COVID-19: Important Update
Dr. Emilio Carranco, Chief Medical Officer | August 23, 2021
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
As we approach the beginning of the fall semester, we find ourselves facing a significant challenge. COVID-19 is surging and causing increased case counts and hospitalizations. Students are returning to campus and their excitement about an in-person learning experience is obvious. We are happy that students are back on our campuses but if the university’s health and safety guidelines are not followed—especially wearing a face mask indoors—then the in-person learning experience may be short-lived.
Wearing Face Masks is How We Stay In-Person
Research has shown that wearing a face mask can significantly reduce your risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. Until more people get vaccinated, wearing a face mask is the most effective safety measure available—and it begins protecting you immediately! TEXAS STATE CANNOT MANDATE WEARING FACE MASKS, BUT IF WE WANT TO CONTINUE IN-PERSON LEARNING AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, WEARING FACE MASKS IN OUR CLASSROOMS AND ALL OTHER INDOOR AREAS WILL BE IMPORTANT.
Vaccination Will Help Keep You Out of the Hospital
With over 360 million doses of vaccines administered, the data clearly show that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and their benefits far outweigh any risks. No long-term side-effects have been documented with the COVID-19 vaccines. The currently authorized vaccines are still highly effective in preventing serious disease, hospitalization, and death—even against the Delta variant. The CDC recently reported that 97% of those hospitalized and 99.5% of those dying are unvaccinated persons.
Vaccination is strongly encouraged. Vaccinations are available at the Student Health Center, Monday-Friday. Call 512-245-2161 to make an appointment. Vaccinations will also be available at outreach events throughout the semester. For more information about vaccinations at Texas State, check TXST COVID-19 Vaccination Information.
COVID-19 Testing to Find Silent Infections
It is estimated that 40% of COVID-19 infected persons are asymptomatic and can spread infection without knowing it—often to family and friends. Because breakthrough infections are occurring in vaccinated persons, periodic testing for COVID-19 is recommended for persons regardless of vaccination status. It is recommended that everyone, especially those who are unvaccinated, test for COVID-19 every two weeks throughout the semester. Please check TXST COVID-19 Testing for information on free COVID-19 testing on or near our campuses.
Reporting to Bobcat Trace to Prevent Spread of Infection
Please report to Bobcat Trace as soon as possible if you test positive for COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on isolation. Texas State has trained contact tracers who will contact you, provide additional guidance on isolation procedures and identify close contacts that need to be alerted to quarantine. Contact tracing is vital to our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses.
Stay Home If Sick
During this pandemic, it is important to do a Daily Self-Assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 such as runny nose, sore throat, headache, fever, body aches, fatigue, loss of taste and smell, cough, shortness of breath, or nausea/vomiting.
Because the Delta variant can present like a cold or allergies, it is important to stay home and get tested for COVID-19.
We Must Do Our Part to Succeed This Fall Semester
COVID-19 continues to challenge us as we prepare for the fall semester. We are excited to have our students back on campus for in-person learning. HOWEVER, IF WE DO NOT WEAR FACE MASKS IN THE CLASSROOM AND OTHER INDOOR AREAS, IT IS UNLIKELY THAT THE IN-PERSON EXPERIENCE CAN BE SUSTAINED FOR LONG. It will take everyone’s commitment to follow the Texas State Health & Safety Guidelines for us to be successful this fall. So, MASK UP AND VACCINATE FOR TEXAS STATE!
Dr. Emilio Carranco
Chief Medical Officer
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
Director, Student Health Center