Colleges Battle to Contain H1N1 Virus

At Washington State's main campus, back to school means back to bed. The H1N1 virus has hit two thousand students, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

"I woke up with a fever and could barely breathe because my chest hurt so bad," said Ashley Dunn, a freshman.

On Dunn's floor, six women have the virus. The school is urging sick kids to stay in their rooms, but Dunn said that people keep going to class.

America's collegiate sick-out has schools scrambling to keep up. Schools like the University of Kansas and Florida state have food drops for sick students. In Cincinnati, Xavier banned large gathering through Labor Day. Stillman College in Alabama canceled Saturday's season-opening football game.

California's Pomona College has a new mandatory course for freshmen: the proper way to sneeze and cough (the answer: into one's sleeve).

"I share a bathroom with seven other guys," said Alex Efron, a Pomona student. "That's a bit of a concern for me."

CBSNews.com Special Report: H1N1

Hardest hit by the virus? Campuses in the Northwest and Southeast, like Emory University in Atlanta.

Students here call one dorm "Club Swine."

It's a dorm just for flu victims - students check themselves in voluntarily, and half the school's 220 H1N1 cases have come here to rest, recover, and help slow the spread of the virus.

"We knew we were going into a flu season without our students, faculty and staff being vaccinated," said Dr. Michael Huey, the Emory Student Health Director.

Emory was all set to tear down this old dorm, but saved it just in case the H1N1 virus hit the campus hard later in the year. Planning paid off.

In Washington D.C., American University reached into its post Sept. 11 emergency plan. Professors have to learn to lecture over the Internet in case the virus empties their classrooms.

Against this threat, campuses are on their own. They hope the H1N1 vaccine will help when it arrives late next month.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann was named CBS News Transportation correspondent in August 2011. He has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001, and is based in the Atlanta bureau.