Wednesday, September 16, 2009

( Fear of ) Swine Flu Strikes Again

This morning, I received the following email from AUC's VP of Planning and Administration:

AUC will be suspending classes beginning Thursday, September 17 until Saturday, October 3. The decision follows a request by the Egyptian government that the university suspend its classes in line with government universities, which have suspended classes due to concerns relating to the H1N1 flu.

There have been no positive cases of the flu reported on the AUC campuses or by any member of the AUC community.

The university’s administrative offices, the library, sports complex and food outlets will be fully operational during the suspension; however, the day care center will be closed. Staff who rely on the day care center will be provided leave during the suspension, if necessary.

Faculty and students are encouraged to utilize all available electronic resources to continue classroom activity. The Office of the Provost will provide guidance and direction on a revised class schedule to ensure all academic requirements are fulfilled.

As already announced, the university will be closed for the Eid September 19 to September 22. We will continue to provide updates to the AUC community immediately following the Eid.

Splendid. First all the pigs are slaughtered, now education is disrupted for every student in the country. For me, this means missing four class sessions (especially problematic given that each of my classes meets only once a week) and not starting my Writing Center position for another three weeks. American colleges haven't gone to such drastic measures, but they are bracing for a significant outbreak of the strain that has already killed students, so maybe my cynicism is a little unjustified. And, on the bright side, clearing my calendar until the 3 of October will permit me to hole up in my H1N1-free bedroom and churn out more thesis copy.

In other, slightly frustrating news, the garbage man and the man who washes the floors in our building's common areas once a week have been taking my flatmates for a ride all summer. charging them as much as eight times more than they were supposed to be paying. And, in my absence, my landlord absconded with our hard-won vacuum cleaner. The little un-joys of Cairo. By and large though, despite my natural tendency to come unhinged as little stressors accumulate, my re-adjustment to Cairo as been quite easy. I am less bothered than ever by comments on the street, terrible if well-intentioned customer service, and things never happening as they're intended.

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