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COVID-19 Student Digest: July 10, 2020

Community Pledge

As announced in our first issue last week, we have created a Community Pledge, which we will encourage all faculty, staff, and students to sign prior to the start of classes, Aug. 17.


Become A #MaskUp! Ambassador

Are you ready to #MaskUp!? We need people like you — those who understand that We're In This Together (WITT...get it!) and the unique responsibility that comes with being a member of our community. Wearing a face covering is an essential part of making sure our community stays strong, healthy, and vibrant. Sign-up to become a role model for Wittenberg — share your WHY for wearing face coverings and spread the work to encourage others to do the same. As an Ambassador, you will get some swag and other Ambassador items along the way! Sign up today here.

Mask Up Ambassador Graphic

Housing & Community Expectations

All University housing residents received an email from Residence Life on July 1 summarizing updates for move-in. You can also find this information here. Another email will be sent today, July 10, explaining how to sign up for a move-in time. Early arrival groups will be able to begin signing up for times on July 10; signs-ups will open for the remaining residents the afternoon of Friday, July 17. Students living in a fraternity or sorority chapter-owned houses should refer to the directions sent by their specific house corporation board. Over the coming weeks, we will be posting and sharing updates about community living plans to help students begin thinking through how each of us can do our part to keep our return to campus safe for all community members.


Student Support

Ahead of returning to campus, please contact important support offices to talk through concerns, academic or personal support needs, or get questions answered as you prepare for the Fall semester. COMPASS: Sweet Success Center, The Tiger Counseling Center, Student Financial Services, Residence Life, and the Dean’s Office are all available to meet and discuss your support needs.


Campus & Community Engagement

In less than a month, you will be heading back to campus, excited to reconnect, settle-in, and start the year. Much of what was normal a year ago in terms of events, gatherings, and more will look different this year, but in order to keep our community safe, this is what we, as Tigers, must do. In the coming weeks, the Offices of Student Involvement, Events and Scheduling, Residence Life, Athletics, and more will be in touch regarding guidance and resources for student organizations, residence halls, athletic teams, and campus departments regarding ways to connect in-person, virtually, or in a hybrid format. Check the COVID-19 Campus Events page for more information as it is available.


Intercollegiate Athletics

Wittenberg University, along with the members of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), have worked diligently over the past two months to devise a safe and responsible return to campus and more specifically a return to sport plan for the 2020 fall athletic season.

  • Fall Sports Scheduled To Open Play On September 18: Read More
  • Wittenberg Athletics COVID-19 Resocialization Plan: Read More

International Students

All of us at Wittenberg University are deeply disappointed that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has decided that international students who attend colleges and universities that have decided to go entirely online for the fall cannot remain in the United States. While Wittenberg fully intends to offer in-person classes this fall, we cannot foresee what may happen in the fall semester and whether we would need to shift to remote learning. This action creates even more uncertainty for international students in an already challenging time for our community. The notion of sending international students home in the middle of a pandemic is xenophobic and harmful to the health and well-being of those students. In addition, our University and countless others would suffer the loss of the energy, spirit, and diversity these students bring to our campus.

Please know that our Director of International Education is working with our international students regarding their uncertainty around the fall semester, and we will work with those students in every way we can.


Wellness: Sleep Hygiene

"Sleep hygiene" is the term used to describe good sleep habits. Considerable research has gone into developing a set of guidelines and tips, which are designed to enhance good sleeping, and there is much evidence to suggest that these strategies can provide long-term solutions to sleep difficulties. There are many medications that are used to treat insomnia, but these tend to be only effective in the short-term. Ongoing use of sleeping pills may lead to dependence and interfere with developing good sleep habits independent of medication, thereby prolonging sleep difficulties. Talk to your health professional about what is right for you, but we recommend good sleep hygiene as an important part of treating insomnia, either with other strategies such as medication or cognitive therapy, or alone.

  • Get regular. One of the best ways to train your body to sleep well is to go to bed and get up at more or less the same time every day, even on weekends and days off. This regular rhythm will make you feel better and will give your body something to work from.
  • Sleep when sleepy. Only try to sleep when you actually feel tired or sleepy, rather than spending too much time awake in bed.
  • Get up & try again. If you haven’t been able to get to sleep after about 20 minutes or more, get up and do something calming or boring until you feel sleepy, and then return to bed and try again. Sit quietly on the couch with the lights off (bright light will tell your brain that it is time to wake up), or read something boring. Avoid doing anything that is too stimulating or interesting, as this will wake you up even more.
  • Avoid caffeine & nicotine late in the day. It is best to avoid consuming any caffeine (in coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate, and some medications) or nicotine (cigarettes) for at least 4-6 hours before going to bed. These substances act as stimulants and interfere with the ability to fall asleep.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime. It is also best to avoid alcohol for at least 4-6 hours before going to bed. Many people believe that alcohol is relaxing and helps them to get to sleep at first, but it actually interrupts the quality of sleep in the middle of the pattern.
  • Bed is for sleeping. Try not to use your bed for anything other than sleeping, sex, or sickness so that your body comes to associate bed with sleep. If you use bed as a place to watch TV, eat, read, work on your laptop, pay bills, and other things, your body will not learn this connection.
  • No naps. It is best to avoid taking naps during the day to make sure that you are tired at bedtime. If you can’t make it through the day without a nap, make sure it is for less than an hour and before 3 p.m.
  • Sleep rituals. You can develop your own rituals of things to remind your body that it is time to sleep — some people find it useful to do relaxing stretches or breathing exercises for 15 minutes before bed each night, listen to soothing binaural beats through earbuds, or sit calmly with a cup of caffeine-free tea.
  • Take a hot shower. A hot shower 1-2 hours before bedtime can be useful, as it will raise your body temperature, causing you to feel sleepy as your body temperature drops again. Research shows that sleepiness is associated with a drop in body temperature.
  • No clock-watching. Many people who struggle with sleep tend to watch the clock too much. Frequently checking the clock during the night can wake you up (especially if you turn on the light to read the time) and reinforces negative thoughts such as “Oh no, look how late it is; I’ll never get to sleep” or “It’s so early; I have only slept for 5 hours; this is terrible.”
  • Exercise. Regular exercise is a good idea to help with good sleep, but try not to do strenuous exercise in the 4 hours before bedtime. Morning walks are a great way to start the day feeling refreshed!
  • Eat right. A healthy, balanced diet will help you to sleep well, but timing is important. Some people find that a very empty stomach at bedtime is distracting, so it can be useful to have a light snack, but a heavy meal soon before bed can also interrupt sleep. Some people recommend a warm glass of milk, which contains tryptophan, which acts as a natural sleep inducer.  
  • The right space. It is very important that your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable for sleeping. A cooler room with enough blankets to stay warm is best, and make sure you have curtains or an eye mask to block out early morning light, as well as earplugs if there is noise outside your room.

Wellness: Diet & Nutrition

Good nutrition is crucial for health, particularly in times when the immune system might need to fight back. Limited access to fresh foods may compromise opportunities to continue eating a healthy and varied diet. It can also potentially lead to an increased consumption of highly processed foods, which tend to be high in fats, sugars, and salts.

The World Health Organization recommends consuming a minimum of 400 grams (i.e. 5 portions) of fruits and vegetables per day:

The following is an overview of foods with high nutritional value which are generally affordable, accessible and have a longer shelf life.

  • Oranges, grapefruits, clementines
  • Bananas, apples (can be cut into small pieces, frozen for a later date and used in smoothies)
  • Root vegetables – i.e. carrots, turnips, and beets, as well as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower
  • Garlic, ginger, and onions are also great options to keep at home, as they can be used to add flavor to a variety of meals.
  • Eggs
  • Lean meats – fish, chicken and turkey breasts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocados
  • Corn, legumes, nuts, and beans
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt

If you cannot buy fresh fruits or vegetables, frozen vegetables are also a good option. Benefits of frozen fruits and vegetables:

  • Still contain high levels of fiber and vitamins
  • Often less expensive than the fresh versions
  • Can be added to juices, smoothies, oatmeal, and low-fat plain yogurt
  • Quick and easy to prepare, and consuming them can help reach daily portion recommendations when fresh foods are not available

Consume enough fiber. This will contribute to a healthy digestive system and offer a prolonged feeling of fullness, which helps prevent overeating. Try to included high-fiber foods in all of your daily meals. Some examples are:

  • Whole grains (oats, bran, brown pasta or rice)
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat bread and wraps
  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Beans, nuts, and legumes
  • Popcorn (air-popped)

Limit your salt intake – Keep to no more than 5 grams a day – use fresh or dried herbs and spices to add flavor to your food.

Limit your sugar intake – If you crave something sweet, try to eat fresh, dried or frozen fruits.

Limit your fat intake – Instead of frying foods, try steaming, sautéing or grilling them.

Stay hydrated – The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking eight 8-ounce glasses a day.


Wellness: Exercise

Regular exercise is essential for everyone under normal circumstances. However, here are a few reasons why exercise is especially crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Exercise boosts the immune system: Research shows that regular, moderate-intensity exercise has immune-boosting benefits that may help your body fight off infections, including COVID-19.
  • Exercise may prevent weight gain: Exercise can help you burn extra calories caused by dietary changes and offset the effects of sedentary activities.
  • Exercise reduces stress and anxiety: Exercise is a proven mood-booster and can help adults reduce stress levels and build emotional resilience.
  • Exercise improves sleep: There is evidence that suggests regular exercise helps you fall asleep faster and improves sleep quality — and getting a good night’s sleep has also been found to boost your immune system.

Regular exercise can help to improve balance, flexibility, strength, mobility, and cardiovascular health. Plus, it can boost energy and overall well-being. Try to dedicate some time at least three days a week to focus on your physical fitness.

If you’re in a low-risk group for COVID-19 and not experiencing symptoms, one of the easiest forms of exercise is walking or jogging outside that allows you to follow guidelines of social distancing. That means avoid crowds, keep at least six feet between you and anyone you encounter while outside, and don’t touch crosswalk buttons or posts with your hands..


Concerns & Questions

If you have a concern about exposure (yours or someone else’s) to COVID-19, please complete this online form. If you have general questions about COVID-19 and Wittenberg University’s response, please email the COVID Response Team at covid@wittenberg.edu.

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