Current Health Alerts
We urge our WSU community to practice physical distancing and self-isolation in light of the devastating spread of COVID19.
Some of you may be scared and it is okay to have some fear during this time of so many unknowns but please try not to panic and know that we are in this together.
Others of you may feel that this is over-hyped or perhaps the reality of this pandemic has not yet sunk in.
We ask that you take this seriously and protect yourself and all those that you care about that are around you. We hope that you will take precautions for yourself and for those around you.
We know it is not easy and we appreciate all that you have sacrificed for the good of our Warrior community and beyond.
Thank you for doing your part, protecting yourself and others and making a difference in slowing down the spread of this disease.
There are a few different COVID-19 vaccines, and they all teach the immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.
The Minnesota Department of Health and the Winona and Olmstead county health departments are working to ensure enough doses go out to vaccine clinics in our communities.
When it is your turn to receive a vaccine, WSU Health and Wellness Services will be ready to give it to you free of charge.
The vaccine is recommended for most people. WSU does not have a policy requiring students, faculty, or staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine at this time.
There are many rumors about the COVID-19 vaccine, so be sure you stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccine myths and facts.
If you have any questions or concerns, call the Ask-A-Nurse Message Line at 507.457.2292.
Once you are fully vaccinated, you still need to follow all public health guidance (PDF) including:
- wearing a mask
- staying 6 feet from others
- washing your hands
- getting tested for COVID-19 when needed
- following quarantine and isolation guidelines
Campus safety protocols will continue to be in place for all employees, students, and visitors on campus.
Call Before Going to Healthcare Facilities
Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care, emergency room without calling first.
You can reach the Ask-A-Nurse Message Line at 507.457.2292 or schedule an appointment with WSU Health Services at 507.457.5160.
It is important that your symptoms and risks be screened so that appropriate precautions may be taken, if needed, by the healthcare staff.
This is to protect others as well as yourself.
Resources to Help You be Prepared
Health and Wellness Services is here for you! From the everyday daily activities to how to combat COVID-19 symptoms if you become ill.
Check out our various COVID-19 guides composed of information on how to keep you and others safe! Education is the biggest factor in helping to reduce the spread. All the kits include printer friendly pages available for print. We suggest printing them off and hanging them up to help form new healthy habits.
- General Guide (PDF)
- Guide for Returning to Campus (PDF)
- Guide for Shared Housing (PDF)
- Guide for Shared Housing (Rochester) (PDF)
- Guide to Travel (PDF)
- Guide for Student Athletes (PDF)
- Guide for Essential Workers (PDF)
- Guide for Faculty & Staff (PDF)
What is Coronavirus & how is it spread?
According to the CDC, we are responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including in the United States.
The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person--that is, between people who are in close contact with each other--through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness for confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
What happens if COVID-19 cases rise at WSU?
Winona State’s COVID-19 Coronavirus Planning and Response Team has developed a protocol for a number of scenarios should the health concerns escalate in the region.
We will take immediate steps in accordance with CDC guidelines to respond to any health and safety risk to the campus community.
We will work on containing the individuals who may have been in close contact. We will immediately start contact tracing through the guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health.
Are there testing sites on campus?
Please call ahead by calling Ask-A-Nurse at 507.457.2292 or schedule an appointment with WSU Health Services at 507.457.5160.
Will testing be free?
There will not be out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 tests. Any remaining costs after insurance will be covered by WSU.
How will my health be monitored if I become ill?
WSU has a Daily Self-Assessment that students, faculty and staff will complete each day before arriving on campus.
If you report through the self-assessment that you are experiencing symptoms, you will be prompted to call Ask-A-Nurse. From there, you will be recommended to get tested through WSU Health Services. You will receive more instructions about combating symptoms after the results from your test.
We suggest the buddy system for students, so they have someone to lean on if they need further assistance.
What if my symptoms are not improving or getting worse?
Seek Care at Off-Campus Clinics
If it is on a weekend or after hours, we recommend going to another local clinic such as Winona Health Urgent Care and Gunderson Urgent Care.
In the case that you may need hospitalization, they will assess your student through the Winona Health Emergency Department. They will admit you or place you in a nearby facility.
If you have been tested for COVID-19 at an off-campus clinic, please fill out the self-report form.
What if I need medication?
We recommend assembling two first aid kits. One made to treat minor injuries and another to treat the symptoms of COVID-19. Check out our guidance assembling a COVID-19 case kit.
If you need prescription medication, there are several pharmacies in the area. These pharmacies offer pick-up or delivery for the medication.
How is Housing & Residence Life supporting students who live on campus?
How will students use the restroom if they do not have access to a personal bathroom?
How will students receive food if they are in isolation?
Students in quarantine are able to pick food up in the dining centers and take their meals back to their rooms. Meals will be delivered for students who are in isolation.
Will students have to return to their family homes if they get COVID-19?
We have plans in place in case of isolation, although each case is assessed one at a time. In the event of an outbreak, it will be up to the student and their family to return home.
What happens if I’m unable to attend online or in person classes due to illness?
Faculty are to work with students on their specific needs. We recommend reaching out to the instructor to discuss any concerns.
If the professor is unable to make appropriate accommodations, you should reach out to the department chair, Dean of Students, or dean of the course’s college.
What you can do
Take these steps to keep yourself and those around you safe and healthy:
- Keep yourself informed about local COVID-19 situation
- Wash your hands using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol content is recommended.
- Avoid touching your face – especially eyes, nose and mouth
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- If you are feeling ill, stay home. Faculty, staff and administration will do all that is possible to support and accommodate this.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks
- Get your flu shot. WSU Health & Wellness still has shots available for students. Getting your flu shot is essential this year because it can help providers differentiate between illnesses such as flu vs. COVID-19
Should I be wearing a mask?
The CDC has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. Wearing a mask can help decrease your chances of getting and spreading the virus.
WSU and the City of Winona have policies in place regarding wearing a mask in public spaces. A mask is required to be worn at all times on all campus grounds. The only exception is to temporarily remove your mask to eat or drink, and if you are outside and able to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others.
Masks don't replace hand washing and social distancing.
Check out our guide on everything you need to know about face coverings.
What you can do if you have or plan to travel
Please note that Minnesota State Colleges & University is currently enforcing a travel ban on all University-related international travel and out of state travel.
Due to the spread of COVID-19 and its variant, personal international travel is strongly discouraged. any nonessential travel should be postponed or canceled.
When traveling, you should take these steps:
- Prior to traveling, it is recommended to get tested 10 days (or as soon as possible) and again 2-3 days before traveling
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The CDC recommends at least 60% alcohol concentration for maximum effectiveness.
- Carry hand sanitizer with you to ensure you have the opportunity to clean your hands at any time
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve--not your hands--when coughing or sneezing. Throw used tissues in the garbage as soon as you can.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Once returning home from a trip, it is recommended to get tested 5-7 days after returning-- ideally on the 7th day.
For more guidance, check out our Wellness Blog on How to Travel Safely During a Pandemic.
If you live with someone who has been asked to isolate
Here are precautions you can take to avoid getting sick.
Clean your hands. All persons sharing living quarters with someone who is self-isolating should clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub (60% alcohol or higher) frequently.
Monitor yourself for symptoms. If you are sharing living quarters with someone who is self- isolating, monitor yourself closely for the development of fever and respiratory symptoms. If you develop a fever, cough, or sore throat, call your medical provider or WSU’s Health & Wellness Services Ask-a-Nurse Message Line.
Don’t visit the room of those who are self-isolating.
Clean common surfaces.
Wash laundry and dishes safely. If you are washing used linens (such as bed sheets and towels) for the person who is self-isolating, use household laundry soap and tumble dry on a hot setting. Avoid “hugging” laundry and use a laundry basket or bag while carrying it to the washing machine to prevent self-contamination.
Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based (60% alcohol or higher) hand rub right after handling dirty laundry. Dirty dishes and eating utensils should be washed in a dishwasher or by hand with warm water and soap.
If sharing a bathroom be sure to wash your hands after touching anything in the bathroom. You should also avoid sharing any linens, such as bath towels or hand towels. The person who is self-isolating should be wearing a mask when they travel to and from the bathroom, and that should help limit exposure as well.
Questions about Isolation
When do I have to self-isolate?
If you have symptoms of an upper respiratory illness, such as a cough, please self-isolate for at least 10 days.
For your isolation period to end:
- your symptoms must be improving
- you must have been fever-free for the last 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medication.
If you live with someone who has developed symptoms of an upper respiratory illness and is self-isolating, you must self-quarantine for 14 days.
If you develop symptoms during this time, you must begin isolating for at least 10 days.
If you develop symptoms, please immediately begin isolating and notify Health Services.
- Submit a COVID-19 Self-Report form
- Ask-a-Nurse Message Line: 507.457.2292
- Ask-a-Nurse Email Address: AskANurse@winona.edu
- Appointment Line: 507.457.5160
Health Services is available for:
- Isolation and quarantine questions and guidance
- Self-care questions and guidance
- TeleHealth medical appointments
- On-site medical appointments
- TeleHealth counseling appointments
- Any other health-related questions and concerns
If you are in isolation
When in isolation, you should take these steps:
- Report any symptoms with the COVID-19 Self-Report form or by calling Ask-a-Nurse at 507.457.2292. Symptoms may include the following: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- Don't hesitate to seek medical attention
- Stay in your bedroom. If you must go to another room, please cover your nose and mouth with a tissue if coughing.
- Do not go to work, classes, athletic events, or gatherings until the 14 days have lapsed
- Limit contact with others as much as possible. This also means limiting contact with roommates and others living in your residences.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your upper sleeve or a tissue. Never cough in the direction of someone else.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after coughing or sneezing or throwing a used tissue in the garbage. If soap and water is not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol content is recommended
- Avoid sharing household items. Do not share drinking glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding, or any other items until the 14 days have lapsed.
- Keep your surroundings clean. Try to clean surfaces that you share with others, such as doorknobs, telephones, and bathroom surfaces (or any other object that you may have sneezed or coughed on), with a standard household disinfectant such as Clorox wipes. Wash your hands after cleaning the area.
Can I still go to work?
Yes, you may still go to work during the pandemic. Telework, or working from home, is recommended if possible. We encourage you to talk with your employer about working at home options.
If you have come in close contact with COVID-19 and are currently quarantining, it is not recommended to go into work.
Do not go into work if you have tested positive or have symptoms of COVID-19. Please stay home to avoid spreading the virus to others, and contact Ask-A-Nurse.