Message to Residential Students: Updates to COVID Isolation Procedures
April 5, 2023
Happy Spring, Billikens!
Updates to COVID-19 isolation housing
We are implementing a change to isolation procedures for students who test positive for COVID-19.
All students that live in a residence hall will now have the option to stay in their living space if they test positive for COVID-19, regardless if that student has a roommate, suitemate or their own room.
What does this mean for you and your roommate(s)?
If one of you should become ill with COVID-19, flu, or any other illness, you and your roommate(s) may wish to navigate the situation in any number of ways.
We encourage you to have a conversation with one another now – before you encounter these scenarios. Together, you can create an action plan for what you will do if you or your roommate or suitemate become sick. Options could include:
- The healthy roommate or suitemate may plan to stay with a friend;
- The sick person may isolate at their permanent non-SLU address, if that is feasible;
- Both people may stay together in the same living space;
- Both people may stay together and could wear masks or split up time spent in their room;
- Or you may design another plan, together.
Hotel Ignacio is still an option for those who test positive for COVID-19 and have a roommate(s). However, access to Hotel Ignacio will end after spring semester.
In the best case scenario, no one will become ill. But planning is good! If you have a plan in place, you can help your roommate who becomes ill recover comfortably, with less stress. And you can help healthy roommate(s) reduce their risk of illness.
Navigating challenging (or just awkward) conversations
Hesitant to start the conversation?
We understand that having these discussions with your roommate or suitemate can be a new and uncomfortable experience. However, learning to communicate and negotiate boundaries with your roommate or suitemate is a transferable skill that will serve you well in your adult life.
If you are concerned about conflict with your roommate or suitemate, you may wish to:
- Start by talking about the core principles or values that are important to you, when it comes to protecting your health or well-being. If you start by understanding what’s most important to each person before you start talking about strategies, you may be able to find more creative solutions AND navigate sensitive issues with more care and respect.
- Remember that disagreement is okay – it can even be productive. Just maintain that sense of care and respect for each other, as you talk through how your perspectives are different.
- Consider bringing in an additional, neutral person to help mediate the conversation, like an RA or a friend from your floor.
- When you arrive at a shared plan, write it down so you can consult it later. You may wish to create or add to a roommate agreement that includes some other shared commitments or practices that guide your shared use of space.
Planning ahead to care for your health
Sometimes it is difficult to avoid getting sick, no matter how hard we try. You can make your time of recovery much more comfortable by taking some basic steps to plan ahead.
Stock up on a few basic supplies: A thermometer, tissues, masks, hand sanitizer, Advil or Tylenol, and other things that you know help you when you’re not feeling great. You might add some canned soup and tea to your pantry, so if you have a sick day – or maybe just a cold and rainy one – you’re ready to take good care of yourself.
It’s no fun to try to figure out new healthcare logistics when you don’t feel well. Save the phone number for the Student Health Center or your primary care provider on your phone. And be familiar with your health insurance information, in case you need it.
Staying healthy as we finish the semester
As we hit the final stretch in the school year, it is easy to fall out of healthy routines and try to coast to the finish line. Although getting to summer may be your main focus during these last few months, making sure to prioritize your health will help to ensure you end this year on a high note!
Here are some tips for maintaining your health in the spring season:
- Sleep! Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is good for your immune system, your cognitive function, and your mood. You may be tempted to sacrifice sleep for studying – but remember that sleep is essential for your brain and body to function well. Tap in your friends to help schedule study time versus rest time and keep each other accountable to maintain the balance.
- The tulips are beautiful, but pollen might not be– If you suffer from seasonal allergies, monitor pollen levels with the weather app on your smartphone. It is best to enjoy the outdoors on days when pollen counts are low, as well as windless days when there is less movement of pollen in the air.
- Keep it fresh! On warm days, opening the windows to facilitate fresh air flow in your home can help to reduce disease transmission. Keep in mind that doing this may exacerbate your seasonal allergies, if you have them.
- H2O is your friend– Make sure to stay hydrated. With warmer weather, it is easier to get dehydrated without realizing it. Symptoms of dehydration include but are not limited to dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. Ensuring you drink plenty of water and take breaks from the sun will limit your chances of becoming dehydrated.
- Get some sun! Daily sun exposure has many health benefits such as increasing vitamin D, improving your mood, healing inflammation, and more. Make sure to protect your skin with the use of sunscreen and watching the UV index to lower the risk of sunburns.
- Engage in proactive health habits. Supplementing your diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as participating in regular exercise, can help to build up a strong immune system. If you ever feel ill, consider contacting Student Health or another healthcare professional for medical evaluation.
- As the semester comes to a close, one last deep clean of your living space is a great way to protect yourself from illnesses that may arise from bacteria accumulation.
We want to support your wellness
Wellness is something we seek together! Please don’t hesitate to reach out so that we can best help each other stay safe and healthy.
University Counseling Center
3711 West Pine Mall
2nd Floor Wuller Hall
Phone: 314-977-8255 (press 9 for after hour/crisis needs)
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m
Campus Recreation and Wellness
3639 Laclede Ave
St. Louis, MO 63108
3711 West Pine Mall
Student Success Center
Busch Student Center
20 N. Grand Blvd. Suite 331