Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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COVID-19 Protocol is Nothing to Cough at

Karleigh Johnson
Winona State University Student poses for a photo, wearing a mask before safely accessing the dining hall.

COVID-19 used to be on everybody’s mind. Whether it be a trip to the grocery store, going out to get the mail, or even taking a walk outside, we were all wary of the world we share with others. Spring of 2020 caused the initial whirlwind of confusion as to how COVID itself might spread, and due to the rise of the pandemic, many public spaces closed, including the Winona State University Campus.

Connie Kamara, Director of Health & Wellness Services described the protocols at the time, in which students had to isolate for 10 days if they were COVID positive, and quarantine for 14 days if exposed.

“Campus shut down in the beginning with all students sent home for the remainder of the spring semester in 2020,” Kamara said. “These protocols were set by the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health. We also had to track the numbers of positive and report to the Department of Health at this time.”

Fast forward to 2023, campus life is back to normal and COVID seems to have become something of the past, even though many students are still coming down with the virus. Kamara described that there is no longer meticulous tracking and reporting as of 2023.

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“There are recommendations to be vaccinated, to isolate for 5 days if positive and mask for an additional 5,” Kamara said.

Sophia Sailer, a fourth-year student at Winona State came down with COVID on Nov. 3 of this fall semester.

“I took a test at home, and it was negative but I had a feeling since I’ve had it before and it felt this exact way so I took another test and it was positive,” Sailer said.

Although some protocols were clear while isolating from others, other factors of campus life seemed to be uncharted territory. Sailer lives on campus, and luckily has a single dorm with no roommate.

I asked Sailer if Winona State was helpful and clear about protocols during isolation.

“Overall, yes, they told me how long to stay indoors and to be masked and such, but for some reason there was zero info on how to get food,” Sailer said.

For students who choose campus housing, the dining hall is essential for convenient and on-location access to food. While it may have been shut down during the height of the pandemic, the dining hall now swarms with a constant flow of students in and out.

Kamara described that for students who are sick it would be best to be in touch with Dining Services directly, however once students do reach out it seems there is no clear or concise protocol in place. Sailer was told that she could purchase a to-go box for $10.00.

“It’s crazy that it costs $10.00 for a to go plastic box at Jack Kane. I pay for a meal plan there for a reason, why are you making me pay,” Sailer said.

Sailer eventually found out that students are able to request sick meals through the GET mobile app that Winona State uses. This was by far the safest and most preventative measure Sailer could take as far as precautions while on campus.

While this option was not easily advertised, for those who are sick and living on campus, the GET mobile app may be your best choice in keeping others safe.

While protocols are ever-changing, always be in touch with your professors along with dining and housing services to figure out your best plan to stay safe, especially while COVID still spreads.

“I mean people have just stopped caring. I doubt most students still tell Winona State when they have it and probably don’t mask. It’s hard to say what the best route is when no one cares anymore,” Sailer said.

Kamara explained that students can always access the Health and Wellness center in the IWC which offers multiple services, including vaccinations. Do not hesitate to wear a mask while sick or while around others who are sick, and always feel free to receive assistance through the convenient Ask-A-Nurse service.

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About the Contributor
Karleigh Johnson, News Reporter
Karleigh Johnson (she/her/hers) is a reporter for the Winonan as of fall 2023. She started off at North Hennepin Community College and transferred to Winona State University in her third year to Major in Creative Digital Media and Minor in both Film Studies and Spanish. 
After attending Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion, Karleigh continues to have a passion for the Spanish language and culture. She studied in Spain through Winona State University in May of 2023. Karleigh enjoys travel, art, writing, photography and videomaking. 
Karleigh participated in the Disney College Program in Spring 2022 and became a Disney Trainer. After graduation, she hopes to return to Disney by working for one of the many media and entertainment companies Disney owns. Her dream is to write her own television show inspired by comedic styles of The Office, Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development, and many others.

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