Since Oct. 7, the Student Health Service has confirmed 46 cases of mumps on campus (including one staff member and several members of the swim team). Those students, unless recently diagnosed, are no longer contagious and have returned to campus.
While there is minimal risk of transmission to the general public, there is low risk for the campus community. It is important that individuals on campus take extra precautions to avoid getting the mumps. The transmission of mumps is through saliva contact, sharing of utensils, drinking glasses, smoking products and kissing. Washing hands is recommended per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A person may be contagious for two days before their glands swell.
The College is sharing the following information with you:
- Per campus protocol, the affected students, who have been immunized against mumps, have been isolated for the recommended period of time. Student athletes and resident students, in particular, have been educated about how to reduce exposure to mumps. Immunizations work but are not 100% effective.
- Nineteen students who have not been immunized have been sent home until Dec. 23, per Ulster County Health Department and the New York State Health Department guidelines. Student Affairs has been and will continue to notify faculty whose students are impacted by this exclusion from campus.
- All SUNY New Paltz students are required to provide documentation of two measles, one rubella and one mumps immunization or provide documentation of a religious or other exemption. According to the New York State Health Department, students enrolled in less than six credits do not need to provide immunization records. However, we encourage students to confirm their immunizations with their healthcare provider. If students are not sure if their immunizations are up to date, they may contact Student Health Service at (845) 257-3400. The Student Health Service has immunizations available if yours are not up to date at NO COST to the student.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016 has seen the most cases of mumps, primarily on college campuses across 45 states and the District of Columbia, since 2006.
- Campus tours and general information sessions will continue on campus as scheduled. We will eliminate campus tours in the affected residence halls until further notice. Overnight visits of student-athletes have been suspended until after Thanksgiving. If you decide not to visit at this time, we encourage you to learn more about the College through our admission website. For questions about campus tours and general information sessions, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission: (845) 257-3200.
- Campus departments and units who have events scheduled that involve visitors from off-campus, especially children, should take the following precautions: 1) no student known to be infected with mumps should participate in such events, 2) notify visiting children’s parents to check their children’s immunizations before participating and ask that they not attend if their child has not been immunized, 3) consult your supervisor if you are uncertain about whether to hold the event or not or contact the Student Health Center. This guidance assumes that any New Paltz students still in attendance have documented immunizations.
- Under the advice of the New York State Health Department and the Ulster County Health Department, the swim team will not compete against other colleges and universities for the remainder of the semester. Non-infected swimming student athletes returned to practice at Elting Pool on Nov. 28.
- As a precaution, Athletics, Wellness and Recreation canceled its Kids Sports Night on Nov. 18.
- Mumps is caused by a respiratory virus, whose symptoms include painful swelling of the salivary glands near the ears and under the jaw, which can occur on one or both sides of the face. This swelling may be associated with other non-specific symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and decreased appetite.
- Out of an abundance of caution, the campus has enhanced its cleaning efforts in affected areas including the Athletic and Wellness Center, Gage, Shango, Crispell, Lenape and Bouton residence halls. We ask that students, employees and visitors make sure their immunizations are up to date and ask you to follow the CDC protocols to avoid further spread of this illness.
If you have health-related questions contact your healthcare provider or Student Health Service at (845) 257-3400.
Jack Ordway, M.D.
Director, Student Health Service