Health and Wellness Update: Dec. 7, 2021
As a community and as individuals we need to support our well-being. SHAW is a partner in your well-being and we encourage you to reach out to us. This newsletter includes a list of resources that may offer you additional support. If you are looking for information from a previous weekly update be sure to check the communications page of the COVID-19 Planning and Resources site.
On-Campus COVID-19 Updates
Grinnell College community members have worked diligently to create and maintain the best possible environment to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Our high vaccination rate and the tremendous partnership with students, faculty, and staff to maintain masking have resulted in very few cases and no detectable transmission. Masking, good hand hygiene, and staying home when ill continue to be effective at limiting the spread of all respiratory illnesses.
We remind our community of measures you can take to protect yourself, your colleagues, friends, peers, and family as we learn more about the new omicron variant of COVID-19 as well as entering the colder months with more time indoors and higher risk of respiratory infections including influenza.
- Get a COVID-19 Booster - The CDC has recently updated guidance to suggest anyone 18 or older to get a booster and we strongly urge community members to receive a booster dose as soon as possible.
- Student COVID-19 Booster Shot Clinic – Registration is full for this clinic. No walk-in appointments will be available. Friday, Dec. 10 from 1-4 p.m. at the Harris Center.
- Appointments are available through Hy-Vee and many health providers. Walk-ins are welcome at Wal-Mart and Walgreens. The College will continue to make COVID-19 time-off hours available for vaccine appointments or immune response from the vaccine.
- Get A Flu Shot - A yearly flu vaccine is the most important step in protecting against flu viruses and is required for students.
- Stay home if you are sick or test positive - Stay home if you are not feeling well or experiencing respiratory illness or COVID-19 symptoms and get a COVID test.
- Students experiencing symptoms are encouraged to utilize the walk-in testing clinic through SHAW as soon as possible. To review the guidelines, visit the faculty and staff experiencing symptoms page or the students with COVID-19 symptoms or exposures page.
- Faculty or staff that test positive must stay home in accordance with the isolation requirements outlined by their healthcare provider and follow campus protocols for positive cases or exposures.
- Wear a Mask - Wearing a mask can protect you and others from the flu and other airborne illnesses. We remain at a Modified Blue Activity Level on campus. Although our numbers continue to remain low, out of an abundance of caution, we have re-implemented our masking protocols (paused our relaxed masking protocol for now). Read the full message here.
Traveling Internationally over Winter Break?
- If you are traveling internationally during break, you will need to carry your vaccination record and should take time to research and plan pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements depending on the destination. This is especially true with the emerging news about the omicron variant and travel restrictions. Many destinations require evidence of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of boarding the flight – but check with your airline and home country consulate.
- Students whose travel plans are impacted by COVID-19 should contact residence life at 641-269-3700 or email Lauren Myers to arrange to stay on campus over winter break.
Test Iowa Holiday Courier Schedule
- Due to the limited holiday hours at the state hygienic lab, the college couriers will not deliver COVID-19 tests to Coralville on the following dates: Dec. 24 | Dec. 25 | Dec. 31 | Jan. 1
- Tests dropped off after 10:00 a.m. on Dec. 23 or Dec. 24 will not be delivered for an extended period of time and may be turned away by the lab. Please plan accordingly if you use this service.
COVID Testing During Winter Break
- SHAW will continue to offer walk-in rapid antigen COVID-19 testing over winter break from 12-1 pm for those that are mildly symptomatic. Those that have more severe symptoms should schedule an appointment with a SHAW nurse.
- Students who are fully vaccinated, non-symptomatic, and have not had a CDC defined close contact with a positive case should NOT test at the walk-in testing clinic. This can lead to false positives.
Need to Talk?
- SHAW has expanded its mental health services to now offer a 24/7 counseling hotline for Grinnell College students to have immediate access to counseling services call 641-269-4404
- Counseling services are available through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) (Employee and Family Resources) for faculty and staff by phone at 800-327-4692 or TTY: 877-542-6488.
In the News | Resources
- COVID Risk and Vaccine Tracker - Poweshiek County Area
- This test calculator can help us to better understand what test results mean in a number of different situations.
To Your Health,
Terry W. Mason, Ph.D.
Dean for Health and Wellness