Kids are going back to college this week, and swine flu is, too. The University of Kansas has already reported cases on campus, as have other schools. Parents can be forgiven for thinking, "Yikes!" But schools have been busy getting prepared over the summer, presuming that the new H1N1 flu virus will be a serious factor in the fall. The federal government has been busy, too, with new advice for parents and students on what they should do to survive swine flu on campus. It's a "don't panic" approach that aims to keep campus life as normal as possible until more drastic measures are needed.
I don't have college-age children, but I teach at Johns Hopkins University, and the school has already told us to be prepared for teaching online if the pandemic gets worse this fall. I hope it won't come to that. Colleges will participate in giving the vaccine when it becomes available (and people under age 25 are a group the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider a priority to get the shot), but that won't be until October or November. For now, students can minimize their risk by: