COVID-19 Update: Guidance for the Holidays and Spring 2022 Semester

Dr. Emilio Carranco, Chief Medical Officer | December 8, 2021

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

As the fall 2021 semester comes to a close, I want to thank the Texas State community for helping us keep our campuses safe from COVID-19.  Our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have allowed us to complete another semester without any major disruption of education programs or university services.  As we head into the holidays, concerns remain for the possibility of another COVID-19 surge and the emergence of the Omicron variant.

COVID-19 Still Poses a Risk

After several weeks of decreasing case counts, positivity rates and hospitalizations, slight increases in some of these parameters were seen this past week in Texas.  CDC data also indicates that Texas is experiencing “substantial” transmission of COVID-19.  This means that the risk for exposure to COVID-19 remains significant.  Many infectious disease experts predict another COVID-19 surge after the holidays.

Omicron Variant is Raising Concerns

Early evidence from South Africa and the United Kingdom reveals that the new Omicron variant is very contagious and can spread rapidly.  While the severity of illness caused by Omicron appears to be mild, it is too early to know how it will impact all age groups.  The effectiveness of current vaccines against Omicron is under investigation.

Precautions Are Necessary During the Holiday Break

With the Delta variant still causing infections across Texas and the United States and the emergence of the Omicron variant, it is important that everyone continue to take precautions to prevent infection:

  • Get fully vaccinated—including a booster dose
  • Wear a face mask in crowded public indoor settings
  • Avoid high-risk activities such as going to a bar or concert, traveling by airplane/bus/train, or attending a crowded indoor social gathering
  • Stay home if sick and get tested if symptoms of COVID-19

Mitigation Strategies for the Spring 2022 Semester

COVID-19 will remain a concern during the spring 2022 semester.  The university plans to continue the mitigation strategies that have proven successful against COVID-19:

  • Vaccination
  • Wearing face masks when inside university buildings
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Reporting positive cases to Bobcat Trace
  • Contact tracing

Wearing Face Masks More Important Than Ever

The Delta variant continues to cause infections.  The Omicron variant has been reported in Texas and is even more contagious.  The flu is already circulating.  Wearing a face mask is a simple way to protect against infection with any of these respiratory pathogens.

Testing Before Returning to Campus

With medical experts predicting another COVID-19 surge and the emergence of the Omicron variant, it is important for all faculty, staff and students to get a COVID-19 test before returning to our campuses for the spring semester.  A significant percentage of infected persons, including vaccinated persons, will have no symptoms but still spread the infection.  On-campus COVID-19 testing sites will be closed during the holiday break, but testing will be available at community sites.  For free COVID-19 testing, check Curative Testing or TX COVID-19 Testing Sites.  Persons testing positive should isolate, identify close contacts and report to Bobcat Trace.

University Continues to Monitor COVID-19 Situation Closely

Texas State continues to monitor and assess the COVID-19 situation weekly.  Information on positive cases and positivity rates is reported in the  COVID-19 Dashboard weekly.  Faculty, staff and students should monitor their Texas State e-mail during the first week of January 2022 for an update on COVID-19 and any new guidance on returning to campus for the spring semester.

It Will Take All of Us to Stop COVID-19

COVID-19 is not going away.  We cannot become complacent.  We have the tools available to bring the pandemic to an end—but we need more people to use those tools.  It has been great having students back on our campuses.  We have proven that academic programs and co-curricular activities can continue during a pandemic with the appropriate prevention measures in place. 

I want to wish all a safe and healthy holiday season.  LET’S VACCINATE, TEST AND MASK UP TO STOP COVID-19!


Dr. Emilio Carranco
Chief Medical Officer
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
Director, Student Health Center