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Area Student Cope With Possible Pandemic

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As suspected cases of swine flu begin to surface in area colleges, the possibility of schools closing has become part of the discussion. But some students say they're unaware of their school's plans.

Most of the two dozen or so students waiting for treatment here at the health center on the campus of the University of Maryland don't know why they feel ill. If the doctor sends them home with a diagnosis of flu, it raises the possibility that schools like UMD will be forced to suspend classroom instruction, and temporarily switch to online learing.

Orrie Liberman's a sophmore. He says although he's had no advance notice from the university about what to do if classes are disrupted, he thinks the distance learning alternative makes sense.

"I think it'll be fine if they broadcast the lectures, and do discussions online, it'll be fine."

American University student Colin Sentiny says he knows there's a plan if the school is forced to close...he just hasn't heard much about it. "Sounds as if it's still pretty vague, as if they're still trying to get a handle on it," says Sentiny.

In the event of a pandemic, both AU and UMD have published plans for online learning on their websites.

Elliot Francis reports...

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