H1N1 virus effects number of students attending school

Shannon Kuhfuss and Shannon Kuhfuss

As H1N1 influenza poses a threat to City College, the faculty, staff and students look for ways to prevent contracting the virus while on campus. But what about the daily commute to campus on public transportation?

Many of City College students travel to class by way of public transportation, which can increase risk of infection if proper precautions are not taken.

Each day, the trolleys and buses bring numerous students from their homes all the way to campus, putting the students at risk for infection of H1N1.

City student Andrea Lodigiani has been taking the trolley to her classes at City for two years and is shocked to see the change in the passengers taking the ride with her.

“I really didn’t pay much attention to the news when the swine flu was first announced, but I slowly noticed more and more people getting on wearing the face masks, so I knew something was up. I sort of jump out of my seat a little when I hear someone sneeze now.” said Lodigiani.

Some students even make the trip from Tijuana everyday to class and the travel time has almost doubled from what it previously was.

The reason for the travel delay is security at the border coming into the United States, which is trying to prevent infection coming into the United States.

“It was a long trip from the border before, but I was getting used to it. Now it takes me a lot longer because traffic at the border is really slow. I support the need to make sure everyone is safe from infection, but it does take a lot of time out of my day,” said student Mariel Nunez.

Some students have avoided the trek altogether and opted not to attend their classes for fear of contracting the flu.

As news progresses on the flu strain, attendance in some classes seems to be at an all-time low, leaving an increased number of empty seats.

Student Luis Hidalgo has noticed a significant decrease in the number of students in his classes and instructors who are willing to be flexible with attendance and illness.

“It’s one of those things that the teachers can’t really be mad about, you know? What if someone really is sick? I don’t want them sitting next to me feeling horrible just to have a decent attendance record. I want them at the doctor getting help,” said Hidalgo.

To help prevent the advancement of the H1N1, students are urged to cover their nose or mouth when sneezing or coughing, wash hands as often as possible, especially after coughing or sneezing, and abstain from contact with any person infected.

For updated information about the H1N1 strain of influenza visit the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/swineflu.