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Message to Faculty and Staff

Sept. 28, 2021

Good afternoon, 

With the start of the fall season upon us, the common cold and flu viruses, along with other respiratory illnesses, tend to be seen this time of year. Now is a good time to be especially vigilant in practicing healthy habits that will keep you from getting sick or spreading illness to others.  

Here are some ways to stay healthy and what to do if you feel sick.   

1. Get Vaccinated 

Since antibiotics do not work against viruses, it is important to get vaccinated against illnesses like the flu and COVID-19. Free COVID-19 vaccinations are still available in the Birkam Health Center for faculty, staff, students and household members age 16 and up. If you have not been vaccinated and would like to be, schedule an appointment at (231) 591-2614, Option 2, or you can visit www.vaccines.gov for area vaccination sites across the state. More information will be forthcoming soon about free flu shots for the campus community.  

Once you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, please document this in the symptom checker. The form is located directly under “COVID-19 Daily Check-in for Employees.” 

2.  Get Tested for COVID-19 

Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing (for those with NO symptoms) is currently available at the Pharmacy Care Clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 4:30 p.m., and on Wednesdays from 12 to 1:30 p.m. You can “Schedule an Asymptomatic COVID-19 test” right from the Coronavirus Updates Hub webpage, or testing is also available at Birkam Health Center, Monday through Friday, by appointment. Please call (231) 591-2614, Option 2, if you would like to schedule an appointment.  

Any faculty or staff experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (symptomatic) should contact their healthcare provider for testing and treatment options. Spectrum Health currently offers COVID-19 screening and testing. More information can be found on Spectrum Health’s website. You can also visit www.doineedacovid19test.com to find a drive-thru pharmacy test site near you. Or, you can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136, and press 2 for help finding a test site, or search online for a testing site near you.    

3.  Wear a Face Mask and Practice Good Hygiene 

Please wear a face mask indoors on campus and wash your hands often. Both of these actions can help prevent the spread of disease. When available, use warm water and soap to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol are a good alternative when water and soap are not available.  

4. Support Your Immune System 

Your immune system is impacted by everything you do, including what you eat, how much you sleep, your stress levels, etc. This means that eating regular and balanced meals, hydrating with lots of water, and getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night can help strengthen your body and immune system. When you are well-rested and well-nourished, you are more capable of fighting off infections. 

If you are feeling ill, please do the following: 

1. Stay Home 

If you are not feeling well, please stay home. Limiting your contact with other people can help reduce the spread of illness. It is important to protect each other from all illnesses, not just COVID-19. 

2. Inform Your Supervisor 

Inform your supervisor you are not feeling well and you will not be at work.  

3. Complete the Daily Symptom Checker 

When you complete the symptom checker, you will either receive a yellow, orange or red status.   

If your symptom checker shows a Yellow Status

You have indicated you are not feeling well and you have mild symptoms. You will be instructed to test for COVID-19. If you test positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days from symptom onset. If you test negative, you must stay home until your symptoms have resolved/you feel better. If you do not test for COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 10 days. 

You are not required to test for COVID-19, to submit your results, or to take a specific type of test to go back to work. However, you must self-isolate for 10 days unless you test negative and your symptoms have resolved.  

If you develop a fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, you should contact your healthcare provider for advice and isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.

If your symptom checker shows an Orange Status:  

You have reported you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. A close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period.

If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine unless you are feeling ill/develop symptoms. Please self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days.  

If you are a close contact and you are not fully vaccinated, you must quarantine for 10-14 days, even if you are not ill/do not have symptoms. A 14-day quarantine is the safest recommendation; however, if you never develop symptoms of COVID-19, you may return to work after 10 days symptom free. You are not required to show a negative test to return to work, but you must quarantine for at least 10 days (with no symptoms) and 14 days if you have developed symptoms.

It is important to remember you cannot test out of quarantine.   

If your symptom checker shows a Red Status:  

Human Resources will reach out to you. You will be instructed to stay home, to self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of your symptoms and until 24 hours after any fever has resolved (whichever comes later). 

You will not be required to test for COVID-19, to submit your results, or to take a specific type of test to go back to work. However, if you test negative for COVID-19, your isolation time may be  shorter than 10 days if your symptoms have resolved. 

If you test positive, you cannot test out of isolation. You must isolate for 10 days from the onset of your symptoms and until 24 hours after any fever has resolved (whichever comes later). 

4. Continue to Practice Self-care 

Drink warm liquids like tea to soothe a sore throat and stay hydrated, get extra rest to let your body recover and use over-the-counter remedies as appropriate to find relief. Call your healthcare provider for any additional advice.  

Your mental wellbeing is as important as your physical wellbeing. As many continue to cope with the anxiety and stress surrounding COVID-19, you can also take advantage of support services, such as TAO, a secure, private online library of interactive and engaging programs to help overcome anxiety, depression and other common mental health concerns. All employees also have access to the Employee Assistance Program, which provides no-cost, confidential, short-term counseling for you and your family.  

Thank you for staying informed and keeping our campus community healthy and safe.  As always, you can reach the Re-entry Committee at [email protected]  

-The FSU Re-entry Committee