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Your Wellness is a Priority
We know the COVID-19 and racism pandemics continue to cause much disruption and uncertainty. Together, and through communicating our successes and challenges, we will work to find answers to questions and help you continue in your graduate studies.
Key resources you rely on to support your wellness on campus are great assets as we work to cope with the stress and uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Check out the latest updates for the Counseling Center and Health Center. Please also check out the list of resources from UMatter available at https://olemiss.box.com/s/2y6zp8dt44hnrt7mssrny6huv8lu3rt5 (the Health & Wellness and COVID-19 Hotlines sections list a number of other resources). The Food Bank is also open and operating for members of the campus community.
Similarly, there are some excellent resources to help you stay current on local and national efforts to promote safety and wellness related to COVID-19 as we attempt to contain the virus.
Local, State, and National Resources
We recognize that our international community may have specific questions related to travel and Visa status. Check out the Office of Global Engagement FAQs.
What do terms self-monitor, quarantine and isolation mean?
- Self-monitoring means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.
- Quarantine in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.
- Isolation means the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health order.
How Do I Reduce the Likelihood of Becoming Sick?
The CDC provides current updates related to COVID-19. Their website offers guidance to reduce the likelihood of getting sick through reducing exposure and practicing good hygiene. It is important to continue to monitor sources like the CDC for information on reducing the likelihood of exposure to and spread of COVID-19. It is also important to know the symptoms most commonly associated with COVID-19.
What if I Feel Sick?
Guidance for students and employees of UM who feel ill can be found at the Office of the Provost webpage with Updates on COVID-19. It is important that you contact your health care provider and do not come to campus if you feel ill. We encourage all members of the campus community to complete the UM COVID-19 Daily Symptom Checker. In the Graduate School, we know that the need to prioritize safety and have people remain at home when they feel ill will mean some students miss class and we encourage instructors to be flexible with these given the priority of keeping others safe.
What if I Do Not Feel Safe At Home During Shelter-In-Place Orders?
The Violence Prevention Program is available for all students who have experienced any type of sexual violence (sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, or stalking) before or during their time at UM. During stressful times, and when people are more isolated, PTSD symptoms can worsen. In addition, intimate partner violence increases during times of stress and isolation. If you have an emergency please call 911. If you’d like to talk with a confidential advocate please call 662-915-1059 or email Shelli Poole (firstname.lastname@example.org) to set up a phone or web session. We can help you make a safety plan, be placed in a safe room or shelter, initiate a protection order, and provide academic and other support.
Managing Stress and Emotional Well-being
The disruption from our normal routine, uncertainty, trauma, and threats to health and well-being we are currently experiencing can create an emotional strain. Taking steps to support our emotional well-being will be a critical part of responding to challenges we face.
Significant campus and academic decisions are being made in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The necessary steps to promote health and safety may cause graduate students to experience enormous pressure from global uncertainty, isolation, semester deadlines, and family/health concerns. All graduate students should be aware: help is available free of charge even if university facilities are not available. The National Grad Crisis-Line is staffed by trained counselors who understand unique grad struggles. 877-GRAD-HLP (877-472-3457) is a supplement to the existing mental health services on campus. For additional information, visit www.GradResources.org.
In addition to resources at the Counseling Center and the hotline above, there are some national resources available. A number of professional mental and behavioral health organizations are sharing their expertise for how we can best cope with the stress and emotional challenges caused by the racism and COVID-19 pandemics.
The American Psychological Association (APA) offers some tips on promoting emotional wellness while expressing anger at the ways racism continues to impact members of our community in this article entitled, We Must Unmute. The APA also offers tips on practicing social distancing in this web article on Keeping Your Distance to Stay Safe. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also has some suggestions, based on research, for dealing with stress related to COVID-19.
Working remotely continues to create challenges for some members of our campus community and its effects are magnified by inequities. The APA provides suggestions for newly remote workers and the UM Keep Teaching and Keep Learning websites provide resources for UM instructors and students.
Part of emotional well-being also means attending to your needs for self-care. Self-care includes things like adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and more. During times of stress, relaxation, movement and exercise can also offer emotional benefits that support self-care beyond their physical benefits. Now is a great time to test out a new app or use YouTube to find ways you can attend to your physical wellness at home, as you follow the advice of your physician. The UM Assistant Director of the Department of Campus Recreation also suggests there are excellent ways to exercise while practicing social distancing.
In addition, the APA’s Center for Workplace Mental Health reminds us that social distancing does not mean social isolation. Graduate students can use tools like Zoom and Google Meet (attached to your GO account) to connect socially while practicing social distance. It is important to continue to nurture your needs for connection whether that be through a Netflix Party,* creating or joining a book club as described by one graduate student, virtual dinner with friends using tools like Zoom and Google Meet, and use of video chat on the phone to e-connect one-on-one. For other ideas, check out this resource for creative ways to reach out.
We know many of our graduate students are also parents, working to support and help their children manage the stress associated with COVID-19. Magination Press has some video resources available for families to help children cope with a range of feelings.
For a selection of virtual, enrichment experiences that you can participate in from the comfort of your home, please check out this link https://www.brookdalecc.edu/student-life-activities/student-life-virtual-activities/.
We invite you to share your tips for connecting while practicing appropriate social distancing on social media. Don’t forget to like and follow the Graduate School at https://twitter.com/UnivMSGraduate, https://www.facebook.com/UMsGradSchool/ and http://www.instagram.com/umgradschool.
*Netflix Party for Chrome extension lets you watch Netflix with friends in a chatroom https://www.netflixparty.com/
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