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Columbus State University

September 1, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates: Report Early, Report Often

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

By now, we've all grasped the concept and benefits of "wearing is caring" - so much so that Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson has complimented CSU's efforts on several occasions. So, today, we want to add a new slogan to our daily reminders: "report early and report often."

COVID-19 spans many different symptoms - symptoms that can easily be passed off as a summer cold, allergies, and the like. It's important that we not just recognize the symptoms, but that we report symptoms early and report them as often as they arise. This will significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading on campus and throughout the community.

It's easy to come up with excuses why not to, like the following:

It's just a runny nose. I don't feel that bad at all.

For some, COVID-19 may just be a runny nose. COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have reported a wide range of symptoms - from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Reporting your symptoms early, no matter how mild or severe, could help dozens of people avoid unnecessary exposure.

People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; and/or diarrhea.

I'll just give it a few days - it will pass.

In the span of just a couple of days, you may encounter - and possibly infect - dozens of classmates, coworkers and other members of the CSU community. Socializing in large groups, dining on campus, riding in shuttles, and visiting with other campus residents could multiply the potential spread exponentially.

I'll just ride it out at home. I don't want everyone knowing my business and that I might be sick.

It's important if you're sick that you're tested so CSU can inform others who might have been exposed to you while you were contagious. That begins with completing the online self-reporting form, so a COVID-19 Response Team member can privately help evaluate your symptoms and direct you to a testing option. For students, the Student Health Center can arrange for testing - and it's free.

CSU's COVID-19 Response Team members agree to adhere to the strictest confidentiality. That includes information protected by FERPA and HIPPA laws and regulations. Faculty and an employee's supervisor receive only the most basic information as it pertains to your absence from class or work.

Even if you test negative, our team members can notify your instructors or supervisor about your absence, guide and support as you await your results, and provide you with the documentation required to return to class or work once your symptoms clear. There are provisions in place for both students and employees so your grades or sick leave are not penalized due to your absence.

The process sounds like a lot of trouble.

We are all sacrificing during this pandemic, and the time you take to report your symptoms will help ensure the health and safety of every CSU Cougar. That's why, once you complete our online self-reporting form, our team will guide you through every step - even if you find yourself completing more than one report this semester. Think of "report early, report often" as CSU's version of "rather being safe than sorry."

The process sounds pretty scary.

Anything new can sound scary, which is why we've created some online resources to walk you through the work of our COVID-19 Response Team. You can find out more at https://www.columbusstate.edu/covid-response/covid-19-response-team.php.

Your commitment to reporting early and reporting often - along with wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distancing, and washing your hands - is essential to sustaining a safe and healthy campus. Through your diligence, our campus remains at eight active cases as of yesterday. This includes two students who have isolated themselves on campus, with the remainder isolated at their residence.

So, please do your part to show that #CougarsCare for each other, our campus and the entire Columbus community.

Sincerely,

Dr. Chip Reese
Chair, Return-to-Campus Task Force and Associate Vice President, Student Affairs

Vicki Roebuck, APRN, WHNP-Board Certified
Return-to-Campus Task Force and Director, Student Health Center