THE NUMBER of influenza A(H1N1) cases in the University has reached 20 even as the first four infected students have already recovered and are “back in school,” UST Health Service director Dr. Maria Salve Olalia said.

Students in two merged classes at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and another section in the College of Science reported flu symptoms after two students became the latest cases of A(H1N1) on campus. The Health Service declined to give details on the third of the newest flu cases.

Three other classes were placed under quarantine due to a suspected transmission of the virus, Olalia said.

On July 4, the Health Service said 10 individuals tested positive for the virus in laboratory tests.

The College of Fine Arts and Design and Graduate School were added to the list of academic units hit by the flu, but classes were not suspended since the cases went on self-quarantine when flu symptoms started to manifest, Olalia said.

Last July 2, three cases were recorded at the colleges of Architecture and Commerce and Business Administration, as well as the Faculty of Civil Law. A sophomore section in Architecture was put on quarantine from June 29 to July 6 when a female student got the flu virus, while a fourth-year Commerce class was suspended from June 30 to July 13 due to one case of A(H1N1).

The new cases did not result in a University-wide suspension of classes, following the Department of Health’s revised response level guide for schools.

The revised protocol for schools, which shifted to a “mitigation” strategy from “containment,” was released after the shutdown of around 40 schools due to the A(H1N1) virus in June. Under the new guidelines, only the class with a confirmed case will be suspended.

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But Olalia said not all classes with confirmed cases were quarantined since some of those positive for the virus had decided to skip school upon experiencing flu symptoms.

“That is what everyone should do; do not go to class if you are not feeling well,” she said. “Some of them were given Tamiflu (antiviral medicine), while others were only given paracetamol or cough medicine.”

As of July 7, the number of A(H1N1) cases in UST were as follows: Fine Arts and Design, 1; Engineering, 1; Nursing, 4; Institute of Physical Education and Athletics, 1; Architecture, 3; Education, 1; Accountancy, 2; Commerce, 1; Civil Law, 1; Graduate School, 1; Science, 2; Tourism, 1 and Medicine 1. Fifteen among the 20 cases were females.

Olalia said the number of students going to the Health Service “tripled” after the first confirmed case was made public.

“That is a positive response, it means that their awareness has increased because we disclose them. We are very transparent. The Thomasian community should know,” she said.

Academic calendars revised

Three of five colleges that closed temporarily due to A(H1N1) have adjusted their academic calendars, rescheduling their preliminary and final exams.

The UST-Alfredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy, Faculty of Engineering, and the College of Nursing moved their major exams to a “more suitable” time so that students could catch up with their lessons.

From a University-wide schedule of August 3, Accountancy and Engineering moved their preliminary exams to August 10 and 11, respectively. The final exams of both colleges were moved to October 13 from October 11.

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“We had to move the date to a more suitable time so the students will not cram over their studies,” said Josephine Relis, Accountancy college secretary.

Nursing reduced its monthly, preliminary, and final exams to three days from the original four-day period. The monthly exams will be held from July 29 to 31, preliminary exams from September 1 to 3, and final exam from October 15 to 17.

The College of Rehabilitation Sciences cancelled its college week “so that we will not have to overhaul our academic calendar,” said college secretary Anne Marie Aseron.

There were no changes in the Medicine’s schedule since “it is not necessary,” faculty secretary Imelda Dakis said.

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