Current Situation
Reported Cases

If you have questions or concerns about health on campus, we encourage you to email us.

Student who have questions regarding COVID-19 reporting, quarantine, or isolation procedures, meal delivery, COVID-19 testing, or other related questions, may call the 24-hour hotline at 940-397-3019.

For information on cases in Wichita County and Texas, please see the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) for case counts by county.

 


COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Partnership

Dear Mustangs,

We are pleased to announce that MSU Texas will partner with the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Texas Military Department (TMD) to host COVID-19 vaccine clinics beginning Thursday, April 8, and continuing each Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of April as supply is available. Each vaccine clinic will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sikes Lake Center, located on the MSU Texas south campus just off of Midwestern Parkway.

Clinics will utilize same-day registration and are on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals will be asked to present identification such as a driver’s license or state-issued ID. Members of the Texas Military Department will be on site to administer the vaccines. The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be given at the first clinic (April 8).

We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the TDEM and TMD to host these clinics as we work together toward achieving herd immunity. Now that all Texans over the age of 18 are eligible to receive vaccine, these clinics will be an important step to serve our campus community, as well as our local and regional communities.

 

Keith Williamson, M.D., FAAFP
Medical Director, Midwestern State University
Vinson Health Center


Frequently Asked Questions

Information about the COVID-19 vaccine

Are the vaccines effective and safe?

There are currently two vaccines available now through emergency use authorization in December, two that will be applying for emergency use in the next month or two, and one more that looks promising after that. They are respectively Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax. All of these vaccines focus on the vulnerable spot of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID – the spike protein. The 5 vaccines are using 3 different approaches to make a vaccine: messenger RNA, viral vector, and protein particle.

Pfizer and Moderna are both messenger RNA vaccines (mRNA). The injection contains a lipid delivery package protecting a fragile strip of mRNA. The package delivers to a cell, and the cell then translates the message to make a spike protein. The body sees the foreign protein, and mounts a vigorous immune response. Then when the real virus shows up, the spike protein on the surface gets attacked rendering the virus harmless.

AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson use a second approach to attack the spike protein. They both use a harmless virus that doesn't make people sick, and using genetic technology write the code for the spike protein into the virus. The harmless, symptomless virus spreads in your body, and releases the spike protein fragments. Just as with the mRNA vaccine, the body reacts to the spike protein making your body hostile to any encounter with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The third approach as used by Johnson & Johnson is to use genetically altered micro-organisms to produce large amounts of the spike protein in the lab. The protein is collected, purified, and combined with an adjuvant (an ingredient that makes the body react more vigorously) to make the vaccine. Inject the spike protein directly without the middleman of mRNA or a viral vector, and you still get a great immune response.

Just how good the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax vaccines will be remains to be shown by their phase III trials. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both around 95% effective – which makes them among the most effective vaccines ever developed.

These vaccines are all made with technology developed in the last few years. These vaccines weren't so much rushed as they benefited from advances in molecular biology that have made them possible leading to agile and rapid response to a never before seen virus. They are both effective and safe.

How much will the vaccine cost?

The COVID-19 vaccine is free to every individual. This pandemic is a national health disaster; it effects everyone and the whole country has pitched in to pay for it.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Most people who get the vaccine will have minor side effects. Local pain and soreness is standard, and most people will feel achy and a little feverish. These side effects are signs that your body is taking the task of a good immune response seriously – they are good news. The side effects are nothing compared to the full blown disease. The most prominent side effect that isn't mentioned in the literature is the feeling of relief when you finally know you have done something that will protect you, your family, your friends, your faculty, and your country... it is finally a real step toward return to normal.

Will the vaccine be required?

Many fear and many want the vaccine to be required. Will it be mandatory? In short, no. As the vaccine was released under an emergency use authorization – not full FDA approval – it cannot be made mandatory.

When will the vaccine be available?

The question that doesn't have a solid answer is when and where the vaccine will be available. It is flippant but accurate to say it will be here as soon as possible – from President of the United States to the local doctor's office, everyone wants the vaccine to be released smoothly, predictably, and in adequate amounts to dismantle this pandemic. It is also accurate to observe that it just isn't happening. The reasons are many.

The vaccine is a precious resource that required business and government to consult a novel resource – ethicists. Words like equity, utility, reciprocity, beneficence, and non-malfeasance found their way into the discussion about where to send the vaccine, and who gets it first. The solution in the United States was to immunize those who have borne the consequences most and done the most direct service to society during a health care disaster – the health care workers.  Next, we protect those most vulnerable– the chronically ill, the immune compromised, the elderly. Third, well... that is still under discussion. It may be directed to those who are the most prolifically contagious, adults between 20 and 40. Or it may be those who are essential employees – but who makes that definition?

After the decisions are made, we still have the realities to deal with. Production falls far short of national demand. The currently available vaccines require extraordinary efforts to transport and store because they are dependent on very cold temperatures – as much as 110 F below zero. The two vaccines aren't interchangeable, both require two shots - but on a different schedule, and both require different storage and handling. It is improbably complicated.

The system that has grown up around the small supply from few suppliers reflects that scarcity. A few at the top levels of government are responsible for making state allocations, the states are responsible for enrolling providers licensed to give vaccines, and the state then divides up the weeks allocation among those able to give it. You might then think the allotment would flow from the state to the designated targets, but it doesn't. Secondary to the necessity to maintain constant cold storage, the vaccine ships directly from packaging to the target. Ultimately, this puts state government in the position of deciding whether it is more effective to send vaccine to a large entity – like the hospital or the health department – or is it effective to send it to a solo medical practice, or to a small pharmacy. The state is refining the system and that shows up in unpredictable changes week in and week out. The complexity of the system makes every level of management rigid. It could be done better – a lot better; but it could also be done a lot worse.

Will the vaccine be available at MSU Texas?

The Vinson Health Center submitted an application over three months ago. We have since upgraded equipment, added a freezer, worked with the biology department, and revised our application. Unfortunately, we wait for the campus community to be included in the target population and until the supply becomes plentiful enough to make it worthwhile to send vaccine to the Vinson Health Center. When vaccine does arrive on campus – MSU will be obligated to follow guidance from the state regarding who is eligible to be vaccinated. The Vinson Health Center is committed to protecting the campus community in the context of the larger society. We await our first shipment of vaccine, meanwhile, we partner with the hospital and with public health.

Stay the Course

Meanwhile – and you knew this was coming – wear your mask, wash your hands, keep your distance, and stay in unless you really have a need to go out. Your turn will come.
Information for Students

How will courses be delivered?

MSU Texas will resume in-person teaching and learning for the spring 2021 semester utilizing a blend of face-to-face, hybrid (combination of face-to-face instruction and online learning), and online modalities. Modifications to course delivery and classroom guidance will foster a safe environment for students and faculty.

Spring 2021 Course Listing with Modalities

What's the status of housing?

Face masks or appropriate face coverings will be required in campus buildings by all students, faculty, and staff, as outlined in the University's Facial Covering Requirement.

The on-campus living experience is a transformative part of the Mustang experience.  Physical safety and well-being remains a priority for on-campus residents. In accordance with guidance from the CDC, Residence Life & Housing has taken following steps:

  • To promote social distancing, students assigned to residence halls (Pierce, Killingsworth, Legacy or McCullough-Trigg) will be assigned a specific restroom to utilize within the community.
  • Residence hall common spaces will abide by state and local occupancy guidance; furniture in each of these spaces has been evaluated to accommodate social distancing recommendations.
  • Signage will be placed throughout residential areas to serve as reminders for social distancing and hand washing.
  • Guests are not permitted in student sleeping spaces (bedrooms). Residence hall students may host guests in community lounges. Apartment residents may have no more than one guest per resident in common areas. No overnight guests are permitted.
  • An evening and weekend cleaning crew has been established to provide additional support to disinfecting efforts in high-touch areas within residential facilities.
  • In the event of a student testing positive for COVID-19, 12 apartment units (48 beds) have been identified as a self-isolation area. Each apartment includes private bedrooms, bathroom access, a full kitchen, and laundry machines contained within the unit.
  • Housing & Dining Updates Regarding COVID-19

What precautions are being taken in dining areas?

  • All patrons and dining staff are required to wear a face covering. Patrons are encouraged to wash hands when possible; hand sanitizer is available for those unable to do so before dining.
  • All dining transactions are cashless. Patrons will need to have a meal plan (programmed on their University ID) or pay with a debit or credit card.
  • Patrons will only be served by campus dining staff. There is no self-service.
  • All condiments are individually packaged.
  • In the Clark Student Center, an additional seating area has been identified in the north end of Comanche along with additional outdoor seating.
  • To alleviate congestion in the Food Court, Grill Nation will remain closed for the Spring Semester.
  • Seating has been reconfigured to promote social distancing.
  • Additional grab-and-go options are available at Einstein’s, the Legacy Market, and Mesquite Dining Hall.
  • Work stations, service areas, and seating areas are disinfected and sanitized on a regular schedule.
  • Staff is trained in food safety regulations, and is following the COVID-19 recommendations and guidelines from the CDC and National Restaurant Association.

Do student employees continue working while courses are online?

Student employees should consult with their supervisors regarding work schedules.

Will campus activities be canceled or delayed?

Connections to student activities, organizations and leadership opportunities are important to the student experience at MSU Texas. Student events, as with other events on campus, will resume in a phased approach in accordance with the health and safety guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are committed to upholding critical safety measures emphasizing social distancing and thorough hygiene efforts. 

Learn more about Campus Life for Fall 2020 at the MSU Texas Return to Campus website.

Will Mustangs Route and MESA still provide service?

The Mustangs Shuttle and MESA continue to operate as an important transportation option for residential and commuting students at MSU Texas. Hours are as follows:

Mustangs Shuttle

  • Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Friday: 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

MESA

  • Friday-Saturday: 5-10 p.m.
  • Sunday: 2-7 p.m.

To help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, buses are currently operating at 50% occupancy. Face coverings are required at all times on the bus. Buses are disinfected multiple times daily by transportation staff.

What about drops or withdrawals?

In an effort to assist students and faculty in determining best options for the unusual circumstances experienced during the pandemic, the deadline for course drops or withdrawals has been adjusted on the 2020-21 academic calendar by University administration.

  1. The deadline to drop a course, or withdraw from the university for the regular (16 week) fall 2020 semester and part of term B (second 8 weeks) with a grade of “W” is December 4.
  2. The deadline to drop a course or withdraw if only enrolled in part of term A (first 8 weeks) of the fall 2020 semester with a grade of “W” is October 9.

Students are encouraged to work with their instructors and advisors to determine the best course of action when considering a course drop or academic withdrawal from the University.

Information for the MSU Texas Community

What preventative actions can the campus community take at this time?

Beginning July 6, 2020,  and continuing until further notice, MSU Texas is implementing a mandatory facial covering requirement for our campus community.

Face masks or appropriate face coverings will be required in campus buildings by all students, faculty, and staff.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid sharing food, beverages, and utensils. Avoid close contact with those who may be ill; stay at least six feet away. Stay home when you are sick or have flu symptoms. Cover cough/sneeze with a tissue or cough/sneeze into your elbow. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces. Get your annual flu shot.

What should I do if I feel ill?

  • If you are feeling ill and need to be seen, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. Students can make an appointment at Vinson Health Center by calling (940) 397-4231.
  • Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other healthcare facility without calling first. Your provider may need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic.
  • Telemedicine may also be available through your insurance, enabling you to consult a provider from home. Check with your health insurance provider. If you are a student enrolled in the MSU Academic Healthplans Student Health Insurance, HealthiestYou telemedicine is available for you.
  • Do not go to an emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.
  • Practice social distancing. Stay indoors and avoid contact with others, just as you would with the flu. Those with contagious diseases should stay home from work or school until they are well. People with fever, cough and respiratory issues should seek medical attention.
  • Any students who experience symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately quarantine, notify their physician, and complete the COVID-19 Reporting Form for Students. Alternatively, students may call the Office of Student Affairs at 940-397-4500. A campus contact tracer will follow up with all reporting students.

What happens if there is a confirmed case on campus?

If a COVID-19 virus infection is confirmed on campus, then the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Health District protocols will be followed. The patient will be placed in isolation and a case manager will be assigned by the Health Department. Those who have had close contact with the patient will be quarantined for observation. MSU Texas will fully support all isolation and quarantine efforts.

If I have tested positive for COVID-19 or had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, do I need a negative test result to return to campus?

No, a negative test result is not required to return to campus. You should follow the guidelines provided in the Health & Safety section of our Return to Campus guidelines.

How do I report behavior that is not in compliance with MSU Texas requirements?

All concerning behavior, including violations of MSU Texas COVID-19 safety requirements, should be reported using the MSU Texas Incident Reporting Form.
University Response

What is MSU Texas doing?

MSU Texas has activated its Incident Management Team made up of individuals in leadership positions from across campus. The IM Team meets regularly to discuss and review the rapidly evolving situation regarding the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The team is coordinating preparedness and response activities as outlined in the University’s emergency operations plan. Members of team are closely monitoring the situation, utilizing information from local and state health officials as well as the Centers for Disease and Preparedness and the World Health Organization.

The University is also participating on a community-wide COVID-19 task force, coordinated by the Health Department, which consists of key physicians and staff who meet regularly to coordinate communications and ensure proper training and protocols are in place.

A return-to-campus task force has been established to prepare for our intended return to in-person operations this fall.

The University will continue to address questions and concerns through regular communication and additions to this page.

What is the campus doing for infection control?

The University is working diligently to ensure the safety of the campus community, including additional distribution and placement of hand sanitizer stations, enhanced cleaning procedures in common areas, and an awareness campaign of the importance of hand washing and staying home when ill.

What is being done in the residence halls to prevent any spread of COVID-19?

Residence Life is taking enhanced steps to reduce exposure within each of the MSU Texas residential facilities. These efforts include:

  • Increasing frequency of surface cleaning; specifically, handrails, elevator buttons and door handles are being disinfected regularly.
  • Providing additional hand sanitizer stations in public spaces, as long with supplemental education information.
  • Ensuring that Residence Life staff knows where to direct students with concerns about coronavirus.
Travel Guidance

University Travel Guidance

Domestic travel is allowed with the expectation that employees will continue daily self-monitoring; there is no quarantine requirement for domestic travel. University-sponsored domestic travel remains restricted to essential business.

All university-sponsored and/or sanctioned international travel is discouraged. University-sponsored and/or sanctioned international travel must receive appropriate Vice President and President approval, be considered essential business, and is subject to conditions in the area of travel. Travelers returning from countries outside of the U.S. will be required to notify the Global Education Office, who will advise on quarantine requirements. International students returning to the United States who require quarantine and reside in University Housing will be placed in University Housing quarantine for a 14-day period.