Health & Safety

As an individual member of our campus community, and as members of larger communities and societies, it is important that we each take a moment to reflect on how our personal decisions impact the health and well-being of others.  Navigating a pandemic is unfamiliar territory for us.  Coming together as a community to respect the rights, decisions and well-being of others is imperative for us to support each other through these unprecedented times.   Together, following public health considerations and practices, we must be responsible active citizens and strive to keep all members of our communities safe and healthy.  Rams Mask Up!

Wearing Face Coverings – especially when you cannot maintain 6ft of distance from another person. 

  • Rams Mask UpCloth face coverings provide an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with everyday preventive actions and distancing in public settings.
  • Follow proper mask procedures:
    • Wash your hands before putting on your face covering
    • Make sure it covers your mouth and nose
    • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face making sure you can breathe easily
    • Be careful to not touch your eyes, nose and mouth when removing. Wash hands immediately after removing
  • Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for additional information about mask wearing, including how to make your own cloth face covering.

Washing Hands

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water
  • Wash hands:
    • after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
    • after using the restroom
    • before eating or preparing food
    • after contact with animals or pets
    • before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance
    • immediately after having contact with a person who is sick
  • Use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water is not available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

Following Physical Distancing Parameters

  • Place physical distancing (at least 6 feet) between yourself and others when outside of your living space
    • Examples of 6 feet include 2 Golden Retrievers standing nose to tail and the average width of a sedan
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside of your living space
  • Stay home when possible
  • Avoid large gatherings and traveling when possible

Cleaning and Disinfecting Frequently Touched Surfaces Daily

  • Includes electronic devices such as cellphones and laptops
  • Doorknobs, countertops, desks, handles, sinks, light switches
  • Using EPA-approved disinfectants and following the instructions on the product for use

Practicing Health Promoting Behaviors - choosing nutrition foods, exercising, sleeping, taking care of your emotional health and maintaining social connections.

  • Choose nutritious foods
    • Consume healthy and well-balanced meals
    • Make your plate colorful – choosing a variety of foods
    • Choose healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables and nuts
    • Drink plenty of water
  • Exercise
    • Follow distancing parameters if exercising outside of your home/resident hall area
    • Exercise can help make you feel better, function better and sleep better
    • Exercise can reduce stressful and anxious feelings
  • Sleep
    • Establish a sleep schedule – going to bed around the same time and waking around the same time daily
    • Establish a sleep promoting environment – quiet, dark, relaxing, comfortable temperature
    • Remove electronic devices from sleep area
    • Consuming larger meals and caffeine (if choosing to do so) earlier in the day
    • Exercise earlier in the day so that your body can properly cool and prepare for sleep
  • Taking care of your emotional health
    • Not only are you managing the stress of being a college student, you are also managing concerns of an infectious disease outbreak
    • Each one of us manages stress differently. Importance of finding healthy ways to relieve stress such as:
      • Connect with others
      • Take breaks – make time to relax and do activities you enjoy
      • Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate
      • Seek help when needed. Reaching out to available resources including the WCU Counseling Center  
      • Limit over exposure to media and news. Choose credible sources of information and evaluate the amount of time watching the news
    • Maintaining social connections
      • While important to follow distancing parameters, we can still find ways to connect with others
        • In person – follow distancing parameters. Going for a walk, sitting outside, etc. following distancing parameters
        • Using remote options – there are a variety of online platforms and applications that can help you maintain social connection including FaceTime, Zoom, House Party, etc.
      • Limiting or avoiding alcohol and drug use
      • Continuing use of medications, managing diseases. Call your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your  medical conditions – don’t delay getting healthcare
      • The Office of Wellness Promotion offers free Wellness Coaching if you would like to learn strategies and set goals around improving your health and well-being

Staying Home When Ill

  • It’s ok to stay home when you are ill. You can continue to engage remotely with your class as well as with friends and family.  The fear of missing out on things is not a reason not to stay home
  • If you or your roommate become ill, follow recommendations including:
    • Call ahead before visiting your healthcare provider. This includes calling Student Health Services
    • Continuing to clean and disinfect shared spaces
    • Clean hands often; wear latex gloves when cleaning or caring for someone who is sick
    • Keep separate bedroom and bathroom spaces for a person who is sick if possible
    • Dedicate a lined trash can for the person who is sick
    • Stay separated for eating. The person who is sick should eat in their room if possible
    • Stay in touch with your healthcare provider
  • Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in West Chester? The Chester County Health Department provides free COVID-19 testing. Information about testing is available at https://www.chesco.org/4460/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Testing-Information. This resource page also provides information about commercial locations offering additional testing options.
  • What is isolation? Separation of people or group of people who are reasonably believed to have been infected from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the disease.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends waiting at least 3 days with no fever, improved respiratory symptoms, and after 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared before being around other individuals
  • What is quarantine? Separation of a person or group reasonably believes to have been exposed but are not yet symptomatic to prevent the possible spread of the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 14 days of quarantine after exposure based on how long it takes to develop the illness if infected

Educating Yourself and Others About how the Virus Spreads

  • For the latest information about COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Currently there is no vaccine available for COVID-19
  • The main way the virus spreads is person to person
    • Close contact from person-to person. Respiratory droplets produced when a person coughs or sneezes
    • It may be possible to transmit through touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and touching face – eyes, nose and mouth but this is not the main way the virus spreads
    • May be spread by individuals who are not showing symptoms

Monitoring Your Health – Knowing the Symptoms of COVID-19

  • For the latest information about COVID-19 symptoms, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus
    • Currently identified symptoms include:
      • Fever; measured temperature of 100.4 or greater
      • Chills
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • Fatigue
      • Muscle aches
      • Headaches
      • New loss of taste or smell
      • Sore throat
      • Congestion or runny nose
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Diarrhea
      • Not feeling well but do not have these symptoms? Call your healthcare provider.
      • For additional information on symptoms and access to the CDC self-checker to help you identify when you might need medical care, visit: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    • Take your temperature (not within 30 minutes of exercise)
    • Know who to call and when
      • When to seek emergency medical attention:
        • Trouble breathing
        • Persistent pain or pressure in chest
        • New confusion
        • Inability to wake or stay awake
        • Bluish lips or face
        • Call 911 or call ahead to Health Services for any symptoms that are severe or concerning
      • Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in West Chester? The Chester County Health Department provides free COVID-19 testing. Information about testing is available at https://www.chesco.org/4460/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Testing-Information. This resource page also provides information about commercial locations offering additional testing options.

      • It is important to cooperate with health officials who may reach out to you for contract tracing purposes
      • Make sure that people who need to get in touch with you are able to. This includes checking your WCU email regularly, ensuring that if you have a cellular phone that you answer calls, and that you have your voicemail box setup to accept messages

Avoiding the Spread of False Information About the Virus That Can Lead to Stigma and Discrimination

  • Share the facts about the virus
  • Speak up when someone shares false information
  • We are each responsible for creating and maintaining an environment build on respect and free from discrimination and harassment. You can report an incident of discrimination or harassment to the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at: 610-436-2433 or through the reporting form on their website
  • No single person or group are more likely than others to spread COVID-19
  • People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get COVID-19 than any other American
  • It is important to void stigmatizing, stereotyping and perpetuating racism
  • Systemic health and social inequities disproportionately increase the risk of getting the virus among racial and ethnic groups of individuals.

We Are All in This Together

  • We can likely all think back to occasions we may have missed out on during the spring months such as prom, graduation, connecting in person with friends and families, vacations, concerts, etc. Let’s work together to not miss out on future events and activities
  • COVID-19 can impact anyone. While you may not be concerned about your individual risk, we are all in this together and need to approach our responsibilities with care and concern for others
  • Following health promoting practices isn’t just about your health. I wear my mask to protect you and you wear yours to protect me
  • You cannot tell by walking past someone who is at a higher risk from someone else
  • This is a stressful time. Be patient and kind with one another
  • There are numerous resources on campus and in the community if you are facing a lack of support, financial stress, depressed or anxious feelings, facing substance misuse, violence, or thoughts of suicide as a result of necessary distancing measures. The WCU website has numerous resources to connect you to campus and community resources  

Source: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

Back to top of page.