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Influenza and COVID-19 Prevention and Policy

The Mount strives to keep our entire community safe and take the proper precautions to ensure a healthy environment. To prevent widespread illness, the university follows federal and state recommendations.

The university, including faculty, staff, and administration, will work with students who need to go home due to a diagnosed illness.

As a primarily residential institution, it is nearly impossible for the university’s students to self-quarantine themselves in a university residence hall. As a result, the university leans on guidance from the CDC.

CDC Recommendations

As of March 1, 2024, the CDC has revised its recommendations for protecting individuals and communities from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. This update brings a unified approach to addressing risks from common respiratory viral illnesses such as COVID-19, flu, and RSV. The CDC is making these updates now due to the significant decrease in hospitalizations and deaths associated with COVID-19 and the availability of more tools to combat flu, COVID-19, and RSV. The key points of the updated guidance are as follows:

  • If you get sick with a respiratory virus, including COVID-19, isolate from fellow staff and students as much as possible for at least 24-hours. Notify your instructors as soon as possible of any absences that may occur due to illness. If you have medical documentation of your illness, please email the Associate Provost office at associateprovost@msmary.edu and include this documentation to request an excused absence. Excused absences are not guaranteed. Students should refer to each instructor’s syllabus for further information.
  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are no longer required to undergo a 5-day quarantine period if they meet certain criteria.
  • You can return to classes when both of the following conditions are met for at least 24 hours:
    • Your symptoms are improving overall (including but not limited to, chest discomfort, chills, cough, diarrhea, fever or feeling feverish, headache, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, vomiting, weakness, wheezing).
    • You have been fever-free at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication).
  • Students are encouraged to take additional prevention strategies for the next 5 days, such as enhancing hygiene practices, wearing well-fitting masks, maintaining distance from others, and/or getting tested for respiratory viruses.
  • There are special considerations for people with certain high-risk factors for severe illness: CDC Guidance for High-Risk Individuals.

In addition, the CDC provides active recommendations on core prevention steps and strategies:

  • Staying up to date with vaccinations to protect people against serious illness, hospitalization, and death. This includes flu, COVID-19, and RSV if eligible.
  • Practicing good hygiene by covering coughs and sneezes, washing or sanitizing hands often, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.
  • Taking steps for cleaner air, such as bringing in more fresh outside air, purifying indoor air, or gathering outdoors.

Reduce Your Chances of Getting the Flu or COVID-19

Vaccination is the best protection. Mount St. Mary’s University has partnered with Frederick Regional Health Services at the Frederick Health Urgent Care Emmitsburg. To learn more about their services and additional resources, please visit the Health Services portion of our site.