As school starts up again and the changing of seasons begins, seasonal sicknesses like the flu, RSV and Covid start to rise. Although the Covid statistics are nowhere near where they were at the height of the pandemic, staying informed on the status of the virus and the new variants is helpful.

   Variants are different strands of the virus that can have distinctions between them. For example, one variant can be more or less resistant to treatment, or they can spread in different ways. According to the CDC the new variant of Covid Pirola, BA.2.86, will spread the same way as before, but the consensus is that there is still little information on how well this variant spreads.

   In general, the CDC still recommends that you get your Covid vaccinations as recommended, use a high-quality mask if you chose to wear one and wash your hands to prevent the spread of the virus. Dean Hicks from the School of Nursing at DSC reminds us that if you feel any of the typical covid symptoms like fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, cough, headache or sore throat, test for covid. 

   If you are to test positive for Covid, Daytona State has their own updated protocol they have posted on the website as of April of 2023. Dr. Colin Chesley, Associate Vice President of the College of Health & Public Services along with senior executive staff members lifted the previous Covid restrictions when the President of the United States declared the pandemic to be over.

Daytona State has always worked to make sure that all their Covid procedures are CDC compliant, and they maintain that today with the Covid information page on the website. 

   Students should report to their professors and other faculty they come in contact with that they are sick, and then quarantine for five days, not including the first day of symptoms. Your professors will work with you to make sure you don’t fall behind schedule. Ms. Cerese Ramos, Vice President of Student Development says, “Faculty has been very supportive and flexible.” Your professors are aware that Covid can affect everyone differently and they will work with you to make sure your education is not interrupted. 

“The DSC Falcon family went through the pandemic together,” says Ramos, and she is appreciative of people like Dr. Colin Chesley for creating and overseeing the contact tracing system within the school during the height of the pandemic. As a professor at heart, he understands the importance of education as well as the health and safety of the students and staff.

   As students, we may prioritize things like our academics and our career, but it is important to take care of ourselves, preventatively or once we are sick. Being informed and following the Covid procedures will help keep all of the students, faculty and staff safe.

Lauren Webber chooses to continue wearing a mask in her classes to protect herself and her family member.
Photo by Sarah Hinnant

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