fall on campus

Welcome to fall semester 2023! (Viruses, this does not mean you)

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, Campus Public Health Officer
Welcome or not, many of the illnesses we see in fall and winter are respiratory viruses. These include flu (influenza), RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and COVID-19.

What can I do to avoid getting sick?
  1. Get vaccinated if you are able. Now through October is optimal. As new vaccines come on the market this fall and winter, we will keep you updated on their safety and efficacy.
  2. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly (20+ seconds) with soap and warm water. If you don’t have access to those, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  3. Be nice to your immune system. The CDC recommends six ways to help improve your immunity.
  4. You can track frequency of COVID-19 in the state through the Minnesota Department of Health. If the incidence is high, consider additional indoor precautions, like masking, maintaining six feet of social distance, and avoiding crowded or poorly ventilated spaces.

What should I do if I get sick?

  1. Early treatment can be important, so get tested. Besides testing in a clinic, you can:
    • Order free, at-home COVID tests to have on hand or request one from the front desk of your residence hall (while supplies last).
    • Purchase up to eight antigen tests at Boynton Pharmacy that are covered by insurance.
  2. If you test positive for COVID-19, you can receive free treatment via the Minnesota Department of Health. Boynton has Urgent Care and Gopher Quick clinic appointments if you have symptoms and need to be seen quickly.
  3. Stay home if you can. Get plenty of rest. See the COVID absence policy for students or employees.
  4. Stay hydrated while avoiding drinks with sugar, caffeine or alcohol.
  5. Cover your coughs and sneezes (yes, the CDC has recommendations about this). Wearing a well-fitting, multi-layered mask is still a good way to do this.

Follow these tips and visit the Safe Campus Health Services website for more information, including links to COVID-19 news and guidance. 

I hope your fall semester is off to a great start and that you stay healthy so you can enjoy everything our University of Minnesota community offers!

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