While the rate of COVID-19 infections appears to be leveling off, officials are urging caution for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Those who canceled holiday events last year due to the pandemic may feel strongly about getting together this year, and there are things you can do to make the gatherings safer for everyone.
“I think the key is to layer as many preventative measures as possible,” said Matt Moustakas, executive director of Risk Management at Texas Woman’s. “So, get vaccinated and get the booster if you’re eligible. If you’re sick, get tested and avoid others. Use masks, especially if you’re indoors or unvaccinated.
“The CDC has a good summary page on tips for the holidays,” he added.
TWU launched a COVID-19 Proactive Testing Program in September, requiring faculty, staff, and students on all three campuses to undergo weekly testing unless they meet exemption criteria. Moustakas said weekly testing numbers hit a high of around 800, but have been declining as faculty, staff, and students continued to provide proof of vaccination. Students reached an 80% vaccination rate in the university’s Community of Immunity Challenge, which ended Nov. 2. The faculty/staff vaccination rate stood at approximately 77%.
Moustakas said all faculty, staff, and students who don’t meet the requirements for exemptions are still required to be tested weekly until further notice – including the week of Thanksgiving (Nov. 22-24).
The program also is open to others as an additional safety measure for the holidays.
“We are encouraging faculty, staff, and students who are fully vaccinated to take advantage of the testing program, especially prior to participating in family gatherings or traveling,” Moustakas said.
Tests may be scheduled at twu.mycovidappointment.com.