Higher ed continues Zika preparation as virus spreads
- Zika virus preparation efforts in higher ed are still primarily focused in Florida, but experts are developing strategies on campuses nationwide for students and partnering municipalities, Inside Higher Ed reports.
- Most institutions are instituting awareness campaigns for students to wear longer clothing and to use mosquito repellant, in addition to treating potential problem areas around campus.
- About 700 people have been diagnosed with Zika infection in Florida since the first domestic diagnosis in February, but many observers say students are not panicking over the potential of outbreak.
At the outset of the fall semester, many believed that the Zika virus scare would have deep impact on student recruitment and retention for many institutions. But for several campuses in Miami and throughout Florida, it has been business as usual. At Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, the school has broken records for freshman enrollment in spite of the health scare — a sign that students and families are confident in the public health resources available to prevent or to treat outbreak, and the infrastructure on campuses to adjust to any infections.
Colleges and universities would do well in making sure that infection-related information and resources are accessible to families and students to create the same culture of information and comfort. Even if they're far from the regions currently impacted, some may want to consider, at the very least, advisories during popular student travel periods like spring break.
- Inside Higher Ed Prepping for Zika
- Education Dive Florida universities take lead on Zika virus research and awareness