Important COVID-19 holiday information
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
As we near the completion of on-campus instruction on Wednesday, Nov. 25, Baylor University will be offering voluntary COVID-19 rapid testing at no cost for all students, faculty and staff before departing campus for the Thanksgiving holidays and the rest of the Fall semester. We encourage you to take advantage of this testing opportunity, especially if you plan to travel or gather with family or friends.
As you think about your Thanksgiving plans related to COVID-19, please be aware that COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations are spreading rapidly across the country and Texas and within Waco and McLennan County. Our campus has recently experienced a steady increase of cases since the end of October, including more than 100 active cases over the past several days for the first time since mid-September.
While students should continue with their normal class routines, we urge everyone to be tested, limit your social interactions from now through Thanksgiving and be even more vigilant in your efforts to minimize viral spread through masking, distancing, avoiding crowds and handwashing.
Rapid Testing Available Before Thanksgiving for All Students, Faculty and Staff
Baylor Health Services will be offering voluntary COVID-19 rapid testing at no cost for all students, faculty and staff from Monday, Nov. 23, through Wednesday, Nov. 25. Results are expected to be available within an hour after testing. Please note: The cost of the test will be billed to your insurance provider, with the University covering the remainder.
To schedule an appointment, go to www.baylor.edu/healthservices and log in to the Health Portal using your BaylorID. Click the "Appointment" link on the menu. Select "COVID-19 Screening" as the appointment type. This rapid testing will be held at the North Village Respiratory Clinic.
Before your testing appointment, you will need to complete the following forms by selecting "Forms" on the menu.
- COVID-19 Screening Form
- Health Center Treatment Agreement
- Health Center Privacy Notice
Remember that a negative test is not a license to end other preventative measures such as mask wearing and physical distancing. The test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing. In addition to testing before travel, health officials urge students and employees to get tested after they complete their travel.
The University recommends that students who are in Isolation or Quarantine over Thanksgiving remain in isolation housing or their on- or off-campus residences until they have completed their 10-day period in Isolation or 14-day period in Quarantine and are cleared by Baylor Health Services. Also, students who are ill should not travel.
For on-campus residential students who may be in Isolation or Quarantine over Thanksgiving, Baylor will continue to provide isolation housing and wraparound support so students can later return safely to their families in their home communities. Isolation/Quarantine resources and policies are available on the Health Services website.
If You Are Traveling, Have a Plan
Travel is known to increase risk of getting and spreading COVID-19, so it's important to minimize your risk now prior to travel:
- Reduce the number of close contacts outside your immediate household or roommates.
- Delay travel if you are sick or exposed.
- If driving, pack food/snacks and avoid crowded stops.
- Take safety precautions (mask, distance, avoid crowds, wash/sanitize hands frequently).
- Get your flu shot, so a flu-related illness doesn't disrupt your holiday plans.
When you arrive home, the most cautious approach is to quarantine for the first 14 days after arrival, especially if there are vulnerable, higher risk individuals living in your home. If quarantine is not possible, stay physically distant from family household members, wear a face covering and avoid close contact, including hugging and shaking hands, for the first 14 days home.
You can find additional information on travel and on safer ways to celebrate holidays with family and friends on the CDC website:
Medical and Mental Health and Well-Being While at Home
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 while at home, please contact your primary care provider.
If you are feeling sad, anxious or hopeless or if you feel emotional distress of any kind, please reach out for help or guidance from:
- Your primary care provider or psychologist/mental health clinician,
- The Baylor Counseling Center at 254-710-2467, or
- Pastoral care, which is available through Spiritual Life.
Students also can take advantage of myStrength, a behavioral health solution that includes activities to support working through challenges related to COVID-19, depression, anxiety, stress, chronic pain and other issues. Students can sign up for a free account online.
For Baylor employees, helpful resources are available through the Employee Assistance Program.
Please continue to monitor your Baylor email for additional important information regarding Health Services and surveillance testing after Thanksgiving through the end of the Fall semester and plans for required testing before the Spring 2021 semester.
Throughout the Fall, our students, faculty and staff have diligently followed preventive health measures, allowing Baylor to have a safe and healthy on-campus experience. But we cannot become complacent and let our guard down against the virus. It will take all of us doing our part to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure or infection to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe over the holidays.
Baylor COVID-19 Health Management Team