COVID-19 Update: Face Coverings and Vaccinations
Dr. Emilio Carranco, Chief Medical Officer | May 17, 2021
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the greatest challenges we have faced, but we can be proud that through our combined efforts and adherence to the university’s health and safety guidelines, Texas State University completed both the fall and spring semesters with minimal disruption and no outbreaks on our campuses. Across Texas, COVID-19 cases, positivity rates, hospitalizations and deaths continue to steadily decrease. Our prevention efforts are beginning to pay off.
FACE COVERINGS STILL REQUIRED INDOORS; NO LONGER REQUIRED OUTDOORS
Last week, the CDC issued new recommendations for fully vaccinated persons including not wearing face coverings indoors or outdoors. After considering the scientific data and the new CDC recommendations, the university has decided:
- Face coverings and physical distancing will continue to be required indoors on our campuses
- Effective today, face coverings will no longer be required outdoors
- It is recommended that unvaccinated persons continue to observe all prevention measures and wear face coverings inside and outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained
The risk of COVID-19 transmission in most outdoor settings is very low, and according to the CDC, transmission indoors is about 19 times more likely than outdoors. However, in crowded outdoor settings, those who are not vaccinated or who want enhanced protection should continue wearing face coverings. This pandemic has taught us that face coverings are one of the most effective protective measures available to us and can safeguard against other respiratory infections such as the flu.
TEXAS STATE WILL CONTINUE VACCINATIONS
Vaccination for COVID-19 is the best way to bring this pandemic to an end. Fully vaccinated persons do not have to:
- Wear face coverings indoors and outdoors in most settings, except where required by federal law, Texas State University policy, or local business or workplace policies
- Test after exposure to a positive COVID-19 case
- Quarantine after exposure to a positive COVID-19 case
- Test before or after travel unless required by the destination
Currently, only about 42% of Texans 16 and older are fully vaccinated. Getting more persons vaccinated will create a safer environment for all of us and lead to additional relaxing of prevention measures. Texas State will continue providing vaccinations on its San Marcos campus. Beginning May 24th, faculty, staff or students wanting to be vaccinated can call the Student Health Center at 512-245-2161 to schedule an appointment. Vaccinations will be available Monday – Friday. Announcements will be sent to the university community when additional mass vaccination events are scheduled during the summer and fall. For more information about where to find vaccine, check Texas Vaccine Finder or CDC Vaccine Finder.
COVID-19 TESTING STILL IMPORTANT
Studies have shown that a significant proportion of persons infected with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic and not know they are infected. COVID-19 testing remains an important part of our strategy to bring the pandemic to an end. Periodic testing, especially for those not vaccinated, can help detect asymptomatic cases of infection and break the chain of transmission. Free COVID-19 testing will be available on the San Marcos campus and at testing locations near the Round Rock campus. Please check TXST COVID-19 Testing for more information. If you have a positive test, please follow CDC guidance on isolation and report to Bobcat Trace as soon as possible.
PREVENTION MEASURES WILL BE ADJUSTED AS CONDITIONS PERMIT
As more persons get fully vaccinated and COVID-19 transmission levels decrease and barring any COVID-19 surges, it is likely the CDC will continue to relax prevention measures. The university will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and review new CDC guidance when it becomes available. The health and safety of the university community is a top priority. We all look forward to a more normal fall semester. The best way to get there is to vaccinate. After more than 272 million doses of vaccines administered in the U.S., the data continues to show that the vaccines are safe and highly effective. SO, LET’S VACCINATE TEXAS STATE!
Dr. Emilio Carranco
Chief Medical Officer
Director, Student Health Center