Sunday, September 27, 2009


Update: The university has a pretty comprehensive page about this issue.

I like the health services provided by the University of Waterloo. They've been extremely helpful to me in the past and I'm glad that they're taking steps to reduce the chance of a flu outbreak.

Nonetheless (and there had to be a nonetheless), it's hard to image swine flu (H1N1) necessitating all the measures that have been put in place. There are signs on the central Health Services building instructing patrons to enter by the back if they have any flu symptoms, including coughing. There have been emails sent to students asking them to self-quarantine themselves if they have any symptoms. Most surprisingly, influenza has been made an exception to the university policy of requiring verification for illness when missing examinations.

This means that if you develop a cough during exams, you're supposed to call Health Services so that they can tell you not to visit them and instead to quarantine yourself in your room and write the exam later. The potential to abuse this system is obvious and I think it's questionable whether students who have early flu symptoms really will self-diagnose and stay at home. Still, preventing a pandemic is clearly more important than avoiding an honor system for exam scheduling, so I can understand the university's decision.

The quarantine signs are still ominous.

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