TOPEKA (KSNT) – Washburn University (WU) is recommending people on campus take additional precautions during the fall semester as an increase in illnesses is being monitored.

Tiffany McManis with Student Health Services at WU said in an email addresses to students, faculty and staff that the university is seeing, “numerous reports of COVID-19” along with other respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses at the start of the fall semester. McManis recommends those who are sick to stay away from others and avoid attending any in-person classes or work to reduce the spread of illnesses.

Those who are sick are encouraged to contact their instructors or supervisors to inform them about their illness and inability to attend class or work. Those who live on campus or in Greek housing are urged to contact Residential Living or the house supervisor in accord with residence protocols.

This comes shortly after Kansas State University also sent out recommendations to its students regarding an expected increase in COVID-19 cases this fall. Kansas is one of several states that saw a moderate rise in COVID-19 cases in August, according to the CDC. 

More than 25 states were listed as experiencing substantial upticks in COVID-19 hospitalizations last month. A new booster shot targeting a recent strain of the omicron variant is expected to be released this fall.

“For most illnesses, you must have a significant improvement in your symptoms of illness and be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications before you return to class/work,” McManis said. “In some instances, and for some academic programs, you may still be asked to provide a health clearance and proof of a negative COVID-19 test to return. Please understand that some academic programs are required to follow state guidelines and regulations that are beyond what is required by Washburn. If you need assistance with health clearance, please contact Student Health Services or your regular healthcare provider for an appointment.”

McManis said Student Health Services continues to offer rapid antigen tests for free to those who think they may have COVID-19. No COVID-19 vaccines or booster doses are offered by Student Health Services but this could change as more resources are made available in the future.

McManis said flu shots, along with the dose for those who are 65-years-old or older, are available through appointment at Student Health Services. Dates for free flu shot clinics for students, faculty and staff will be released at a later date.

WU keeps students updated on important COVID-19 news on its website. If you have questions or would like to make an appointment with Student Health Services, you can call 785-670-1470 or send an email to