Dear Mason Patriots,
Student Health Services (SHS) remains committed to supporting the health of students during this time of unprecedented university operational changes. Information in this email will help students understand how to care for their health if concerned about a potential exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) or have symptoms of respiratory illness.
While the best way to help prevent the spread of illness is through keeping physical distance from others, remember to stay socially connected with friends and family through video chat, phone, apps, or other means during this time. Continue social distancing, take everyday precautions like washing hands to prevent the spread of illness, and stay informed about COVID-19 using credible sources, such as the main George Mason University coronavirus website, the local health department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).
If You Have Been Exposed to Coronavirus
If you have a fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or shortness of breath, and think you have been exposed to coronavirus, call your primary healthcare provider for advice and guidance. Stay home, and call your provider before going to the clinic.
Follow the instructions of your healthcare provider or local health department. You may be asked to self-isolate or self-quarantine (stay home and avoid contact with others) and monitor your health. Most people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. The CDC has information on how to protect yourself and others if you are sick and ways to manage your symptoms at home: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/index.html
If you have concerns that you have been exposed to COVID-19 but you do not have any symptoms, call your primary healthcare provider for guidance. Your healthcare provider can evaluate your risk and tell you precautions to take to protect your health and the health of others. This might include self-monitoring for development of symptoms for 14 days.
If you are a student and you were told by your healthcare provider or health department that you may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to COVID-19, please complete a voluntary self-report form in our secure, online Patient Portal. This information goes directly to Student Health Services and SHS staff will follow-up with you if necessary during operating hours. If you are having symptoms, do not use this portal, please call.
Who to Call for Health Questions
If you are a Mason student and have returned to your permanent residence, call your local primary care provider. Your local healthcare provider will best understand the risks of coronavirus in your community and can help determine whether you need further evaluation or testing. They may tell you to manage your care from home. Most people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home.
Students living on-campus or those living locally for whom Student Health Services is their primary care provider, can call Student Health (703-993-2831) during our open hours for guidance. After-hours, there is a nurse advice phone service available.
Students who do not have a local healthcare provider can call Student Health (703-993-2831) during open hours for guidance. You can also call a local urgent care or primary care clinic.
Call First, Do NOT Walk-In
Call before going to a doctors’ office or healthcare facility if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Calling ahead allows healthcare workers to take appropriate precautions to help reduce the spread of illness before your arrival.
You should not go to an emergency room unless it is an emergency, for example, you are having difficulty breathing. If you need to go to the emergency room, and you have symptoms and a known exposure, you must call ahead to ensure proper infection control protocols are in place before you arrive.
Emergency Symptoms of COVID-19
If you develop any of the following severe symptoms of COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Call 911 and tell them you may have COVID-19 so they are able to take precautions. Some emergency warning signs include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
These are uncertain times and the situation continues to evolve. Our dedicated, compassionate team at Student Health Services is here to support our students. We believe that working together as a community, we will be able to successfully adapt, and come out stronger and more resilient than ever before.
Lisa L. Park, MD, MPH
Executive Director, Student Health Services