September 8, 2003 Vol. VIII, No. 2



News Briefs

SARS Update: No Travel Advisories in Effect for Fall

In contrast to the global alarm over the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) earlier this year, world health authorities have identified no recurrence of the SARS epidemic and issued no travel advisories as the fall semester begins.

Dr. Linda Reid-Chassiakos, director of the Klotz Student Health Center, reports that the campus administration, the California State University Chancellor's Office and the student health center have been monitoring the Web sites of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for the latest information about SARS.

"At this point in time," she said, "there are no travel advisories and no identified SARS epidemic, but we will continue to monitor the situation and keep the campus community updated."

Reid-Chassiakos said the CDC Web site guidelines and recommendations issued in summer 2003 still are valid. The CDC currently is not recommending cancellation of travel plans from the United States, and there are no recommendations to cancel or postpone classes, meetings or other gatherings that will include persons traveling to the United States from areas that were high-risk for SARS last spring.

The CDC recommendations are also the basis for Chancellor Charles B. Reed's May 9 directive requiring California State University presidents to approve campus-sponsored travel to areas under SARS-related CDC travel alert or advisory. Approval for such travel by President Jolene Koester will be necessary again only if the CDC issues a new alert.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to get the influenza vaccine this year, said Reid-Chassiakos. The CDC believes the vaccination, which reduces flu cases, will decrease the number of people with symptoms similar to those with SARS, she explained. Starting in mid-October, the influenza vaccination will be available at the student health center.

The World Health Organization is working with countries around the world to maintain an alert system for quick identification and containment of SARS if the disease re-emerges this fall.

To remain abreast of the latest news, Cal State Northridge faculty, staff and students—including international students—who plan to travel abroad in the near future should call the health center's Travel Clinic at (818) 677-3679 prior to their trips for information on SARS and safe travel, said Reid-Chassiakos.

For the latest SARS updates, contact the CDC Web site at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars/, the WHO Web site at www.who.int/csr/sars/en/, or the State Department Web site at www.travel.state.gov.

University Receives Grant for Anti-Gang Program

In partnership with the Jeopardy Foundation and the Los Angeles Police Department, Cal State Northridge has received a three-year, $375,000 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service for a new anti-gang program.

Part of $40 million in grants bestowed in the 2003–2004 academic year by the corporation's Learn and Serve America program, the university's grant is part of the program's effort to support 2,300 local projects that promote community service efforts by university students that also enhance their academic and civic skills.

"This grant will give our students the opportunity to help the community's early intervention efforts by tutoring, mentoring and inspiring young people to seek positive alternatives to gang life," said Maureen Rubin, director of Northridge's Center for Community-Service Learning. Together with the Department of Sociology, the center oversees the university's portion of the grant.

The new program, "University/ Community Partnership to Reduce Gang Activity," will create a special service-learning sociology class for 40 work-study students each semester, beginning next spring. Each student will perform 300 hours of service a year at one of the non-profit Jeopardy Foundation's after-school anti-gang program sites, and will attend weekly classes co-taught by sociology professors Patricia O'Donnell-Brummett, Herman DeBose and mentoring specialist Bridget Sampson.


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