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Ohio State News Alert: How Buckeyes should prepare for winter break

It’s a good time to get a COVID-19 booster shot

Ohio State University students, faculty and staff are encouraged to use every precaution and resource to stay safe and healthy ahead of and during the winter break.

The university community has done extraordinary work in getting vaccinated, with 92% of students and employees at least partially vaccinated. This rate, combined with continued testing and masking measures, has allowed campus life to more closely resemble pre-pandemic life.

Final exams conclude on Thursday (Dec. 16), followed by winter break. Here are ways the university suggests the community protect themselves against COVID-19 exposure.

For more information, visit the winter break page at Safe and Healthy Buckeyes.­­

Get a booster shot – or get vaccinated if you haven’t already

Ohio State University scientists recently identified the first two cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant in the state of Ohio. The individuals had received an initial vaccine series more than six months ago but neither had obtained a booster. This discovery underscores the importance of all eligible people getting their booster shots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends boosters for anyone 16 years or older who has already completed a primary COVID-19 vaccination series. The CDC provides guidance about when to schedule a booster based on primary vaccine type.

Vaccine appointments are scheduled through MyChart. 

Additional information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available on the Get Vaccinated page.

Travel: Avoid hot spots if possible

Anyone who travels domestically or internationally during winter break should protect themselves and be aware of the COVID-19 risk at their destination.

Many locations, within the United States as well as internationally, are currently experiencing a surge in virus cases. All travelers should consider the necessity of their travel and take all necessary precautions if traveling, including masking, frequent hand washing, getting a booster shot as well as testing before and after travel.

International travelers should consult information from the CDC and U.S. Department of State to determine the public health measures, including requirements for proof of vaccination, pre-travel COVID-19 tests, quarantine on arrival, current immigration status for entry and other guidelines.

Starting this month, all international air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before returning to the United States. Regardless of citizenship status, people who test positive while overseas will not be able to return to the United States for medical care, and their return to the country might be delayed for up to 14 days.

Be proactive with testing

Asymptomatic surveillance testing is available to all students, faculty and staff at our campus testing locations. Regardless of vaccination status, all Ohio State community members are encouraged to use this testing resource, especially before traveling for winter break and upon returning to campus. Testing can provide individuals with peace of mind and help keep others healthy.

For information about where and how to schedule through MyChart, visit the Voluntary Testing page.

Anyone who is feeling ill should stay home and not go to Jesse Owens North or a regional surveillance location for testing. People who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should seek guidance from their primary care provider and test at a symptomatic testing facility.

Additional information is available on the Symptomatic Testing Page.

COVID-19 testing remains a requirement for all students, faculty and staff who received an exemption for the university’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement and those who have not taken action to complete the requirement. Students who continue living on or visiting any campus and employees who are required to test regularly will be required to test once during the time frame of Dec. 20-Dec. 31.

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