Being careful is great, but GS’ medical director says “Vaccination is the primary means to end this pandemic”

University System of Georgia’s Aaron Diamant, and Georgia Southern Medical Director Dr. Brian Deloach clarify COVID-19 questions

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Aaron Diamant, the Vice Chancellor of Communications at University System of Georgia (USG), spoke about USG guidelines on masks and vaccinations.

Georgia Southern Medical Director, Dr. Brian Deloach, answered questions about university policy on masking, social distancing and vaccination as well as where the university is getting their guidelines from and what other measures students can take to protect themselves against illness.

Georgia Southern does not mandate students, faculty or staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine to participate in co-curricular activities, attend classes, or live on campus. However, partnering organizations may require students to show proof of vaccination in order to complete their internship, externship, and study abroad programs.

“While we urge vaccination for everyone, we recognize it is an individual decision to receive one and not required to be on our campuses,” Aaron Diamant, the Vice Chancellor of Communications at the University System of Georgia, said.

The university does not require face coverings or masks except inside the Health Center, the intercampus shuttle and the football game day shuttle.

The university strongly encourages students to wear a mask even if they are vaccinated.

“Messaging from the Georgia Department of Public Health and CDC have specifically and repeatedly emphasized the importance of vaccination and mask use, and has made it clear that vaccination is the primary means to end this pandemic. While the other strategies I listed are important in our everyday lives, we have tried to align our messaging with GDPH and CDC in order to reinforce and support the importance of vaccination and mask use, with a special emphasis on vaccination,” Deloach said.

The Delta variant may spread faster and cause more infections than previous variants of the virus, according to recent research.

“Therefore, even if you are fully vaccinated, it is important to maximize your protection from the Delta variant and prevent the potential spread of the disease to others. Because no single intervention is perfect at preventing the spread of COVID-19, it is important that we use multiple interventions to bring an end to this pandemic,” Deloach said.

These interventions include wearing masks, social distancing, and getting vaccinated.

“We also strongly encourage everyone to wear a mask or face covering while inside campus facilities and practice the good hygiene and health habits,” Diamant said.

In addition, students can take the following steps to boost their immune system and protect themselves against illness:

  1. Washing their hands after touching shared surfaces,
  2. Avoiding touching their face
  3. Wearing a face covering when indoors and/or in large crowds
  4. Covering their coughs and sneezes with an elbow or tissue
  5. Avoiding close contact with others when they are sick
  6. Getting a good night’s sleep
  7. Exercising regularly
  8. Eating a well-balanced diet

To learn more about Fall 2021 USG guidelines, visit their website and read their Fall 2021 guidance from May 2021.

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit Georgia Southern’s COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution, read COVID-19 Vaccine Virtual Town Hall, or watch COVID Vaccines Unmasked: Questions and Answers from an Immunologist.

To learn more about how to protect yourself against COVID-19, contact the CARES center at covidsupport@georgiasouthern.edu or 912-478-CARE with your COVID-19 questions, read the Georgia Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 guidance, or visit Georgia Southern’s COVID-19 information page.

The George-Anne Inkwell will keep students updated on university COVID-19 guidance as it becomes available.