Winona State promotes ‘Vax-To-School’

Mitchell Prosser, news reporter

As of Aug. 12, the Winona State University Blog stated Winona County has reported 30% of reporting college-aged students–those aged 18-24 –are vaccinated.
According to the CDC, 70% of a population has to be vaccinated to continue holding large in-person activities and events, such
as large in-person classes.
With classes and events still being offered in-person at Winona State, it is questionable how long this offering can continue with the low percentage of reporting vaccinated students.
However, Winona State Health Services are offering several avenuse to try and ensure the health of students and staff on campus.
Winona State’s Ask-a-Nurse hotline is still available for students to call during weekday business hours, to ask questions regarding COVID-19 and various other health concerns.
Another option Health Services is offering is the ability to get tested, a continued offer from last school year. A new facet they are offering is walk-in appointments for the vaccine, which are stationed in the “COVID Nook” in the Integrated Wellncess Center on Main Campus. There, students can get their vaccine shots conveniently.
Along with these Health Services offerings, they are also holding pop-up COVID vaccination clinics, which allow students to get the vaccine in between classes and other activities while on campus.
While the vaccination rate in Winona County may seem low among college-aged students compared to the CDC’s proposed requirement, many more may be vaccinated than those statistics state.
Students, faculty and staff members may have gotten vaccinated while not in Winona County or the surrounding area over the summer.
Jake Anderson, a second-year nursing major, is one of those people.
“I got vaccinated at home over the summer due to the fact it was just more convenient,” Anderson said.
Students getting vaccinated in other counties causes problems for the Winona County’s statistics because the vaccination status of their students, if changed elsewhere, does not translate to Winona County’s statistics.
However, Winona State is trying to combat students’ changing vaccination status by utilizing a tool they had utilized last year for reporting COVID-positive cases.
This software is called the COVID-19 self-report, located on Winona State’s official website.
Students click on the self-report button on Winona State’s website and when the website opens, they have the option to click to report their vaccination status.
When they select to report their vaccination status, the website asks for their name, their date of the final dose of the vaccine and what vaccine the student received.
This still may causes problems to arise due to the fact many students do not know how to find this site or even know it exists.
In some students’ eyes, the unviersity has given very little communication on how to report vaccination status.
“I had no clue how to report my vaccination status and recieved little to no information from Winona State on how to report it,”
Anderson said.
Continuing, “I have been vaccinated since I was eligible to receive the vaccine, but Winona State didn’t know this because I didn’t know how to report it,” Anderson said.
Anderson also said he believes that Winona State needs to do more to ensure students report their
vaccination status.
“It is critical for us to not get shut down, students need to learn in person, but the only way to ensure we don’t get shut down is to have students report their vaccination status,” Anderson said.
Anderson also said he believes Winona State needs to do something different with the way students report their vaccines.
“There is nothing stopping students from ‘reporting their status’ when they are not vaccinated,” Anderson said.
As stated, the system only asks for your information on when you were vaccinated and what vaccine you received, but there is nowhere on the spot to submit a picture of your vaccine card for verification.
But, Winona State’s website’s main page is still boasting “Vax-to-School” to attempt to further encourage students to get vaccinated.