COVID-19 safety protocol for spring 2022

MSU students will be following the same COVID-19 safety protocols for the spring semester as they did for the fall semester. Wearing a mask, washing hands, social distancing and getting vaccinated are all suggested to aid in preventing the spread of COVID-19. When the pandemic started almost two years ago, most universities across the country switched to online learning, as did MSU. Since then, MSU has gradually transitioned back into in-person classes. Over the last couple of years, the university has come up with different ways to keep students and faculty safe, such as providing vaccinations at the Vinson Health Center. Students who want one can set up an appointment.

The on-campus Vinson Health Center offers students the opportunity to receive the vaccine or booster, and can be contacted at 940-397-4231 to arrange an appointment,” wrote James Johnston, interim president, in the MSU Student Postmaster email service.

Dr. Keith Williamson, medical director for the MSU Vinson Health Center, strongly encourages students to get vaccinated. He wants to ensure students that the vaccine is safe, effective and the best way for students to keep themselves and their peers safe.

“I am absolutely in support of the vaccines. They are incontrovertibly safe and effective and yes, students should get vaccinated, and if they’re eligible for it, they should get boosted so that they’re up to date with their COVID vaccine,” Williamson said.

Williamson said there is plenty of data on the vaccine and its effectiveness. The natural immunity that people get from having COVID-19 can be uncertain so Williamson wants students to know that their best option is to get vaccinated.

“The vaccine is well studied, thoroughly. I mean [there are] bucket loads of information on it and we know how effective it is. Immunization, the natural immunity you get from having the disease, has so far been a little bit elusive, we can’t quantify it like we can the vaccine. The vaccine is clearly effective, clearly safe and has the desired effect of limiting the hospitalization and death. Natural immunity, unpredictable, unpredictable. So even if you’ve had the disease, get vaccinated,” Williamson said.

According to the MSU Student Postmaster, vaccines are not mandatory, but MSU does strongly recommend students get vaccinated to mitigate the spread of the virus. Other ways students can practice COVID-19 safety are by wearing a mask and washing their hands.

“We strongly recommend wearing a mask when around others and indoors, especially during the first 2-3 weeks of classes and during the peak activity of this variant. The wearing of masks while in public indoor settings and frequently washing your hands has proven to be effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Johnston wrote in an MSU Student Postmaster email.

MSU has protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID but also has protocols in case students suspect they may have been exposed to the illness. If a student feels sick, they should not attend class until they have received a negative COVID test result. They should also fill out a COVID self-report form that can be found by clicking on the blue link labeled “COVID-19 Updates” at the top of the MSU Texas homepage. Kristi Schulte, director of residence life and housing, has a team dedicated to helping students while they quarantine.

“On campus, our quarantine protocols would be that a student who is exposed to COVID would submit the self-report form, the COVID self-reporting form, through campus. Then our office is notified and then they would quarantine in their room. Quarantine indicates that they’ve not tested positive so a student would stay in their room until they’ve received test results that indicate whether they’re positive or negative. Our office reaches out to them once we receive the self-report form and we explain to the student how long they need to quarantine and we also make arrangements for students who need us to deliver meals,” Schulte said.

Schulte said that her team takes on a number of different roles while helping students in quarantine. Things like delivering mail, packages and grocery orders to students are just a few of the things Schulte’s team does for students. Schulte said that it is up to us as individuals to keep each other safe.

“This is a public health matter and so as a public health matter, we really depend on the decisions of every individual to keep the entire community safe. So with that, I think that it’s important for students and faculty and staff to be mindful of those precautions,” Schulte said.