The following is a message that was emailed out to students on Sunday, January 30 from the Office of Student Affairs regarding a student health alert about the norovirus.
Over the last few days, several students have presented with reports of having had or currently experiencing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. We are sorry to hear how this has impacted our community so far and hope we can all come together to put a quick end to this spread. This illness complex is likely caused by norovirus (‘stomach flu’) and symptoms typically last only a day or two. Pitzer is working closely with Student Health Services to provide support to students, further explore the issues, and additional updates will be provided as we learn information.
Norovirus is very contagious and can spread quickly in places with a significant number of people living and eating together. Therefore, we urge you to take the following precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control:
- Practice proper hand hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
- Do not prepare food if ill.
- Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces.
Students who have symptoms compatible with norovirus infection should:
- Stay home and limit contact with other students.
- Drink lots of clear liquids (Gatorade, Kool-aid, ginger ale, apple juice) to maintain hydration until symptoms have abated.
- Sanitize any surfaces after any vomiting or diarrhea episode, and ensure proper handling of any soiled clothing.
- Slowly return to eating solid foods after symptoms have resolved. Begin with plain rice, applesauce, bananas, toast, and crackers.
- Seek medical evaluation if vomiting lasts longer than 24 hours, diarrhea lasts longer than three days, or if symptoms of dehydration occur (lightheaded or fainting).
See the CDC website for more detailed information: https://www.cdc.gov/features/norovirus
While at this time, COVID-19 does not appear to be related to these student reported concerns, persons with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, up to one third of COVID patients have reported gastrointestinal signs and symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Therefore, as a precaution, it is always best to test yourself for COVID if you are feeling ill, even if you think your symptoms aren’t related.
Bon Appétit, Pitzer’s dining services partner, maintains rigorous food safety standards. Chefs and managers maintain up to date certifications from ServSafe (www.servsafe.com), an independent food safety organization. In-house training based on FDA Food Code guidelines is ongoing throughout the year for all employees. Bon Appétit adheres to the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) approach of managing food safety and has also implemented a comprehensive Quality Assurance/Food Safety training program above and beyond typical restaurant standards.
Students may be evaluated by Student Health Services by calling (909) 621-8222 for an appointment or seeking TeleHealth support 24/7 at 7C.Health. For issues after hours, call Campus Safety at (909) 607-2000 to reach an on-call health care provider or Pitzer’s Dean On Call.
If you need personal or academic support during this time, please contact Stephanie Hannant, Asst. Dean of Mental Health & Well-being at [email protected]. Stephanie can connect you to mental health referrals, well-being resources, or academic support (such as academic accommodations, academic coach, etc.).
We appreciate impacted students who have reached out to us so that we can best support our community through this. Our team is here to support any impacted student and appreciate our united efforts following recommendations noted above.
Mindful of Each Other,
Sandra Vasquez, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs