Mark Parisi, director of counseling and health services, sent the following weekly COVID-19 update to students today (March 31, 2021). This message is being sent early due to pressing information about vaccination eligibility and the upcoming break (the College is closed April 2 and April 5).
The big news this week is that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all New Yorkers 16 years of age and older will be eligible to get the vaccine starting Tuesday, April 6. Remember to sign up on the New York DOH webpage or through Albany County beginning April 6. And keep in mind the following:
• If you are under 18 years of age you are only able to be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, so be sure to check which vaccine the site is providing.
• If you are 18 years of age or older, you can receive the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
• The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are a two-dose vaccine and you will be required to return to the same vaccination center within the timeframe specified by that center to receive the second dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose.
• At this time, New York State has not clarified whether out-of-state students are eligible for the vaccine. For the time being, we believe only students who are permanent New York State residents are considered eligible to receive the vaccine here. We recommend out-of-state students stay informed about eligibility in their home state and seek the vaccine there when available.
For now, New York State has not mandated that college students must have this vaccine in order to come to campus. That said, as the country strives to achieve herd immunity, we encourage all eligible students to get the vaccine.
Because the College will be closed on Friday, when I normally send my weekly update, I am providing statistics today. So far this week, 7 students and 1 employee reported previous positive COVID-19 test results or tested positive, bringing our total of cases for the spring semester to 140. We currently have 10 cases that are considered active. Please note that the semester total includes test results from some time ago that have been self-reported since the start of the semester. They are not always recent or active cases. As a reminder, you can find the tally of positive COVID-19 cases on campus by viewing our COVID-19 Dashboard. It will be updated as new cases are reported.
Easter break and travel: Many are looking forward to the Easter break at the end of this week, which grants us a long weekend by way of this Friday (April 2) and next Monday (April 5) being a holiday from classes. The CDC is still discouraging unnecessary travel in order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. If you do plan to travel, please continue to follow the CDC travel guidelines for maximizing public health noted here. In addition, be mindful of the changes to the NYS travel guidelines that will take effect April 1.
Support groups: The Counseling and Psychological Services Center is offering four pandemic support groups and a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) support group. If you are interested in joining one of the groups or just have questions, please call our center at 518.454.5200 or email us at email@example.com.
COVID-19 vaccine: It is important to be vigilant regarding scams being perpetrated around COVID-19 vaccination. Given the current issue with the limited supply of available vaccines, scammers are taking advantage and advertising fraudulent offers to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in an effort to steal personal information and/or collect money. Beware of these scams. To learn more about all types of COVID-19 related fraud, see the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services webpage. To find the most current information on the status of legitimate COVID-19 vaccine availability in New York. See vaccine updates.
Reporting positive COVID-19 results: Please remember, we are asking all students who seek off-campus COVID-19 testing and receive a POSITIVE result to email your test result to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporting possible exposure: Please remember if you have been exposed to anyone that has tested positive for COVID-19 or you suspect you may have been exposed but are unsure, contact Health Services at 518.454.5244 or email email@example.com to notify the College and discuss your particular situation so we can best advise you on how to proceed. Remember, this directive applies whether the positive case is affiliated with Saint Rose or not.
Sample testing: The surveillance testing is conducted using a non-invasive technique involving a saliva sample. You will be tested multiple times this semester and even if you have been vaccinated, you are required to test. We do not know enough about the vaccine to know if you could be a carrier and transmit the virus to others. You do not need to contact Health Services for this. They will reach out on Thursdays to those who have been randomly selected via email. If you are having COVID-19 testing done, be sure to not drink or eat anything a half hour before your testing appointment. If you cannot make testing times, we ask that you email firstname.lastname@example.org. If your plans have changed and you are no longer attending in-person classes or coming to campus for any reason, we ask that you notify us by emailing email@example.com.
Questions about quarantine: We’ve had some questions from students about quarantine recently, and this is a reminder that the information can be found on the restart website under “What happens when you are asked to quarantine?” To answer the most common question: If a student is told to quarantine because they violated the guest or COVID policies, this quarantine must be done off-campus. If a student is not able to go home to quarantine, the Office of Residence Life will work to make arrangements for the student to complete the quarantine in a local hotel and the cost will be billed to the student’s College account. Any student who is exposed, through no fault of their own, will be provided with quarantine housing on-campus or at a local hotel which will be covered by the College in accordance with NYS guidance.
CDC guidance on mask use: The CDC provides guidance on how using two masks or tying the ear loops on disposable surgical masks can help maximize the effectiveness of the masks in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. They believe this may be especially helpful in protecting people from transmitting the new variants of COVID-19, which appear to be more contagious. Please read their information carefully as they do not direct people to use any two masks together but only certain combinations. Here is a video demonstrating how to tie the ear loops. As for Saint Rose, you are not required to wear two masks, but you must continue to wear at least one mask in order to comply with our COVID-19 policies.
A common question: If I’m vaccinated do I need to wear a mask? The answer is yes. The Saint Rose mask policy has not changed and applies to everyone on campus including those who may have already received one or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, individuals who have been vaccinated are still required to participate in our surveillance testing.
Daily Symptoms Tracker: Remember to complete the Symptoms Tracker form that appears on your To-Do list in the Navigate app every day.
Treatment at Health Services: For any non-urgent medical issue, students can call 518.454.5244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance, and their cases will be triaged by our LPN or nurse practitioners. Based on the presenting concerns, the triage outcome may lead to a telehealth or in-person appointment with the nurse practitioner.
Treatment at the Counseling and Psychological Services Center: Students may be experiencing emotional distress in response to the impact of the pandemic on their daily lives. Please call our center at 518.454.5200 or email us at email@example.com to speak with a counselor through a phone or Zoom session.
More COVID-19 information: You can find the most current COVID-19 information on the CDC’s COVID-19 webpage. You can always call the New York State Department of Health Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 888.364.3065 and ask any question you have regarding COVID-19.
You can view COVID-19 data for the Capital Region (and by county) on the New York State Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard.
New York State has put out a new COVID-19 contact tracing app that you can download to your phone. This app will be used to help notify you if you have been in close contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19.
As always, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact the College’s Health Services at 518.454.5244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Counseling and Health Services