Dec. 9, 2020
Even in a good year, the holidays can be a challenge. What do you get for that special someone? How much time do you spend with friends? Should you try the fruitcake? For obvious reasons this year raises a whole new barrage of even greater issues: How do you know when it’s safe to travel? What can you do to stay safe at home?
The good news? You’re not in this alone. With the holidays quickly approaching, Show Me Mizzou is here with safety and travel guidelines for the MU community.
As always, keep your circle small. The safest way to celebrate is with people who live in your household, or virtually with other friends and loved ones. Plan your holiday in a way that minimizes travel and avoids large gatherings. You can also enjoy the holiday season during COVID-19 with these safety tips shared by MU health psychology expert Kimberly Kimchi.
Because traveling can increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19, postponing your trip and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others during the holidays. If you are still considering travel, take these precautions:
- Plan before you go: Make sure you review data on the prevalence of COVID-19 in Columbia/Boone County and your final destination.
- Don’t get caught in any red tape: If you are traveling outside of Missouri, be sure to take extra precautions and make sure you review the regulations governing travel to your destination. Some states might require the completion of a travelers’ form prior to arrival, along with specific restrictions and testing requirements after arrival.
- Limit social contacts: Worried about keeping everyone healthy at home? Plan ahead and limit your social contacts for at least two weeks prior to leaving home. Any exposure could disrupt your travel plans, so reduce the number of people you have close contact with prior to your trip.
- Don’t take the virus with you: Delay your travel if you feel sick, have been diagnosed with or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Always follow your health care provider’s guidance regarding recommended isolation/quarantine periods and when travel can be resumed.
- Take the shortest way home: Take a direct flight if possible, and if driving, pack food/snacks to reduce the number of stops you have to make.
- Show Me Renewal on the road: Take safety precautions during travel, especially if you’re using public transportation. Wear a face covering at all times and stay at least 6 feet away from others. If this isn’t possible, sit as far away from other passengers as possible. Carry and use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) frequently.
- Plan on some “me” time: The least risky option is private transportation by yourself. If you’re a passenger in a car with others outside your household, wear a mask and sit in the back seat. If weather conditions permit, open the windows.
- Keep it clean: Use disinfecting/sanitizing wipes to clean touchable surfaces in whatever form of transportation you’re using.
For additional travel tips, see the CDC’s travel guidelines.
Reduce risk for your return to work
As MU faculty and staff return to the workplace after the holidays, current Show Me Renewal precautions and updated CDC guidance can help keep the community safe:
- Monitor for symptoms: Faculty, staff and students are required to monitor their health on a daily basis. To help support this healthy habit, download the #CampusClear app on your smartphone if you haven’t already.
- Stay home when needed: If you are feeling unwell, experiencing any unusual symptoms that may be related to COVID-19 or if you have been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19, do not come to work.
- Quarantine effectively: The full 14-day quarantine is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and is still the safest option. New CDC guidelines indicate additional options to reduce quarantine timelines for contacts of those diagnosed with COVID-19. Follow your health care provider’s guidance regarding isolation/quarantine periods.
- As always, maintain social distancing, wear your face covering and follow other Show Me Renewal guidelines.
Self-care and mental health
Try to eat healthy foods, drink lots of water, exercise and get plenty of sleep. Take time for relaxing activities like puzzles, arts and crafts, or baking. Remember, Mizzou is here for you. Students can take advantage of the MU Wellness Resource Center and Counseling Center, university employees have access to the Employee Assistance Program and everyone with a university email address can use the Sanvello app for free.
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