Grads Told To Keep Hands to Themselves

University nixes traditional congratulatory handshake to avoid flu spread

When thousands of University of Illinois at Chicago students cross the stage for their diplomas this week, it'll be without a handshake.

"...We have decided for everyone’s protection to forgo the traditional congratulatory handshakes as you come forward to be recognized," officials told students in a statement on the school's commencement Web site.

It is not known if fist bumps were considered as an alternative.

The state said Thursday that there are now 225 confirmed cases of swine flu, with only 20 others listed as probable.

"We just want to make sure this is a totally enjoyable and safe experience for not only our graduates, but their families and friends," Mark Rosati, UIC Chancellor for Public Affairs told WBBM-TV.

Additionally, the university is asking anyone with flu symptoms to stay away; students and family members.

"These precautions do not diminish the excitement of this occasion or the tremendous accomplishments you have achieved as students. The university community looks forward to celebrating with you over the next several days," officials explained.

Similar alterations are expected at commencement ceremonies across the country.

One of Illinois' recently confirmed cases of swine flu is an inmate at Cook County Jail.  He started coming down with symptoms Sunday and was isolated from other prisoners. There had been no others sickened as of Thursday morning.

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