We began planning, early this year, a feature story on what would happen if a pandemic were to hit a college campus. By early spring, it looked like a possibility. By September, it looked inevitable.
When the first case of the H1N1 flu virus was discovered in Southern California in April, health officials thought it was unusual, but something they could hacndle. When a second case turned up in a different location in the state, officials were alarmed. "The second case was highly unusual," said Dr. Gilberto Chavez, state epidemiologist and chief of California's Center for Infectious Diseases.
It was known then as the swine flu, but it was soon found to be a combination of swine, avian and human virus -- thus the official term, H1N1. In many ways, the threat posed by the virus dominated emergency planning and business continuity discussions throughout the year.
In May, Emergency Management, a sister publication of Government Technology, looked at the unique challenges facing colleges and universities as thei potental for pandemic rushed toward reality.
Questions were raised about whether dormitories and even entire schools should be closed, or if infected students should be quarantined. For some, the inevitability of a pandemic and the chaos that follows was coming to fruition.
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