The campus is requiring students who have never been vaccinated to leave the campus for a minimum of 26 days.
School officials at SUNY Geneseo confirmed that 12 students now have mumps. Eight of the students afflicted live off-campus, while the other four live on the campus. It was an off-campus student who was the first mumps patient to become infected back in November.
The college is now closely working local and state health officials to prevent a further outbreak. The campus is no requiring students who have never been vaccinated to leave the campus for a minimum of 26 days.
The move is for their own protection, as they are the most at risk for contracting mumps.
The mumps is now the talk of campus, according to student Sarah Ball. Now that there has been at least a dozen students infected, they say it's a concern.
"It's a little frightening, but I think that it's something that is expected in [a] campus. We're out together all the time," she says.
The time of year may also be playing a factor, according to Audrey Button.
"You're in the library, especially during the finals weeks, there's so many people in one spot," she says, "so just making sure you bring hand sanitizer with you [is important]."
Students say that campus officials have been doing their best to educate them about the virus.
"The first day, they had signs on every door," says Ball. "You knew, you got a phone call, I believe. Like, there was no 'we're trying to hide this. They want us to stay safe."
Mumps typically brings out flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and loss of appetite. In extreme cases, however, it can cause a person to go deaf. Mumps is an airborne virus that can be spread through coughing, sneezing, talking, or sharing utensils with an infected person.
"It is scary," says Button. "You don't really think about it, like 'oh is mumps still around because so many people got vaccinated?' It's not that common anymore, but the fact it's here... it's kind of scary."
While officials say that in all 12 confirmed cases the students had received two mumps vaccinations, that does not mean they had immunity. The strength of the vaccine could decrease over time, and other strains of the virus can also be a factor.
So even those students that have been vaccinated, like Molly Byrne, are taking extra precautions, such as washing hands and not taking sips of other people's water bottles.
In the meantime, Campus officials are urging all members of the SUNY Geneseo community to verify that they have received the recommended doses of the vaccine. They have also set up a page with all the information about the virus, and what you can do to protect yourself.