How to Stay Healthy at the Start of a New School Year


Zach Gilbert

The CDC has a list of guidelines on how to best protect oneself from COVID-19. Photo courtesy of

OMAHA – As students prepare to head back to campus for the start of the fall semester, it is imperative that they are aware of how to best look after their health, both physically and mentally.

Previously, UNO announced that they will be reducing the “density” of people on campus and adjusting delivery methods for courses, as well as requiring “personal protective equipment” (i.e. masks) at all times and asking students to complete a “daily self-screening” using the 1-Check COVID app. However, aside from these newly imposed guidelines, there is more that individuals can do to keep themselves safe.

According to a 2020 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the public health institute continues to urge everyone to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when leaving a restroom and before touching your face/handling any face coverings to stop the spread of harmful germs. Furthermore, the agency advocates for avoiding close contact with others – especially those who are infected – by maintaining a distance of 6 feet between yourself and people in public spaces.

The CDC also advises that individuals frequently clean and disinfect objects/surfaces that they regularly interact with (such as desks and technological devices like phones and laptops). Finally, they encourage the populace to carry around and apply hand sanitizer as often as possible.

It is additionally essential that students are aware of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 and the health resources available if one is infected.

While people with COVID-19 suffer from a wide range of symptoms, the most common include cough, shortness of breath, and fever or chills. If you believe you have contracted coronavirus, the Nebraska Medicine – UNO Health Center is offering telehealth services Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it is open for in-person care by appointment on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 402-554-2374.

Consultations or visits with the Nebraska Medicine/ UNO Health Center are free for students who pay the University Program and Facilities Fee (UPFF). After this consultation, a healthcare provider will notify you if you need to be properly tested.

Nebraska Medicine does offer testing, but their examinations may require health insurance, depending on one’s coverage. In contrast, The Charles Drew Health Center is offering free curbside testing daily at both their main health center location, at 2914 Grant St., and at their 30 Metro location, at 5319 N. 30th St.

In conjunction with implementing measures to monitor one’s physical health, it is crucial that students don’t discount the emotional strains they are weathering throughout these trying times either. As long-anticipated events are consistently canceled and society at large continues to suffer while adjusting to this “new normal,” there is no proper way to grieve, and there is no wrong response.

For those who require assistance in assuaging their anxieties, the UNO Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is continuing to offer services remotely.

According to the organization’s website, “CAPS will continue to foster an inclusive and safe place for all UNO students and demonstrate our commitment to individual and collective mental health and healing.”

Appointments can be made Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling 402-554-2409. These services are free to all UNO students.