COLLEGE UPDATE ON EBOLA
From the Office of Health & Safety
What is Ebola
Ebola is a rare disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. There are no known cases in Louisiana. Early symptoms include fever greater than 101.5, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising. According to the CDC symptoms appear within two to 21 days of exposure to the virus.
Persons at risk and virus transmission
Those at risk are anyone who has traveled to West Africa in the past three weeks and believes they were in contact with body fluids of someone ill with Ebola. Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with the blood or body fluids of sick patients. Body fluids include blood, sweat, urine, feces, saliva and possibly nasal secretions if close to the infected person. The virus cannot be transmitted through the air, through water or through food. It can only be transmitted through fluids of an infected person or from exposure to contaminated objects – such as needles.
How to monitor for symptoms and when to seek health care
Any person with recent international travel to affected areas should monitor their health status for three weeks after arrival from West Africa. Taking your temperature once or twice daily might be helpful. If you have traveled to West Africa and develop sudden fever, chills, muscle aches, severe diarrhea, vomiting, rash or other symptoms consistent with Ebola, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Before visiting a health-care provider, alert the clinic or emergency room in advance about your possible exposure to Ebola virus so that arrangements can be made to prevent spreading it to others. When traveling to a health-care provider, limit contact with other people and avoid all other travel.
Ways to prevent illness
Ebola virus is transmitted by close contact of the body fluids of a person who has symptoms of Ebola. Treat any body fluid as though it is infectious. Blood or body fluids can spread Ebola if they get into your eyes, nose or mouth. Therefore, hand washing is the most important infection-control measure, along with avoiding hand contact to one’s face. Wear disposable impermeable gloves when cleaning visibly contaminated surfaces. Maintain good healthy practices like getting plenty of sleep, maintaining good nutrition, drinking plenty of water and increasing your physical activity to help your immune system best resist infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) continue to monitor and respond to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and according to the CDC, Ebola currently poses no significant threat in the United States.
The federal government has not issued travel bans to these areas. If anyone does arrive in the US from the affected areas they will receive information about how they should monitor their health during the next few weeks.
Additionally, OLOL College has no international students from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone. There are no College-sponsored trips where students or faculty are coming to campus from the affected West African countries.
Ebola preparedness in Louisiana
First and foremost, there are no known cases of Ebola in Louisiana. However, if there ever was a case in our state, Louisiana is prepared. For the last several weeks, the Department of Health & Hospitals has been working to ready Louisiana's public health and medical infrastructure, including procedures for emergency medical workers, hospital physicians and regional emergency response coordinators.
Our Lady of the Lake’s infection prevention protocols were specifically updated regarding the Ebola virus in early August. Their teams and physicians are up to date on the most current surveillance and national alerts from the CDC and are using the CDC checklist to ensure appropriate strategies are in place for isolating Ebola patients should the need arise.
Protecting Healthcare Workers
Refer to http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/index.html includes information on the Sequence for Putting On and Removing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Tools for Protecting Healthcare Personnel
Facts and resources
More information is available from the CDC and World Health Organization
Service-learning, a teaching method that integrates instruction with meaningful community service, has become an integral part of an OLOL College education. Through this program, OLOL College students have given over 68,000 service-learning hours working for others. The College is pleased to report that based on the valuation designated by experts, OLOL College students have provided over $1 million of in-kind service to the community.
The estimated value of volunteer time is established each year by the Independent Sector, a coalition of charities, foundations, corporations, and individuals that publishes research important to the nonprofit sector. The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to make a difference in the community.
From June 2009 to June 2014, Our Lady of the Lake College students gave 68,084 service-learning hours working in collaboration with the College’s many community partners. The average of the Independent Sector’s in-kind value during that time frame is $19.10 per hour, bringing the total in-kind value of the College’s student service to $1,303,400.50. OLOL College service-learning students work with over 90 community partners who serve in sixteen parishes across southeast Louisiana.
The Service-Learning program at the College has been developed by and coordinated through the Office of Service-Learning, directed by Rhoda Reddix, Ph.D. “It is exciting to see that our student’s service now tops over a million in-kind dollars. But I can tell you this . . . the service itself is invaluable to everyone involved: the community partners, the people in the community who are helped, and the students themselves. Service-learning both supports engaged learning and reinforces the College’s Franciscan mission,” she explained.
An important part of the service-learning process is for students to write down their thoughts afterwards. A reflection from a nursing student after a service-learning experience at St. Martha’s Activity Center was, “I cannot begin to explain how this experience further proved that nursing is exactly what I want to do.”
As we begin our first semester together on the campus of Our Lady the Lake College, I hope you are as excited as I am about where we are. Since joining the College as President in April, I have been completely wowed by the energy of the College family!
Our college is more than a place to take courses and earn credits. It is a vibrant faith-based learning community where highly engaged students learn from and work with exceptional faculty, seasoned professionals, and leaders throughout our community. Through the interaction with your peers, the incredible service-learning activities, and the foundations of the Franciscan Values, your experiences here will truly be life changing.
Our faculty are much more than lecturers. I have observed how the small class sizes lead to the formation of lasting relationships between and among faculty and students. Faculty invest in their students’ academic and professional success. They challenge their students to succeed while supporting students’ efforts to do so. They understand the enduring value of professional preparation when it is experienced in the context of a broad liberal arts education. No matter which program area is your concentration, you will be immersed in a rich and relevant combination of rigorous coursework, real-life multidisciplinary simulations, and meaningful case studies, acquiring the competence and confidence to succeed in your chosen vocation.
Our goals for you are a reflection of the mission of Our Lady of the Lake College. Your time with us will change your understanding of what it means to serve. Our holistic approach to learning fosters a sense of individual purpose as you encounter increasingly complex moral and ethical questions. Whether you are called to work within the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System or well beyond the borders of Louisiana, whether you choose a career that you always expected or choose to work in an area very different than what you imagined, you will have established a firm foundation upon which to build a successful, purposeful, and faith-filled future.
I am glad that you and I have come to Our Lady of the Lake College. I look forward to meeting you all! Have a wonderful first week, and a fantastic semester!
Tina S. Holland, Ph.D.
President, Our Lady of the Lake College