Respiratory Illnesses and MBU

Being a part of Mary Baldwin involves caring for ourselves and our community. These connections impact how we approach the cough and cold season, which usually lasts from mid- fall to early spring each year. 

Respiratory illnesses include influenza, Covid, RSV, and the common cold. 

MBU follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recommendations for preventing and managing respiratory illnesses.

  1. Prevent
    • Getting your flu shot and Covid shot every year is an important step to reduce the chances of getting sick; reduce the severity of the illness if you do get sick; and reduce the likelihood that you can transmit the virus to others.
    • Some students in particular programs/activities (for example, an internship, clinical placement, or rotation) may be required to receive these vaccinations. If you have questions, please contact your faculty advisor. 
    • Practice good hand hygiene to help prevent the spread of illness: wash your hands frequently for at least 15 seconds and/or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  1. Manage
    • Look out for symptoms of a respiratory virus, like fevers and chills, headaches, stuffy/runny nose, or a cough.
    • If you are experiencing these symptoms please take the following steps:
      • Start wearing a mask around others.
      • Stay home or in your residence hall if you have fever or chills.
      • Seek out testing if you’re able
        1. Inlfuenza and Covid tests are available at the MBU Student Health Center, a local urgent care center, or your primary care office. 
        2. Self-administered Covid tests are also available for purchase at local pharmacies.
      • Communicate with your professors and/or supervisor about your status.
        1. If a faculty member requests documentation of your excused absence, you may call the Student Health Center to ask for a form for this at 540-887-7095.
  1. When to return to class, work, or other activities 
    • If you have a respiratory virus (influenza, Covid, RSV, or the common cold), you should follow these steps:
      • Stay home until your symptoms start to improve AND you are fever free for 24 hours.
      • If you never had a fever, stay home until your symptoms start to improve, this is likely to be 48 hours after the onset.
    • When you return to class, work, or other activities, you may still be slightly contagious. MBU agrees with the CDC recommendation that you wear a mask for the next five days.

For more information and advice, visit the CDC’s information pages: respiratory virus guidance and how to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses

MBU Student Health Center: Call 540-887-7095 to make an appointment