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COVID update from Dr. Brian DeLoach, GS’s Medical Director

Eagle Nation,

Over the past year and a half, we have closely monitored the COVID-19 pandemic. The university will continue to provide updates on the disease, the precautions needed to prevent transmission, and vaccine-related details, as they become available. However, I wanted to provide some information, as we know it today, to help you all prepare for a successful and healthy semester.

First, I cannot over-stress the importance of getting vaccinated. I continue to remind everyone that the safest way to move forward is to get the COVID-19 vaccine. My immediate family and I have been vaccinated, including my 14-year-old son, my wife, my parents, and my 93-year-old grandmother. I continue to confidently recommend COVID-19 vaccination to my patients, friends, and other family members. While being vaccinated does not guarantee that you will never get COVID-19, the data has consistently shown the COVID-19 vaccines drastically reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from the disease. Additionally, most people who are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated will not be asked to self-quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19.

We continue to offer regular opportunities to get vaccinated on campus at no cost to you. Also, the vaccine is available to you at no cost at pharmacies, health departments, and other settings throughout our communities. Please see our COVID-19 vaccine information page for details on upcoming vaccine clinics on our campuses and watch your email for more details.

Per state and University System of Georgia (USG) guidance, we cannot require the vaccine or ask our students or fellow employees for proof of their vaccination, and we should not treat vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals differently unless dictated by law or applicable guidance. There are some campus exceptions, such as in a medical setting where students may be asked about their vaccination status, and masks are still required in our Student Health Centers and while on buses. Students also may be required by off-campus partners to wear masks and/or be vaccinated as a condition of participation in activities such as internships, healthcare work settings and other experiential learning opportunities.

Other precautionary measures we can take to prevent infection and slow the transmission of COVID-19 continue to include washing your hands, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, staying home if you feel unwell, remaining physically distant from others, and wearing a face-covering. While none of these steps are required on our campuses at this time, beyond the exceptions outlined above, they remain good practices for everyone to continue. We are now encouraging everyone to wear a mask or face covering while inside campus facilities.

The university’s CARES Center continues to be an amazing resource for answers to all your COVID-19 related questions. Through the CARES Center, you can self-report test results and symptoms, get help evaluating your situation, and receive support for COVID-19 related academic, employment and on-campus notification needs. The latest guidance, tips, educational resources, and graphics can be found through this link as well.

As we continue to confront the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I am reminded of the opportunity every individual has to impact their community for good. To promote the health and well-being of students and employees across our campuses, I encourage all of Eagle Nation to continue to follow public health guidelines and go Wings Up! Sleeves Up! for your vaccination as soon as possible.

Yours In Good Health,

Brian M. DeLoach, M.D.

Medical Director

Georgia Southern University Student Health Services

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