UPDATE: Text messages reduce the spread of norovirus at Hope College
Posted By: Joshua Aldredge Posted By: Chris Fleszar | WZZM13 | December 5, 2008
HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) A text message proved effective in alerting thousands of students about last month's norovirus outbreak at Hope College. Hope College officials informed the Health Department they had a database that contained all of the students email and tex messaging addresses. 3600 students were notified at once. Students were asked via text message to reply to an email detailing their symptoms and how long they were ill. The Health Department says in the end about 540 students responded. Officials say the information was crucial for determining a plan of action and slowing the spread of the virus. [Source...]
It should be noted that Grand Rapids Community College was the first college or university in West Michigan to offer emergency SMS text messages to students and employees. Years later, a temporary CIO for the college staffed by a consulting firm learned that the college had been doing this and called it "the stupidest thing I've ever heard of."
Fortunately the college did not take his advice to drop the text messaging service it offers (but instead has invested in a more robust system which now serves over 4,500 users).