The university has been criticized on many occasions for taking too long to respond to large-scale issues that need to be dealt with immediately. In regards to the ongoing norovirus crisis, however, the university’s actions have been just the opposite.
The first broadcast e-mail, warning students about the outbreak, was sent by around 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, with six follow-up e-mails, as of last night, notifying students of increases in the number of infected students and the discovery that the problem was more than simple food poisoning.
Though this outbreak should never have occurred, at this point, it just needs to be handled. Surprising their naysayers, the administration has shown great efficacy in confronting this problem. Through the voluntary closing of Leo’s, the formation of a makeshift cafeteria in Leavey and cooperation in the Department of Health’s investigation of Leo’s, the university has taken positive steps toward effectively managing the spread of the virus. Because the Student Health Center is providing free services to infected students and GERMS nobly took on the job of transporting those individuals, students are getting the treatment they need. The university is even meeting specialized needs by stocking RHOs with hand sanitizer, sanitary wipes and electrolyte-rich fluids and offering broth, Jell-O and other easy-to-digest foods in Leo’s. All in all, Georgetown is taking responsibility and trying to fix this miserable mess.
The one area where the university could be doing a little more is in advising infected students. They should send an e-mail to all those who have gone to the health center or the hospital and those who have informed their hall directors or residence advisers that they are sick. They should explain how long students should stay in their rooms, remind them to drink lots of fluids, tell them when it’s safe to eat again and how to request maintenance to clean the room. Though some of this information was included in an e-mail last night, a succinct list of need-to-know information would no doubt be welcomed by those who are feeling better but don’t want to put their friends at risk.