Ryerson’s gradual approach to Ebola awareness

Ebola virus

Ryerson is taking a measured approach in its campus Ebola awareness campaign. (Creative Commons)

Despite 7,178 cases of Ebola being reported worldwide, Ryerson isn’t planning to develop a campus-wide awareness campaign for the virus. Instead, the university has so far only targeted their campaign toward students from West Africa.

Ryerson’s coordinator of international student services, Arif Abu, has been working with the school’s director of student health and wellness, Su-Ting Teo, to develop an Ebola awareness plan. The plan was developed at the beginning of the academic year, using recommendations from public health authorities in Ontario.

The resulting e-mail campaign on Sept. 5 advised students from West Africa to take their temperatures twice a day for 21 days. Students who didn’t see any symptoms after the three-week period could consider themselves clear of the virus.

Any Ryerson student with symptoms can visit the campus medical centre, where physicians have kept up-to-date about the Ebola virus and appropriate procedures to follow. From there, a physician will ask the appropriate questions and perform a physical examination, if necessary.

Ryerson held a brief discussion for staff and students to help educate them about the virus, but beyond that, there haven’t been further efforts to create awareness for the university community. Teo doesn’t think it’s a large concern because she says the virus “is not that easy to transmit.”

Teo said Ryerson will develop a more widespread awareness campaign if a case of Ebola is found in the Ryerson community, or if people demand more information about the virus.

“Some of the issues have to do with poverty, lack of resources and lack of information,” Teo said about Ebola affecting West Africa.

In Canada, we have access to more information and resources, and Teo believes we can manage better.

By Christina Botticchio

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