Campus ready to take on Omicron

With COVID impacting Minnesota State University, Mankato since March of 2020, the university has taken numerous measures to keep students on track and learning.

The newer Omicron variant has been spreading quickly in the state of Minnesota, similar to when COVID first started.

This time around, however, MSU staff and students are more prepared having the COVID vaccine now available for all ages as well as mask mandates and social distancing requirements.

“When COVID first started we had no idea how to treat it and we didn’t jump right into the masking. Now we do know how to prevent spread like masking, vaccination, and social distancing,” said Tammy Neiman, Associate Professor a part of the School of Nursing College of Allied Health and Nursing. “We know how to prevent it and take care of it but recently looking at the data, our spike now is very similar to when COVID first started as this variant spreads so much easier.”

Nieman is also an active nurse taking on about three shifts a month at a hospital in Woodbury.

Understanding how people can protect themselves from COVID is a huge factor that many are curious about.

“Vaccines give our body an idea of what the disease is and lets our body know what we are trying to protect ourselves against. No vaccines are 100% and the point is so that if we do catch it our body can kick into gear right away. As for boosters our immunity may wane after a while and so we need a little extra kick and remind it to fight against a certain thing just like the flu shots we get every year.”

As far as campus support, Student Health Services has stepped up being at the forefront in battling COVID and meeting with the Minnesota Department of Health one on one regularly.

“There was no COVID case manager two years ago, and since then there is definitely a lot the university and administration has done to help control the spread,” Wendy Schuh, Director of Student Health Services and Assistant Professor of the Department of Health Science, said.

Having the resources on campus is a huge asset to students and staff if they find themselves needing healthcare support.

“We are trying to provide opportunities for people to protect themselves as much as possible which includes education of the vaccine, there can be a lot of misinformation out there so having accurate information is very important as well as having vaccines available for them if they want it,” said Schuh.

The university has offered many resources through Student Health Services such as free COVID testing, offering vaccines, and having a covid hotline to name a few.

Student Health Services offers both a COVID reporting hotline and healthcare hotline as well as equipped with other healthcare resources like flu shots.

Header Photo: Majoring in healthcare is quite popular among students at MSU. The Clinical Science building is one of the newer buildings at MSU.(Maddie Behrens/The Reporter)

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