Education, Health, Public Safety

SU Students May Take Leaves of Absence If Ebola Patient Is Brought To Upstate Medical

Some students at SU feel unsafe near Ebola, despite the university’s precautions and plan to keep it contained. (c) Nicholas Fathergill 2014

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SU Students Concerned Over Ebola

Multiple Syracuse University students have said that if patients with Ebola are brought to Upstate Medical University, they may be forced to take a leave of absence from school.

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By Nick Fathergill SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – In the aftermath of Upstate Medical University receiving clearance to treat Ebola patients, students at Syracuse University are concerned.

Sophomore Cole Ellenbogen is one of the students at SU that expressed his discomfort.  He said if a patient with Ebola is brought to Upstate Medical, his family may have only one option.  “There’s a very good chance…[my parents] would pull me from Syracuse,” said Ellenbogen.

Syracuse University is preparing in case a patient comes to Upstate, or if Ebola should spread to the campus.  They put a three-step plan in place involving education training, travel management, and a response, according to Director of Risk Management and Chief Emergency Management Officer David Pajak.

The first step includes training Health Services, SU Ambulance and Public Safety on how to deal with possible signs of Ebola, said Pajak.

Step two, travel management, involves students and faculty leaving the campus.  Anybody leaving SU to go overseas must receive clearance from the head of their department, said Pajak.  He also said that there are no international studies from either Liberia or Sierra Leone at SU, and there are no study abroad programs in those countries in the foreseeable future.

Should a member of the university display signs of Ebola, the response team at Health Services is directed to ask an abundance of questions related to the type of symptoms they have and how long they have been sick.  Health Services is also instructed to collaborate with Upstate Medical to keep the person isolated.

Still, some students feel these measures may not be enough.  “Despite the university’s and the hospital’s best intentions, there’s always a chance that it’s going to spread out of the hospital,” said Ellenbogen.

While it is unknown exactly how many students would leave, at least half a dozen have already verbally confirmed this intention.