By Kiahna Garcia Skyline Health Correspondent
Del Rio- Jan. 25, Sul Ross State University in Alpine resumed its in-person classes for the Spring 2021 semester, while its Rio Grande College campuses remain in online instruction protocols. Since its last update on Feb. 5, Sul Ross reports 12 active COVID-19 cases between its students and faculty, with a cumulative total of 30 cases this spring.
As in-person classes have begun and cases have slightly risen, there have been concerns about how Sul Ross will protect the health of its students and faculty. Michael Pacheco, Sul Ross State University Chief of Staff, said, “Classes and buildings are being cleaned throughout the day, we are providing hand sanitizer throughout campus, requiring masks when indoors or in groups. We need each person to take advantage of all the things we are offering and practice what they have been hearing since the summer to make sure they stay safe.”
To further ensure the safety of its students and staff, classrooms will have a size limit to encourage physical distancing. “Rooms have been counted and adjusted to make sure distancing takes place. Due to the physical size and layout of each room, the number allowed will be different for each case,” said Pacheco.
To help slow the spread, Sul Ross students and faculty are greatly encouraged to follow the CDC’s guidelines when returning to work/school. https://bit.ly/2MmM59h
1. Stay home when needed.
The CDC states, “If you have or think you have symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, stay home and find out what to do if you are sick and find out when you can be around others.” Sul Ross students and faculty should log into their account and fill out this Self-Report Form if they relate to any information mentioned above. https://srinfo.sulross.edu/covid-19/self-report/
2. Monitor your health.
If you think you might have COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, nausea, sore throat, loss of taste/smell, etc.), Sul Ross offers FREE COVID-19 testing at the Gallego Center twice a week from 9:00-11:30 a.m. (look for Michael Pacheco’s emails for the dates in your Sul Ross inbox). The only thing you need to bring is your driver’s license.
3. Wear a mask.
When you enter Sul Ross premises, you are required to wear a face mask. Even when you leave Sul Ross, by Texas law, Executive Order GA-29, you are required to wear a face mask. Brewster and Presidio Counties are not exempt from this law, based on case numbers.
4. Social distance in shared spaces.
The CDC states, “Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between you and others. COVID-19 spreads between people who are within 6 feet of each other.”
5. Wash your hands often.
Sul Ross offers sanitizer available to students and faculty. However, remember to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and don’t forget the thumbs.
6. Cover your coughs and sneezes.
If you have to take off your face mask to sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue or sneeze inside your shirt. Do not take off your mask to sneeze and do not cough or sneeze in your hands.
7. Avoid sharing objects and equipment.
Avoid using other peoples’ phones, pencils, pens, tablet devices, or anything that can easily be contaminated. If you have to use somebody else’s things, the CDC recommends to “clean and disinfect before and after use.”
8. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects
Sul Ross’s classrooms and buildings will be cleaned throughout the day, but you should still disinfect your phones, laptops, other electronic devices, or stationery supplies that touched any surfaces while on campus.