Despite reaching out to community leaders in New York City to prepare for a dreaded flu pandemic, Hunter College declined to include courses on dealing with the potential of a flu epidemic in its instruction this semester. The school cited contract reasons.
The decision left students, faculty and parents concerned about whether they would be adequately prepared should a pandemic hit the school.
The panic has been fostered by a decade of pandemics and flu outbreaks that have left many parents, faculty and students uneasy about what they can learn during flu season, and spurred fears of inaction.
The city prepared students for a pandemic this month through the New York City Partnership to Prep for a Pandemic. There is a six-week curriculum offered during high school that breaks down basics of getting vaccinated and how to keep families safe, according to the city.
Five classes at Hunter College focus on all the possible repercussions of a flu pandemic. Those include how to recognize symptoms and illnesses, how to handle high fever, how to stay hydrated and how to get vaccinated.
But John C. Williams, Hunter College’s director of continuing education and health sciences, would not provide information on the contract reasons and details about the classes.
Mr. Williams declined to comment on the contract situation when approached on Wednesday. The teacher of the schools said he did not know about the decision to not add classes this year.
“I think its great to be teaching some element of flu preparedness,” said the teacher. “Most students get vaccinated already.”
But some Hunter students and parents are worried.
“I just didn’t understand it. I can’t believe it would be the case,” said Leyan Ahmed, an 18-year-old sophomore.
Amini Faleye, a Hunter College undergraduate from Brooklyn, said she would not have run away from the classroom like some would in a scenario such as a pandemic.
“When my school in college showed their flu preparedness, I thought it was really great,” she said. “I found it to be very effective in teaching my first semester classes. But how can a teacher teach some parts of preparedness and not teach other classes about other things?”
The educator said that for Hunter College, which will be shut down on Nov. 5 for final exams, the company in charge of providing the courses decided not to have the classes offered this year.