July 16, 2021 - COVID-19 Weekly Update
Dear Current and Incoming Students, Faculty and Staff:
We have learned a great deal as an institution these last 18 months as we have reacted and adapted to COVID-19. At the same time, as we approach the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, we have done so with cautious optimism and with the guidance of public health agencies and the University System of Georgia.
Recent news of the spread of the Delta variant risks disrupting that cautious optimism, which is why the COVID-19 Response Team offers these recommendations in mitigating the effects of COVID-19 — no matter the strain — on Columbus State University.
Just as sunscreen prevents a sunburn, being vaccinated is the most effective means of avoiding COVID-19 infection and serious illness. Admittedly, it is not 100% effective (no vaccination is), but prevention is key. Remember that CSU is hosting summer mobile vaccination clinics scheduled around ROAR new-student orientation sessions in addition to other opportunities in our community to get vaccinated.
Keep a Mask Handy
Just as sunglasses are a beach necessity, wearing a face mask remains a necessity for those who are unvaccinated. A mask may also provide those fully vaccinated with an extra layer of protection and peace of mind. Some students and employees among us may continue to wear a mask, and even physically distance themselves in classrooms or during meetings. Be supportive in those situations by not calling out or shunning those who still opt to wear a face covering.
Monitor Your Symptoms
After several weeks of low or no COVID-19 activity on campus, CSU had as of Monday, July 12 four active positive cases of COVID-19 and four individuals being monitored for active exposures or symptoms.
The most important aspect of the Delta variant is understanding it presents a different set of symptoms than the initial strain of COVID-19. Delta presents itself like a summer cold or seasonal allergies, including a headache, runny nose, sneezing, and sore throat — and absent the highly publicized loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath and persistent cough associated with the initial COVID-19 outbreak.
If these symptoms appear, you should self-report, get tested and stay home and away from others — even if you are fully vaccinated. An early and aggressive response to suspicious symptoms remains a top defense to a potential spread on campus. University policy does allow instructors to dismiss students from class or supervisors to dismiss employees from work if illness threatens the health of those around them. If a class is not meeting in person due to an outbreak, instruction and learning will continue virtually as approved by the provost. For employees affected by an outbreak, work will also continue remotely as approved by Human Resources.
The COVID-19 Response Team continues to receive guidance from the University System of Georgia regarding public health practices on USG campuses, and we will share that guidance with you in real time as we all remain focused on the fall semester and our continued good health. If you have questions regarding these or past updates, please share those with the COVID-19 Response Team.
Shana Young and Julio Llanos, Co-Chairs
COVID-19 Response Team