January 2022 COVID update

From a January 10, 2022 campus email

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to review our spring 2022 COVID-19 framework, which is linked at northern.edu/coronavirus. This guidance has been shared with Executive Leadership, Faculty Senate, Student Government Association and Staff Council.

Key takeaways for this upcoming semester include:

  • Encouraging vaccinations (on-campus booster clinic Jan. 21)
  • Providing COVID-19 testing resources (information on your free test kits below)
  • Monitoring local COVID-19 levels and CDC guidelines

Vaccinations

Northern and Avera Health are hosting a FREE Vaccination Booster Clinic this Friday, Jan. 21, which is open to the public.

Booster COVID-19 shots will be available:

  • When: Friday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Where: Avera Student Center Centennial Rooms
  • What: Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer (boosters only)
  • How: Walk in or call 605-622-5273 to schedule an appointment.
  • Cost: COVID-19 vaccinations are free.
  • Please bring your vaccination card.

Individuals may also schedule COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters at the following links:

Testing supplies

Through the S.D. Department of Health, we have secured BinaxNOW/Quidel over the counter COVID tests. These test kits are free to NSU faculty, staff and students and will be distributed to campus departments and residence halls early this month. Complimentary COVID testing for all South Dakotans are still available through Vault Health’s website as well.

These are available for both symptomatic/asymptomatic and vaccinated/unvaccinated individuals.

If you develop symptoms, please get tested and stay home when you are sick, per CDC guidance. If you become ill, faculty and staff should work with their direct supervisors and students should reach out to their respective faculty regarding classwork. Self-reported COVID-19 cases will be posted at northern.edu/coronavirus.

Monitoring the situation

We will continue to communicate with the S.D. Dept. of Health, S.D. Board of Regents, Brown County Emergency Management and our local health care providers on current conditions.

We are also monitoring CDC guidance, including the most recent updates on recommended isolation and quarantine times.

According to the CDC, the Omicron variant spreads more easily than the original virus and is expecting a surge of COVID-19 cases in the coming days to weeks. The CDC lists four things you can do to help protect yourself from Omicron:

  1. Get vaccinated
  2. Get boosted
  3. Consider wearing a mask in public indoor settings
  4. Consider taking a test before you gather

Please continue efforts to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Try not to touch your face.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Consider wearing a mask when around others.

For additional COVID-19 information, visit northern.edu/coronavirus, covid.sd.gov or cdc.gov.