Flu season begins as COVID continues

Student Health Services is located in the CASS building. Photo courtesy tallahassee.com

Cold weather is on the horizon for the city of Tallahassee, which means students and faculty are prone to get sick.

Flu-like symptoms may prompt Rattlers to get tested for COVID-19. As of Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 236 COVID-19 cases per 7-day metrics in Leon County. How will campus officials and professors respond when students test positive?

Professor K. Johnson, who teaches an introduction to literature course at Florida A&M, believes students’ health should be prioritized.

“I prioritize your health first. We can always catch up with schoolwork later. Don’t think about the workload, just worry about getting healthy first before returning to class,”

If a student does test positive, FAMU health officials want students to continue following the same COVID guidelines that were set at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

“As far as COVID-19 protocol, our response doesn’t change once a student tests positive, even during flu season. Typically, if you get the flu, you’ll be out for 5-7 days. If you test positive for COVID, however, you must follow a 10-day isolation period. We ask students to complete the 10-day isolation period, and communicate with the contact traces in the meantime,” said Tanya Tatum, director of Student Health Services at FAMU.

The CDC advises isolating when you have been infected with the virus, even if you don’t have symptoms. Isolation is the most effective way to prevent the further spread of the virus. During the isolation period, students are advised to communicate with the school’s Student Health Services via telephone to establish contact tracing.

“With the contact traces, we’re checking to see who you’ve been around and informing them that they have possibly been exposed. Once your ten days are up, the contact tracer will send you a letter. Once you have that letter, you’re fine. You’re good to go. No retesting required,” Tatum said.

FAMU students are confident that in the grand scheme of things, if they should contract the virus, they will be able to stay informed on their courses.

“As a professor, you should have a plan in place for students who test positive. The plan would likely include working with students over Zoom. If a student gets COVID, you have to be able to accommodate them,” said Isaiah Thomas, a fourth-year health leisure fitness major.