This is a content holder for the one button emergency notification system.

Bears Together through Good Health Practices – A Message to Students

Friday 1/14/2022

Subject: Staying Together through Good Health Practices - A Message to Students
Sent on behalf of Chris Frazer,  Executive Director of The Wellness Center

 

Dear students,

As the start of the spring semester draws near, I wanted to provide some additional information related to ensuring the health and safety of our campus community.  Staying healthy during COVID is like dressing for winter: Many layers of protection keep us safe (and warm).

Getting boosted is the most important step you can take
BSU requires all students and employees who are physically on campus to get a booster. Coming into the spring semester, more than 96% of our campus was already fully vaccinated but, when you are eligible, getting boosted is the strongest level of protection currently available from the omicron variant of COVID. You can get boosted 5 months after your 2nd Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and 2 months after your J&J vaccine. Get boosted and then attest (or update your prior attestation) using this student attestation form

Masking is also critically important
As you know, BSU’s indoor mask mandate has been extended through at least March 4, 2022. With the high transmissibility of omicron, masking is critically important in helping to prevent the spread. Masks must cover both your mouth and nose to be effective.

BSU has tens of thousands of CDC-approved masks available at no cost to you. Masks can be found in classrooms, residence halls, the Wellness Center, RSU information desk, Maxwell Library, and offices across campus.

Practice good hygiene
These may seem obvious but sometimes we forget. Washing our hands with soap (or an alcohol-based gel if soap is unavailable) for 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth; and covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, preferably with your inner elbow or a tissue, are simple but effective steps we can easily take.

Please stay home when you’re sick
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are nasal congestion, dry cough, body aches, headache, fever, chills, and loss of taste or smell. If you have such symptoms, it’s best to stay home and get tested for COVID-19, especially if you’ve been a close contact to someone who tested positive. We encourage you to contact and work with your professors when you are sick and unable to attend class. For additional guidance on classroom attendance, please see guidance on classroom attendance, accommodation and flexibility.

How we isolate and quarantine is changing but is no less important
Just as staying home when you’re sick is important, following isolation and quarantine protocols also protects your colleagues. BSU’s isolation and quarantine protocols follow CDC guidelines.

Isolation: If you test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate for 5 days. You can return to campus on day 6 if you are:

  • Fever free
  • Asymptomatic or your symptoms are resolving

You must continue to wear a mask around others at all times for an additional 5 days.

If you are a residential student, you can return to your residence hall on day 6 if you test negative on a rapid antigen test taken at the Wellness Center or administered by a health care professional (not a home test).

Quarantine: If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are completely vaccinated (i.e., you are boosted OR completed the second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 5 months OR completed the one-dose J&J vaccine within the last 2 months), you need to:

  • Wear a mask around others at all times for 10 days
  • Test on day 5 if possible
  • Isolate if you develop symptoms or test positive

If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are not completely vaccinated (i.e., you are not boosted OR completed the second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine more than 5 months ago OR completed the one-dose J&J vaccine more than 2 months ago), you must:

  • Quarantine for 5 days
  • Continue to wear a mask around others at all times for 5 additional days
  • Test on day 5 if possible
  • Isolate if you develop symptoms or test positive 

If you are a residential student in quarantine who is not completely vaccinated or you are exempted, you will need to submit a negative PCR test after day 5 in order to return to on-campus housing.

For additional information, please see our isolation and quarantine protocols on the COVID-19 webpage.

We encourage you to test even if you don't live on campus or are fully vaccinated
We are encouraging all students to test regularly through the Wellness Center or by using home antigen tests. We will have testing available without an appointment in the Dunn Conference Suite every Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the semester from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. You can also schedule an appointment for Mondays and Thursdays throughout the semester by utilizing student testing sign up.

All exempted students are required to test every week throughout the semester. All resident students, regardless of vaccine/booster status, must test prior to move in and on January 25 or 26 and February 1 or 2.

Next week, on Friday, January 21, we will post the first dashboard of the semester. We anticipate high positivity rates in light of what we are seeing in Massachusetts, where the current 7-day positivity rate is 20.34%. It is also important to remember that the omicron variant has generally produced either no symptoms or mild symptoms. As we have done so successfully throughout the pandemic, providing opportunities for testing, effective contact tracing and isolation strategies will assist us in reducing the spread from positive cases.

We are all in this together
In wearing the public health “layers” we have shared, we are not only protecting ourselves but those around us. In everyone taking responsibility, we can ultimately control COVID-19 rather than the virus controlling us.

For the latest information on the university’s health and safety measures, please visit the COVID-19 Spring 22 webpage.

Stay well,

Chris Frazer, Psy.D.
Executive Director
The Wellness Center