Returning to College Campuses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

University of Houston-Clear Lake

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted colleges and universities spring 2020, forcing institutions of higher education (IHEs) to send students home, and shift to virtual learning. Now, more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities are returning to in-person classes and activities. However, the vulnerability of college students is more glaring now than ever due to the spread of misinformation, low vaccination rates, breakthrough infections, and increasing COVID-19 cases, which may potentially lead to a fourth wave. Below are a few ways students and IHEs can work collaboratively to stop the spread of COVID-19 while on campus.

What College Students Can Do

  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine. Per the Centers for Control and Prevention (CDC), full vaccination against COVID-19 prevents severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.1 
  • Wear a mask. CDC recommends that both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons continue to wear face masks  indoors. Although full COVID-19 vaccination may be required for students to return to campus at some colleges and universities, vaccinated and unvaccinated persons can still transmit the virus. 
  • Social distance at least six feet when possible, and wash hands frequently. For the protection of others, social distancing, when possible, should still be practiced to reduce exposure. Good hand hygiene can also help stop the spread.
  • Disinfect objects and shared spaces frequently. Consider carrying disinfect wipes to clean shared objects and surfaces that have the potential to be contaminated.
  • Watch for symptoms. If exhibiting adverse symptoms similar to COVID-19, it is important to get tested and quarantine as soon possible. 
University of Houston-Clear Lake

What Institutions of Higher Education Can Do

  • Offer and promote COVID-19 testing and vaccination. Colleges, universities, and IHEs can partner with Curative to provide a customized approach for on-site and mobile testing and/or vaccination clinics.
  • Develop educational messaging that builds confidence in vaccinations and testing. Consider using student athletes, student council members, staff, and other influencers as spokespersons to build trust and serve as COVID-19 ambassadors. Messaging may include, but is not limited to, best practices for correct mask wearing, how to maintain a healthy environment in shared spaces such as dorm rooms or computer labs, and respiratory etiquette. 
  • Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine. Per CDC, colleges and universities should support contact tracing and investigation as outlined in CDC’s Guidance for Case Investigation and Contact Tracing in IHEs.2 Contact tracing is an essential, long-term strategy to combat the spread of COVID-19.

For more information, visit curative.com or click here to book a COVID-19 vaccination or testing appointment.

Curative Inc. and its subsidiary, Curative Management Services LLC, engage with medical entities that provide vaccination services.

References

  1. Science Brief: COVID-19 Vaccines and Vaccination. (n.d.). Retrieved 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/fully-vaccinated-people.html
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Considerations for institutions of higher education (ihes). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/considerations.html
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