Important reminders for staying healthy during winter break and the start of Spring semester

Dear Wake Forest community,

As we prepare to depart for the winter break, we wanted to provide some reminders about how to stay healthy during the break, and what to do before you return to campus.

North Carolina continues to experience a high volume of influenza (flu), as are other parts of the country. Two other respiratory illnesses, COVID and RSV, are also prevalent in many places. As you travel home, it will be important to remain vigilant about community spread of those illnesses and do all you can to stay healthy.

Tips for a healthy break:

  • Travel safely: wear a well-fitting mask on public transportation such as airplanes. Avoid taking your mask off in public places where people are unmasked.
  • Lower your risks: avoid being around people who are actively ill. Consider avoiding large gatherings, or wear a well-fitting mask if you do attend. 
  • Get your flu shot and an updated fall/winter COVID booster if you have not already had one. Remember that vaccines typically take around 2 weeks to become effective, so get one now before you travel home for the holidays.

If you become ill during winter break

  • Do not return to campus in January if you are actively ill:
    • For the flu, COVID, RSV, etc., remain at home or away from campus until your symptoms are improved and until you have not had a fever (without using fever-reducing medications) for 24 hours. Read more.
    • For gastrointestinal illnesses such as noroviruses, individuals may remain contagious for up to two days after their symptoms have resolved. Consequently, they should avoid returning to campus until that time.
  • Students who test positive for COVID via a home test or by tests administered by healthcare providers should report their positive result to wfucovid@nullwfu.edu.
  • Faculty and staff should report positive COVID results by emailing wfuwellness@nullwakehealth.edu or by calling 743-223-4217. 

As January approaches:

  • We encourage students, faculty, and staff to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours before arriving on campus in January, as we have typically seen surges of COVID after breaks. People who test positive should report their positive result (see above) and isolate away from campus until they meet the criteria for release from isolation. At-home test kits are effective and widely available. 
  • Upon returning to campus, large social gatherings should be avoided for the first two weeks to ensure there are no post-travel surges in flu, COVID, RSV, etc.

Thank you for your continued partnership as we seek to mitigate the impact of illness on campus operations so that we can have a wonderful spring semester together.

With all best wishes for the winter break,

Shea Kidd Brown
Interim Chair, Campus Health Committee
Vice President for Campus Life

Warrenetta Mann
Incoming Chair, Campus Health Committee
Assistant Vice President for Health and Wellbeing

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