Taking Care in the Final Stretch
The following message about taking care during Memorial Day Weekend while COVID-19 transmission remains relatively high, was sent to the Drexel community:
- As commencement approaches and COVID-19 transmission remains relatively high, please continue to pay special attention to your well-being so we can finish the year strong. That includes following Drexel public health guidelines:
- Wearing a well-fitting mask in all "masks required" settings as well as in "masks recommended" spaces where possible.
- Monitor your health. If you feel ill or are exposed, please stay home and get tested.
- Make use of rapid at-home tests when you can't get to a Drexel testing site.
- Stay up-to-date on your boosters.
- Engage in outdoor activities and events where possible.
- In addition, please look out for your whole health and well-being. Stay connected and make use of the University's counseling resources where necessary.
Dear Drexel Students and Colleagues,
The next week or two is a time of great anticipation for all of us as we approach the end of the spring quarter, final exams and our college/school and university-wide commencement ceremonies on June 8 and 9. There are many special year-end events and celebrations across the University, showcasing the accomplishments of our talented community. We want you to be able to enjoy these occasions to the fullest, while managing stress well and avoiding COVID-19 — and we want the same to be true for your friends and families. For that reason, we need to continue to take care over Memorial Day weekend and the remainder of this home stretch to keep ourselves as safe and healthy as possible.
Understanding the situation
We're currently experiencing a different kind of COVID surge with the latest Omicron subvariant. Thankfully, staying up-to-date with vaccination which includes booster doses asoutlined by the CDCstill prevents severe illness and hospitalization among most people. However, this version of Omicron is more contagious than any prior variants and more "immune-evasive," which means vaccination may not easily prevent infection as it did against earlier viral variants. While serious disease remains unlikely among vaccinated and boosted community members, even those who aren't hospitalized can have an unpleasant time (fever, chills, muscle aches, congestion, cough), and some who've had COVID earlier during the pandemic can get sick again. All infected persons must still followDrexel isolation guidance. The pandemic is in a transition as is our relationship with it. We recommend reading the Your Local Epidemiologistblog for an accessible discussion of the state of COVID and public health.
The bottom line is that it remains important — to you and to others — to still take sensible precautions.
While Philadelphia is unlikely to implement another indoor maskmandate, COVID transmission is currently high throughout our area, and the city strongly recommends masking. As you may have noticed, Drexel has also updated our language about masks: areas of our campus that were "masks optional" are now "masks recommended." When around others, strongly consider wearing a mask indoors, even in spaces where it is not required.
Stay home if you feel sick
With the Omicron strains that are common right now, you may feel sick, and even test negative on a rapid test, for a day or more before you finally test positive. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID, get a PCR test at one of Drexel's COVID testing sites. Always wear a mask around other people if you're under the weather and don't assume that a negative rapid test 12 hours ago means you are in the clear. If you have a positive COVID test,please notify Drexel by emailing COVIDtracing@Drexel.edu(if you are a student) orCOVID19Health@Drexel.edu(if you are a Drexel employee).
Take a rapid test before an event
Even if you don't feel sick (but especially if you do), it's a good idea to take a rapid test right before you attend any large gathering, especially if people will be unmasked. You can obtain rapid at-home tests for free through the U.S. government, even if you've ordered some in the past —find more information and place your order for rapid delivery. These tests are also available at many local pharmacies, and many health insurers will reimburse you for them.
Stay up to date on your boosters
Booster shots increase your body's ability to fight COVID-19, making you less likely to be infected and far less likely to experience severe illness from the coronavirus. You are eligible for a booster shot two to five months after your initial COVID vaccination series (depending on which vaccine you had), and many people are also now eligible to receive a second booster. Find out if you're eligible. If you're not up to date yet, please schedule a booster shot now. Drexel students and employees can sign up through Student Health (call 215-220-4700) or schedule an appointment at our Drexel/SunRay Pharmacy booster clinics.
Take care of your whole health and each other
End-of-year transitions can be stressful, as can ongoing uncertainty about COVID. While we emphasize the importance of followingpublic health guidelines, it's equally important to prioritizeallaspects of your well-being. For emotional health support, students can email firstname.lastname@example.org call 215.895.1415 (after-hours emergency line: 215.416.3337) to schedule a conversation with a therapist. You can find other resources at the Center for Counseling and Health's website. For benefits-eligible faculty and professional staff, their family members, and Drexel graduate students Drexel's Employee Assistance Program provides free access to confidential, 24/7 counseling. Log into the SupportLinc websiteor use the app. To find out more about these benefits, you can also visit the Employee Assistance Program website.
Emotional, physical, and social health are all crucial. Let's take care of ourselves and each other. Let's finish this year strong, together.
Marla J. Gold, MD
Chief Wellness Officer
Senior Vice Provost for Community Health
Janet Cruz, MD
Director, Drexel Student Health