With summer break coming up fast, now is the time to start talking to your family about summer plans: if you are planning to stay in Winona for the summer or if you are planning on returning home until fall semester. 

Current COVID-19 guidance still advises limiting unnecessary travel due to variants. Traveling frequently back and forth between campus and home is also discouraged.  

In addition, if you do not have a reason to be back on campus or in Winona after finals week, please consider spending the summer at home. 

If you do plan to return home for the summer,  here are four steps you should take to get ready for travel in addition to making a plan to safely return home.

 

1. Sign-Up to Get Notified About the Vaccine

Every Minnesotan 16+ is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. With the semester wrapping up in the next few weeks, you will likely receive an opportunity to get vaccinated in your home community this summer. 

If you are wondering how to stay up to date on the current vaccine distribution phase and want to be notified when it is your turn, we strongly encourage you to signup for one or more of the vaccine connector tools listed below. The sign-up process for each is simple and shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to complete. 

For more information on the different vaccine tools, check out the WSU COVID Vaccine Finder blog. 

Vaccinated?

If you have already received your vaccine, please fill out the self-report form.

2. Be Aware of COVID-19 Variants Around You

The fight against COVID-19 is not over. The virus has been around for over a year now which means we are starting to see more and more variants of the virus emerging.  

What is a Variant?  

A variant is a mutation of a virus. Viruses are constantly changing and undergoing mutation which over time produces new variants of the virus. Sometimes these variants emerge and disappear other times they emerge and persist. 

Variants of Concern  

There are several variants of the COVID-19 virus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring. Some of these variants are able to spread more easily and cause more severe illness.  It is crucial to keep masking up, backing up, and washing up all summer long. 

For current variant case numbers, check out the CDC’s Variant Cases in the US page. 

Stay up to date on current COVID-19 case numbers across the country by checking out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data TrackerWatch the caseloads in your home community and in the Winona Community. Also, check the WSU COVID-19 dashboard. 

3. Start Laying Low to Protect Those Around You

Laying low before and after traveling is especially important if you are returning to a home with others who have not been vaccinated.  

Laying low is similar to a small self-imposed quarantine. During this time, you’ll want to limit the interactions you have with others, the duration of those interactions, and the number of outings you take. 

If you have not yet been vaccinated, make sure to lay low and get tested before you go home to ensure you will have a COVID-free household. 

COVID-19 Testing Recommendations 

If you have not been vaccinated yet, the current recommendations are as follows: 

Get tested 1-3 days before traveling and again 3-5 days after you return. It is recommended to self-quarantine for a full 7 days upon your arrival. If you are currently not experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact, you will need to seek out asymptomatic testing options if you are not fully vaccinated. 

If you get tested at an off-campus location, please fill out the COVID-19 Self-Report form. 

Moving Out?

Remember to limit the size of your moving crew, wear masks required and follow safe travel guidance to ensure a safe move home. 

4. Continued to Follow COVID-19 Guidelines all Summer Long

It is important that students continue to follow COVID guidelines such as wearing a mask, staying 6 feet away, avoiding large gatherings and crowded spaces, and practicing proper hand hygiene. This will help to reduce the spread of these variants. 

Continue to: 

  • Mask up, back up, and wash up 
  • Stay home and get tested if you are ill 
  • Get vaccinated when an opportunity is made available to you 
  • Continue to telework from home if possible 
  • Self-report if you have been exposed to or have tested positive to COVID-19 OR if you have been vaccinated. 

 

WSU Health & Wellness Services is here for you all summer long with in-person and telehealth appointments. Check out our website to learn more about the services we offer and our updated summer hours. 

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Ashley Bader

Ashley is graduating in 2021 with a major in Public Health: Epidemiology and a minor in Statistics. Her interests include listening to music and spending time with her friends, family, and pets.

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