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Flu Plans at Local Universities

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As suspected cases of swine flu begin to surface in area colleges, the possibility of suspending classes has become part of the disscussion.

Health officials at the University of Maryland College Park say there's no need for alarm. Not about the 100 or so students diagnosed wih flu like symptoms since the start of class last week, or the folks who showed up this morning.

"...I have a cough and I had a fever this morning" "I'm not like sick I just can't swallow. I mean I guess that's sick but..."

Rochelle Hartman and Orrie Liberman are just two of the dozen or so students waiting to be seen here at the school's health center. If the doctor sends them home with the with flu, it raises the possiblility that schools like UMD will be forced to suspend classroom instruction, and temporarily switch to online learing.

"I think that would be better. I don't want to sit in a classroom, I feel like crap.'

Orrie agrees but says he's had no heads up from the university about what to do if classes are disrupted due to a flu pandemic.

"They haven't said anything about whether they'll do distance learning or anything."

UMD does have a distance learning plan in place on their website. Same story across town at DC's American University where student Colin Sentiny says if classes are disrupted for the flu, he's hoping for the best but planning for the worst.

"I guess I'd be ok with it but I paid money to go into a classroom and not do it online if I wanted to do that, I could do University of Pheonix.

Elliott Francis reports...

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