/ Health Center

Respiratory Virus Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has developed unified Respiratory Virus Guidance to address COVID-19, influenza, influenza-like illness and RSV. These diseases are a health threat to those at higher risk and share similar routes of transmission, symptoms and prevention strategies

Student Testing

On days when classes are held, any student who is experiencing respiratory virus symptoms can call the Health Center at 616.395.7585 to schedule testing.

Preventing the Spread of Respiratory Viruses When You Are Sick

When you have a respiratory virus, stay home and away from others (including people you live with who are not sick) if you have respiratory virus symptoms that aren’t better explained by another cause. These symptoms can include fever, chills, fatigue, cough, runny nose and headache, among others.

You may return to normal activities when, for at least 24 hours, both are true:

  • Your symptoms are getting better overall, and
  • You have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication)
Student Academic Work While Sick

Students are responsible for notifying their professors if they cannot attend class due to illness. By policy, the Health Center does not write “notes” as proof of illness. However, students who visit the Health Center will be provided with proof of their appointment. Should the student wish to do so, they can provide that proof to the professor.

Exposure to Respiratory Viruses

The average incubation period from the time you were exposed until you may develop symptoms could be 1–5 days. There is no need to test unless you develop symptoms.

There are many factors that determine if you will develop disease once you have been exposed. Some of these factors include:

  • Your vaccine history (have you kept up-to-date with yearly influenza and COVID-19 vaccines?)
  • Your immune system (have you kept it strong with regular exercise, good nutrition, adequate sleep and hydration?)
  • The timing and extent of your exposure to the ill person

During your incubation period, you can choose to avoid individuals who could have more serious consequences if they were to become ill (elderly, babies, compromised immune systems).


All students, employees and visitors to campus are strongly encouraged to stay up to date with all CDC recommended vaccinations, including those for COVID-19 and influenza. 

Students who desire a COVID-19 or influenza vaccine can call the Health Center at 616.395.7585 to schedule an appointment.


Wearing a mask is a personal choice and optional everywhere on campus. Wearing a mask can help lower the risk of respiratory virus transmission. Masks can also protect wearers from breathing in infectious particles from people around them.

When a mask is worn, one that fully covers the nose and mouth should be used. In all situations, cloth masks are not recommended, and high-quality masks or respirators (e.g., N95) are preferred.

If you have questions or concerns about respiratory viral illnesses at Hope College, please email healthcenter@hope.edu.