FAQ

Basic COVID-19 FAQ

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 has now infected more than 35 million Americans and claimed the lives of more than 600,000. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Older people and those who have certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Vaccines against COVID-19 are safe and effective.

COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected.

COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:

  • Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
  • Having these small droplets and particles that contain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
  • Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Get vaccinated
  • Wear a mask
  • Stay 3 to 6 feet away from others
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces
  • Wash your hands often with soap
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Monitor your health daily

Any employee that tests positive for COVID-19 must report that to Human Resources and will be required to isolate for at least 10 days from the date of the result, unless they are fully vaccinated and completely asymptomatic at which case they must isolate for 5 days.  The isolated employee works remotely if possible and is not too sick to work.  Otherwise, the employee must use sick/vacation if available and FMLA if eligible.

For purposes of this Policy, fully vaccinated is defined as:

  1. Received a COVID-19 booster shot after previously receiving either both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine;
  2. Not received a COVID-19 booster shot but have received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine less than 6 months ago or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine less than 2 months ago; or
  3. Not received a COVID-19 booster shot but have received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 less than 90 days ago. 

 

EMPLOYEES WHO ARE FULLY VACCINATED

  • Employee showing symptoms (below) but fever-free and not too sick to work are required to wear face coverings for 10 days or until the employee tests negative for COVID-19 (testing is recommended).   
  • Employees who have been identified as having direct exposure to COVID-19 is required to wear face covering for 10 days from date of exposure or until the employee tests negative for COVID-19 (testing is recommended).
  • Employee has been identified as having direct exposure and showing symptoms (below) must isolated for 10 days or until the employee tests negative for COVID-19 (testing is recommended).  The employee works remotely if possible and not too sick to work.  Otherwise, the employee must use sick/vacation if available and FMLA if eligible. 

 

EMPLOYEES WHO ARE NOT FULLY VACCINATED 

  • Employees showing symptoms (below) are required to be isolated from campus for 10 days or until the employee tests negative for COVID-19 (testing is recommended).  If an employee is able to work remotely and is not too sick to work, the employee is expected to do so. Otherwise, the employee must use sick/vacation if available and FMLA if eligible. 
  • Employees who have been identified as having a direct exposure to COVID-19 are required to be isolated from campus for 10 days or until the employee tests negative for COVID-19 (testing is recommended).  If an employee is able to work remotely and not too sick to work, the employee is expected to do so.  Otherwise, the employee must use sick/vacation if available and FMLA if eligible. 

 

EMPLOYEES WHO ARE SICK (for any reason, regardless of COVID-19)

  • Employees feeling ill cannot report to work and should utilize sick days, if any, or vacation days.  Supervisors are expected to not allow any employee to report to work, or send them home, if the supervisor believes the employee is too sick to work or learns the employee has any of the following symptoms:
    • Fever or chills
    • Vomiting 
    • Diarrhea
    • Other sick or flu-like symptoms

 

COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

COVID-19 Variants FAQ

Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants persist. Numerous variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are being tracked in the United States and globally during this pandemic. 

Variants are expected. The best way to slow the emergence of new variants is to reduce the spread of infection by taking measures to protect yourself including getting a COVID-19 vaccine when available. All COVID-19 tests can detect all variants, but they will not tell you which variant you have.

Scientists monitor all variants but may classify certain ones as variants of interest, concern, or high consequence based on how easily they spread, how severe their symptoms are, and how they are treated. Some variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on healthcare resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.

Delta is currently the predominant strain of the virus in the United States. Below is a summary of what CDC scientists have recently learned about the Delta variant.

  • The Delta variant is more contagious: The Delta variant is highly contagious, more than 2x as contagious as previous variants.
  • Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated persons. 
  • Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern: Although breakthrough infections happen much less often than infections in unvaccinated people, individuals infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit it to others. CDC is continuing to assess data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit. However, the greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to contract, and therefore transmit the virus.
  • Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to be infectious for a shorter period.

The COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are highly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant. But they are not 100% effective and some fully vaccinated people will become infected (called a breakthrough infection) and experience illness. For such people, the vaccine still provides them strong protection against serious illness and death.

Per the CDC, Given what we know about the Delta variant, vaccine effectiveness, and current vaccine coverage, layered prevention strategies, such as wearing masks, are needed to reduce the transmission of this variant.

Vaccines are playing a crucial role in limiting spread of the virus and minimizing severe disease. Although vaccines are highly effective, they are not perfect and there will be vaccine breakthrough infections. Millions of Americans are vaccinated, and that number is growing. This means that even though the risk of breakthrough infections is low, there will be thousands of fully vaccinated people who become infected and able to infect others, especially with the surging spread of the Delta variant. Low vaccination coverage in many communities is driving the current rapid and large surge in cases associated with the Delta variant, which also increases the chances that even more concerning variants could emerge.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Rigorous clinical trials have found that the vaccines currently available in the United States are more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 and are important tools to stop the pandemic. 

Additionally, the COVID-19 vaccines may help protect you from getting severely sick even if you do get COVID-19. The more people who get vaccinated, the closer we get to having most people protected from COVID-19. Get the vaccine when it is available to you.

Source: FEMA, CDC

No. None of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, so you cannot get the virus or the disease it causes from the vaccine. Having symptoms like fever after you get a vaccine is normal and a sign your immune system is learning to fight the virus. Visit the CDC Coronavirus page to learn more about the facts behind COVID-19 vaccines.

Source: FEMA, CDC

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA). 

Over 351 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the United States from December 14, 2020, through August 9, 2021 under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.  

Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the FDA required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose. Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected. CDC continues to closely monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. 

Source: CDC

Even if you’re vaccinated, it is possible that you might still get COVID-19 and pass it on to those who are unvaccinated. Until experts understand more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions, you should continue to follow CDC recommendations on how to protect yourself and others from getting the virus.

Source: FEMA, CDC

Valparaiso University is requiring campus constituents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to protect the health and safety of University students, faculty, staff, and the community. The vaccines are scientifically proven to be an effective way to prevent COVID-19.

Students who fail to complete a vaccination program will not be allowed to attend classes (including any virtual or zoom access) and it will be considered an unexcused absence. Student athletes will not be allowed to participate in any team-related activities including practices and game play. Faculty and staff who fail to comply will no longer be eligible for employment at Valparaiso University.

Student may submit a scanned copy of their vaccination card at covidshot@valpo.edu; Faculty and Staff may submit their information at forms.gle/B99AMqm8CVSzrxSHA

Medical and religious exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students who need to request a medical or religious exemption can email covidshot@valpo.edu. Faculty and staff can go to the appropriate links on the Human Resources intranet to upload supporting documentation.

Anyone who qualifies for an exemption may be subject to regular COVID-19 testing, isolation, quarantine, or other measures consistent with CDC guidance.

COVID-19 Booster FAQ

The University is requiring all eligible faculty and staff and students to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine booster, in accordance with the eligibility criteria. Faculty and staff are required to have this completed by January 17, 2022. Students are required to have this completed by February 28, 2022.  Those that become eligible after that date will be expected to receive their booster shot within 10 days of their eligibility.

During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has made decisions based on the best possible information in a difficult and dynamic environment.  The priority is keeping our students, employees, and campus safe.  The recent emergence of the contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 and continued concerns with the Delta variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccinations and booster shots.  According to experts, vaccinations are the absolute best defense against serious COVID-19 illness.  On Monday, November 29, 2021, the CDC significantly intensified recommendations on COVID-19 boosters for those 18 years and older.  Per the recommendation, a booster shot is needed 6 months after an initial Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series, or 2 months after a J&J vaccine. 

Based on the available information and recommendations, and in the interest of maintaining safety, as well as our ability to continue to hold normal campus operations and programs, the University is requiring a COVID-19 vaccine booster for all students, faculty, and staff.

Any individual who is over the age of 12 and has completed a COVID-19 vaccination series five months ago for Moderna or Pfizer, or two months ago for Johnson & Johnson. 

Students who have already received an approved University exemption from the initial vaccination requirement may maintain the exemption.  Please note that exempted students will continue to be required to wear a mask at all times on campus and be subject to regular testing. 

Students who recently completed the COVID-19 vaccination process and are not eligible for the COVID-19 booster prior to February 28, 2021 will be required to obtain a booster within 10-days of the date of their eligibility which is five months after a moderna or Pfizer vaccine series or 2 months after a Johnson & Johnson shot, and report the booster then to the University on the portal.

Individuals who completed a COVID vaccination series who became positive for COVID-19 are eligible to get their COVID booster once their symptoms have resolved, they’ve met the criteria to end isolation, and the recommended time has elapsed since their primary COVID-19 vaccination series.

Booster shots are readily available now with no out of pocket cost at major pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, and retail pharmacies like Walmart and Mejier. Eligible individuals can visit specific pharmacy websites to schedule an appointment or visit vaccines.gov for a complete list of options in the area of your choice. 

An individual may get either the Pfizer or Moderna booster shot regardless of the type of vaccine received during their initial vaccination.  

Students may upload and document their booster via the same portal used to submit flu shot information at Valpo Vaccine Verification portal.