of the transfection methods and symptoms, advice from the NHS and college nurse has been provided too.”One student who has contracted mumps told Cherwell: “The first I heard about it, someone I knew caught it and had been shipped home.“Then one evening I got sharp pains in the corner of my jaw which were pretty uncomfortable but I didn’t think much of it. Overnight, I was pretty feverish.”“I woke up the next day with my face all swollen up on the right hand side. “I went to the doctor who confirmed it was mumps, so College told me to stay in my room in quarantine or go home.“College have been pretty good about it—they moved me to a room with en-suite so I could be a bit more comfortable, and the nurse has been around to check on me, but I’m not allowed to use kitchens or communal bathrooms.”The student was also concerned about their academic work.“It’s made it pretty hard to work, getting books from libraries isn’t easy—my friends have been amazing.They added: “I’ve been able to do some stuff but mainly I’ve had to cry off. I’m lucky, I don’t have exams so it’s not the end of the world but there probably will be some catching up to do.“The first couple of days of infection were pretty grim, I was really weak, walking to Jericho meant I had to sleep for almost the rest of the day, and everything ached. I had dizziness, headaches and a high temperature, and a large swelling around the back of my jawbone.”Both the Oxford University health guidelines and NHS website recommend that people entering higher education for the first time have the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.In 2010, a similar outbreak saw forty-one students contract mumps. Students with symptoms are advised to seek medical assistance.
In a virtual town hall for off-campus undergraduate students Wednesday, University President Fr. John Jenkins acknowledged the shortcomings of the University’s preparation to reopen in light of COVID-19, but he said he believes the changes Notre Dame has undergone in the past few weeks will allow the University to be better prepared to keep students, faculty and staff safe and on campus for the semester.Jenkins began the session by announcing the creation of an advisory task force for off-campus undergraduate students to address their needs during this time and to maintain a line of communication between them and the administration.Vice president of University relations Louis Nanni said the task force will be composed of 25 to 30 students from each of the different pods of student housing areas.“Our charge, I believe, is to really try to enhance a sense of belonging and inclusiveness with all of you,” Nanni said.When asked what it will take for students to remain on campus, Jenkins spoke about the cycle of infections. “If we get into a cycle where there’s not just a few infections, but they’re infecting others and we go to the second circle, and the third circle, and the fourth circle,” Jenkins said. “We can’t deal with that; we don’t have the capacity to deal with it, and that would cause us to start online classes or maybe even have to go home.”Jenkins remains optimistic though that students will be able to remain on campus for the rest of the semester.“I believe in the student body — they’re smart, they care about each other, they care about the University,” Jenkins said. “That is our great asset.”According to vice president of student affairs Erin Hoffman Harding, there will be no restrictions for off-campus students coming to campus as students return to in-person classes.She also stated the University plans on requesting students limit gatherings to 10 people for the immediate future. “We’re going to start cautiously,” she said. “It’s the reason we’re starting classes gradually. We are also reopening student organizations and programs gradually so we can all be successful.”As the University recently announced, student, faculty and staff football ticket availability for the coming season, vice president for campus safety and University operations Mike Seamon talked about the administration’s considerations behind this decision.“The idea was to not bring outside visitors to campus,” Seamon said.Students, faculty and staff may park on the stadium lot, and tailgating will not be permitted on campus. Jenkins reiterated how fortunate Notre Dame is to allow the student body in the stadium while the vast majority of other colleges in the ACC are not allowing their students the same opportunity.“I just want to urge you to bring your best selves and cheer, but obey those health precautions so we can continue with the season and continue to have spectators,” Jenkins said.When asked what students should do if they see their peers disregarding safety precautions Hoffman Harding said to look to GreeNDot’s strategy.“If you see something, say something,” Hoffman Harding said. “I know and have certainly seen since we came back this semester how much our students want to be here. If we can all encourage one another wherever we are on campus and just remind ourselves and each other to put on our masks, keep our distance, do our daily health checks, come to surveillance testing. That is really the way that we are all going to be successful in staying here.” Student body president senior Rachel Ingal, who moderated the event, asked if University leadership will consider shortening the time a student remains in quarantine if they do not test positive for COVID-19.Seamon responded and said he does not see the amount of time a student in quarantine who was in close contact with individuals who tested positive to decrease less than seven days. This is only possible because of the infrastructure Notre Dame has in place, including the information from the daily health checks, the contact tracing and the testing center.In addition, Hoffman Harding reminded off-campus students that all community members will be required to get flu shots later in the semester. “That’s another prevention and safety measure that we put in place for campus so that we can make sure to prevent that illness and any confusion that you might see in symptoms between the flu and COVID,” she said.To wrap up the town hall, Jenkins reminded everyone to continue wearing masks, social distancing, completing their daily health checks and showing up to surveillance testing.“You guys work so hard and you want to relax and on weekends you want to take it easy, I get it, but that’s the most risky time,” Jenkins said. “So find ways to relax, find ways to be with your friends that are safe. It doesn’t take much to shut us down for the semester.” Tags: COVID-19, fall 2020, Fr. John Jenkins, off campus students, town hall
As part of a contest conducted by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension’s Radon Education Program, students from across the state created posters highlighting the dangers of radon, an odorless, colorless, flavorless radioactive gas that is present in some Georgia soils.Almost 200 posters were submitted in the state-level competition, and three were selected to enter the National Radon Poster Contest, sponsored by the Conference of Radiation Control Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.Charlotte Moser, a seventh-grade student at Clarke Middle School in Athens, Georgia, won first place for her horror movie-inspired poster of a radon cloud enveloping a castle.Jeff Peek, an eighth-grade student from Stockbridge Middle School in Stockbridge, Georgia, won second place for his hauntingly informative poster featuring a realistic skull.Flor Campos-Robles, a fifth-grade student and Clarke County 4-H member from Athens, Georgia, won third place with her poster featuring a house that appears to be feeling under the weather and warns about the dangers of radon.The UGA Extension Radon Education Program celebrates student artwork through the Radon Awareness Poster Contest each January in honor of National Radon Action Month. All three of this year’s winners will meet with Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in January to show him their posters and thank him for his proclamation recognizing January as National Radon Action Month.Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep through home foundations and into homes, making the air unsafe for residents. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. In Georgia, homes in the northern counties are more likely to have high levels of radon, but all homes are susceptible.Radon can be extracted from homes, but only if families know that they need remediation services. Radon testing is not a part of basic home inspections that homebuyers order when purchasing a home, but simple home radon tests are available from UGA Extension. To get a test kit, contact your local UGA Extension office or visit www.UGAradon.org.UGA Extension uses the radon poster contest as a vehicle to educate people about the UGA Radon Education Program. Nine- to 14-year-olds across the state can design a poster to help alert the general public about the dangers of radon and how they can keep their families safe.The posters can focus one of five themes:What is radon?Where does radon come from?How does radon get into our homes?Radon can cause lung cancer.Test your home for radon.The deadline for entries is usually in September. Teachers and parents can learn more about the contest at www.UGAradon.org.