Spring break is looked forward to the minute students return to campus from winter break. Free from stacks of assignments and the stress of exams, most students plan to get as far away from campus as possible. While students are leaving the Midwest cold to the warm sandy beaches of the Caribbean and Mexico, it is still a good reminder that COVID still exists.
The CDC warned that the Omicron variant is still at large with the potential possibility of new variants to occur, especially with the surge of spring break. While most airports require masks to be worn, there is a good chance that students will abandon them once they arrive at their destination. By still wearing a mask when students go out in public is a great way to make sure that students prevent the spread of the virus while preventing new variants from popping up.
Most students travel with a group of friends over spring break. Having everyone get tested before leaving for your destination ensures that no one can contract the virus. When students arrive at their destination, check to see what the city’s guidelines are for COVID and if they have any set policies in place. Students should not skirt around the policies and follow them to the fullest extent to keep themselves and other travelers safe.
To encourage students to stay safe over spring break, Student Health Services is offering two rapid covid test kits to the first 500 people available to be taken both before departing for spring break and before they return to campus. Instructions on how to perform the test are included in each kit.
One of the best ways to prevent spreading the virus is to make sure that you are fully vaccinated, including a booster shot, if applicable. Minnesota State University, Mankato is still requiring students who live on campus to either be fully vaccinated or do weekly testings to further prevent the spread of COVID. Student Health Services also frequently hosts vaccine clinics for students in the Carkoski Commons.
Students over break should still follow the CDC guidelines in regards to wearing masks and monitoring their symptoms. If possible, students should arrive home a day or two after traveling to monitor their symptoms. If they are experiencing COVID symptoms, it would be highly recommended to quarantine for five days before returning to campus.
It may seem like the amount of guidelines set in place can be a mood killer, especially after the last few years of uncertainty and delayed vacation plans. Students are still able to enjoy themselves and have fun over spring break, but by simply following the guidelines, they can reduce the spread of COVID and its variants.
Having students follow proper COVID procedures over break will not only ensure the safety on campus upon student’s return, but get society back on track to its pre-COVID ways.
(Sergei Ivanov/Associated Press)