by Juliana Kahrs, COVID-19 response project coordinator and assistant director of health promotion
The pandemic isn’t over just because you’re over it. Let’s work hard to stay on campus and avoid sitting in too many Zoom meetings. Take steps now to keep yourself, your friends and your campus community safe and open. Follow these tips to prepare for your return to campus:
- Cover your face: It’s not that we don’t want to see your face, but we know face coverings are one of the best ways to prevent the spread. Wear everywhere and change/wash daily.
- Get tested: Your immune system can’t text you how it’s feeling, and you may not always show symptoms. The virus incubation period is about five to seven days, but it can be up to 14. Get tested if you have even one symptom or if you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive. Download the MyPrevea app to schedule a time for free testing. If you are living on campus, you will be asked to get tested upon move-in. Don’t delay! Submit Positive COVID-19 Test Results.
- Have the talk (with your roommates): How are you going to keep each other safe? Anyone who spends time in your living space may be a close contact for you AND your room/housemates.
- Small gatherings with friends. Cliques are in. Keep your social circle small. The more closely and longer you interact with others, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. One positive person at a party can infect many.
- Get connected. Download the UWO Mobile App. From here, you can access the self–assessment, testing information, and many answers to your questions. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the UWO Covid Hotline at (920) 424-2019.
- Pack your ‘go bag’: Be prepared for the need to isolate or quarantine (separate housing available on campus). Have a bag packed, and consider including these items: hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol); disinfectant wipes; fluids like tea, water, juice and sports drink mix; food staples like rice, oatmeal, chicken soup, peanut butter and crackers; thermometer; disposable gloves; salt for saltwater gargling (in case of sore throat); acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fever and aches; pseudoephedrine (Sudafed—the kind you have to ask for at the pharmacy counter, not Sudafed PE) for nasal congestion; two-week supply of chronic medication; and face covering(s).
- Check yourself: Take the self-assessment every day before attending class, work, or other in-person campus activity. Stay home if you are sick or had close contact with a positive individual. Awaiting test results? Here are your next steps.
(And if you live on campus, you will be asked to isolate or quarantine in a different location either on campus or at home.)
- Answer the call: If you are identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive, UWO/public health contact tracers will be calling you. Answer the phone and follow their guidance, even if you don’t have symptoms.
- Make a commitment: To keep yourself and the Titan community safe. We encourage all students and employees to read and agree to the Titan Safety Promise. We all want to stay on campus this year. Watch for more information about the safety promise.
- Plan ahead. Look up those offices and services you might need on campus to determine if their hours and/or offerings have been impacted by COVID-19. If you are required to isolate or quarantine, how will you adjust?
- Take care: Your mental and emotional health is just as important as your physical health. Make time for self-care. Student Recreation and Wellness is open, and virtual appointments are available through the Counseling Center.
- What if? If you do test positive or are exposed, is your family comfortable with you coming home until you can return to in-person campus activities? Are there any high-risk individuals at home to consider? Remember that isolation and quarantine housing are available on campus! Check the Titans Return page for student COVID-19 information related to positive cases and close contacts.