Health and Wellness Update: Dec. 13, 2021

Published:
December 13, 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.

Finals week can be a stressful time for many. We want you to know that there are a number of resources for you if you need support. 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

This article shares 7 Ways to Maintain Good Mental Health During Finals Week:

  1. Create a schedule
  2. Change up your study schedule and spaces
  3. Get a good night's sleep
  4. Use health study techniques
  5. Take breaks
  6. Keep things in perspective
  7. Be kind to yourself

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 a higher risk of respiratory infections including influenza.

  • Get a COVID-19 Booster - The CDC has recently updated guidance to suggest anyone 16 or older to get a booster and we strongly urge community members to receive a booster dose as soon as possible.
    • 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.
  • Wear a Mask - Wearing a mask can protect you and others from the flu and other air-borne illnesses.

COVID Vaccination Card Reminders

If you have lost your COVID-19 vaccination record card, contact your vaccination provider directly. You can also contact your state health department’s immunization information system (IIS).

If you have submitted documentation of your vaccine to SHAW, an official record can be supplied but a new card can NOT be issued by SHAW.

Students: If you do not have your card with you on campus you are encouraged to retrieve it over break or have it mailed to you. You will need your card with you when receiving your booster dose. Although proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required for most venues or events in Iowa, it is becoming increasingly common around the U.S. and internationally. Keeping your card with you will be helpful when traveling. Contact SHAW to get a protective sleeve for your card.

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.
  • Effective Dec. 6, all travelers entering the U.S., regardless of nationality, must present a negative test completed within one day of their flight’s departure. Non-U.S. citizens who are non-immigrants must present evidence of vaccination before departure. For more information, visit the CDC Required Testing before Air Travel to the U.S. page and the CDC Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers page.
  • Students whose travel plans are impacted by COVID-19 should contact residence life at 641-269-3700 or email Lauren Myers at myerslau@grinnell.edu 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.
  • To ensure the safety of our drivers this winter, deliveries may be delayed or canceled during periods of severe weather or dangerous road conditions.

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.

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.

The next Health and Wellness update will be Monday, January 24, 2022. Wishing you all a restful and restorative break!

To Your Health,

Terry W. Mason, Ph.D.

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