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Flu and COVID-19 Update for Winter Break

Dear Emerson Community:

As the semester comes to an end, we are thankful for your cooperation in helping to keep our community safe. We are writing today to provide guidance as you prepare for winter break and your return to campus in January. We strongly encourage you to get your flu shot and COVID-19 bivalent booster during winter break if you haven’t already. Please read all of the guidance below.  


Seasonal influenza activity remains high across the country. The symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, and sometimes body aches, headache, chills, and feeling tired. Some people also have experienced diarrhea and vomiting. You do not need to have all of the symptoms listed to have an influenza-like illness. Key indicators are a fever of 100.4° F or more and a cough or sore throat.

The CDC recommends that people stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone, without the use of fever-reducing medications, or after symptoms have improved (at least four-five days after flu symptoms started). 

We strongly encourage you to obtain the flu shot during winter break. It is not too late to get the flu shot. If you haven’t taken the flu vaccine already, various sites and clinics offer the flu vaccine. You can find a list of sites and clinics that offer the flu vaccine in your area here. Please remember, the best way to keep yourself protected this season is to obtain the flu vaccine.

In addition to obtaining your flu vaccine, the following tips can help prevent the spread of flu and other illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu virus 
  • Wear a mask around others while symptomatic.
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid close contact.

Please visit One Emerson for more information and guidelines for managing the flu. Additional information about the flu can be found at the Boston Public Health Commission’s flu website or the CDC Flu Link.

COVID-19 Bivalent Booster

During winter break, set time aside to receive your COVID-19 bivalent booster. We strongly recommend you take the COVID-19 bivalent booster for additional protection against COVID-19. As a reminder, individuals who have not obtained any previous COVID-19 boosters will need to get the COVID-19 bivalent booster to remain in compliance with the College’s vaccine requirements, since the monovalent booster is no longer available. A list of sites and clinics that offer the COVID-19 bivalent booster in your area can be found here.

Preparing for Your Return from Winter Break

For Students

We strongly encourage students to take a COVID-19 test before traveling back to Boston, but you will not need to provide the result to the College. If you are symptomatic, do not travel to campus, and seek the guidance of your primary care provider. If you test positive during the winter break, please contact your primary care provider and complete the COVID-19 Self-Report Form. If your isolation conflicts with your return to campus, students will need to contact their professors to report their absence and make arrangements for completing their studies and assignments. Students should not travel to campus while in the isolation period. If you have any questions, please contact

For Faculty and Staff 

If you test positive during the winter break or become symptomatic when you are scheduled to return to campus, please contact your primary care provider and notify your manager or supervisor. If you have any questions, please contact

As always, we will continue to update you over the coming weeks and during winter break to ensure our community is prepared for a safe and healthy return to campus.

We hope you enjoy your winter break and look forward to seeing you back on campus.

Stay Well, 
Christina Paris
Associate Director of Community Health and Engagement 
Emerson Wellness Center

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