In the past few weeks, the DePauw Health and Wellness Center has seen an increased number of influenza cases among students. Due to the flu, many students have had to miss classes and failed to fulfill their academic responsibilities.
Julia Proctor, associate dean of campus life, said, “My communication with the Health Center indicated that they are very busy. They have been very busy since probably Monon.”
Proctor added that students’ diagnoses remain private, however, there has definitely been an uptick in flu-like symptoms among students.
Proctor said that she does not foresee flu turning into an epidemic because the university has always had an increased number of flu cases in the last couple of weeks of the semester.
“We have had flu before. And what we’re seeing is more cases of flu and stronger symptoms because we did not have flu last year. I mean, people had the flu, but it was not as prevalent because people were masking and were not exposed to the flu virus as much,” Proctor said.
To combat the flu outbreak, Proctor recommends getting the flu shot as soon as possible. According to her, the Health Center still has quite a few doses. Getting the flu shot is not required for students or faculty this year, unlike last year.
“The Health Center was anticipating and being prepared in case we, as an institution, would have to require getting the flu shot, so we ordered a lot,” Proctor said.
She added that the flu shot is not a preventative, but it will reduce symptoms. In addition to getting the shot, she recommends getting enough sleep, taking vitamins, and stocking up on over-the-counter medications.
Proctor said that she does not anticipate that campus will go back to mandatory masking due to the flu or COVID-19.
“The Mitigation Team isn’t discussing any type of masking, but I will say that if students feel more comfortable with masking, that’s a good protective option,” Proctor said.
Some students reported having severe flu symptoms. Junior Bisma Ranjah said everyone on her residence hall floor had flu in the past few weeks.
“It was really bad. We could not study, so we had to ask for extensions. People could not take their exams because they were not feeling well,” she said.
Senior Zikra Mostafa said she was a bit scared when she heard about the flu outbreak.
“I was like, what if it’s actually COVID-19 and people think it’s the flu? I was scared we would have to depopulate campus again,” she said.