(NECN: Mike Cronin) - College leaders are hoping that students are armed with the flu vaccine, when they arrive back from holiday break, while the city is emphasizing the vaccine message anywhere people live in close quarters like dormitories.
Tuesday, Becker College students moved back in for spring semester. Freshman Sarah Frost says she's ready for school and the flu season. She got vaccinated at the beginning of the school year.
“It's obviously preventable, so there's no reason I don't think to not get it.”
But sophomore David Cordeiro hasn't gotten the vaccine, nor does he plan to.
“Well, I really don't get sick often or at all, so I'm really not worried about getting the flu.”
The Worcester Public Health Department says there's 407 cases of the flu in the city. It's prompted Becker College to hold information sessions to educate students about the flu. They're also getting the word out through their shuttle drivers.
“That every time they pickup students in the van, they should talk about the flu, if you're not feeling well, here's where you can go,” says Nancy Crimmin, the college's vice president of student affairs.
She says they have a limited supply of vaccines available on a first come - first serve basis. She says if students have the flu and live nearby - the school will likely ask them to go home.
“Until they are fever free for over 24 hours and that's really to help them feel more comfortable, but also to help the risk of contagion on campus.”
The scene is quiet at the College of the Holy Cross, but students will return this weekend. Director of Health Services Martha Sullivan is advising students to stay home if they have the flu.
“They can email their professors and accommodations will be made because we don't want sick students on campus.”
Sullivan says the school is following the same protocols as they do for any flu season - and she's sent emails to students - asking them to get the flu shot before they return.
“If you're a college student, 18-21, you have a really healthy immune system. If you get the flu vaccine, you could be really 90-percent protected from the flu.”