Cases on campus in the past several weeks have been stable. Vaccination and mask-wearing has helped get us to a place where we have begun to worry less about COVID. While that’s good news, the pandemic is not over and COVID-19 remains a concern. Many of us are looking forward to the fall and winter holidays and to spending time with family and friends again.
We want to make sure that you and your family stay healthy at this festive time and we need your help to keep our entire campus community safe and healthy.
Food for Thought!
If you are getting ready to visit with family and friends for the holiday, please keep some things in mind:
- Being fully vaccinated reduces the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 and, most importantly, getting seriously ill from the virus, so now would be a good time to consider getting vaccinated if you haven’t yet. You should encourage your friends and family to do so as well. The new bivalent booster is available to everyone aged 5 years and up, regardless if you’ve had a previous booster or not!
- Last year we saw a dramatic increase in cases in New Jersey after the fall and winter holidays. This year we have new vaccines, designed to protect us against the latest variants, to help keep these numbers lower, but we still need to be careful.
- Remember that healthy people can and do contract and transmit COVID-19. This is true even if you are not showing any symptoms or if you have mild symptoms.
If you are going to a place where you have not been living, and you will be with people you have not already been living or socializing with (this includes your parents and grandparents) you’ll want to think about ways to protect them, BEFORE you head home.
Things You Can Do
As you prepare to visit, here are four things YOU can do ahead of time, to keep ALL of you safer:
- NOW is the time to be even more vigilant with proper mask wearing, especially when indoors. Remember, wearing a mask properly means over the nose AND under the chin! When possible, gather in spaces that are well ventilated or choose to gather outdoors. Also, remember that high quality KN95/N95 masks are the gold standard for protection, so choose those when you can.
- Take a COVID-19 test before gathering with family and friends.
- If you haven’t had a flu shot yet, get one!
- Plan Safe Travel: Whether you are traveling by plane, car or some other means of transportation, it is important to follow CDC guidance and plan your trip carefully and consider wearing a mask while traveling, even if your carrier doesn’t require it.
- YOU can be COVID-positive and pass the virus along to someone else, even if you are not experiencing symptoms yet or at all.
- Even if you recently had COVID, you can get reinfected, even within a few weeks. Don’t mistake prior infection for protection! You can read more about testing for Covid-19 by reading CDC guidance.
- The people you are visiting may be at greater risk of COVID and of COVID-related complications than you. TAKE GOOD CARE OF THEM!
Before We Return
After the holidays and before you come back to campus…
- Consider getting a COVID-19 test and be extra careful while awaiting your results. Remain home if you feel sick.
- Remember to do HawkCheck before returning to campus!
- Consider getting the bivalent booster to protect yourself and wearing a mask, when indoors, when you return to campus.
Have a happy and healthy holiday!
Montclair State University Community Health Advisory Team