A lot of time, energy and effort were put in over the summer to expand and change operations at the Wellness Center, but communication to students may have been their weak link.
“Communication was horrible. I didn’t know about it until last week when my friend told me about it,” said first-year Jamilo Noor.
With emails coming in on the daily, students may have felt that the information was lost in their inbox. Both Noor and first-year Ange Nash said they wish their Resident Assistant had informed them about the center.
“I think they did email us, but my email is just flooded with so much junk. I don’t have time to pick it out,” said Nish.
Despite this, the Wellness Center is open for telehealth appointments as well as some in-person appointments. Dr. Brian Quigley, Executive Director of the Wellness Center, explained that the center has shifted from primarily in-person appointments to over-the-phone.
“We have moved predominantly to using tele-based services. We have always had a telephone triage process, so we have expanded that so we can facilitate an appointment,” said Quigley.
Quigley encouraged students to call to set up an appointment rather than using the online portal system so screening can take place faster. After being screened, students will be assisted either over the phone, or be suggested to come into the Wellness Center in Elliot. Different from last year, students could be sent to a clinic by the Monadnock Residential Building.
“We are managing two sub clinics: One is the traditional clinic on the third floor of Elliot and we also stood up an upper respiratory illness clinic over by Monadnock. We wanted to make sure that individuals who have any symptoms of COVID are referred to the specialty clinic rather than coming in to the standard clinic where well students are coming in for other health related appointments,” said Quigley.
If students are sent to the clinic by Monadnock, they will be tested for COVID-19 and will have to temporarily isolate. A temporary isolation is done in the patient’s own room and they will work with Residential Life and the Contact Tracing Team to get food delivered and resolve any issues the student may have.
“We are working with a variety of partners to do more rapid testing, so those temporary isolations don’t last for an extended period of time. Hopefully in the future, the turnaround for those results will be 24-hours. That way, the isolation will be a day or even less than that,” said Quigley.
To limit the amount of testing the Wellness Center will have to do, Quigley is urging students to make sure they get their flu vaccinations, even though they are not mandatory.
“If someone is having symptoms of the flu, they are the same symptoms of COVID. Those individuals are presumed to have COVID to air on the side of caution until a negative test is resulted. They would be required to temporarily isolate,” said Quigley.
The center is taking a three-pronged approach to encourage students to get their shot. The first prong is to communicate to students where to get their flu vaccination, including information about the campus clinic and what places around Keene charge money.
“It’s really a matter of offering as many opportunities as we can to students. We want to allow them to pursue their shot in a way that makes the most sense for them and what’s most convenient to them,” said Quigley.
The campus clinic will be offered during testing days and will be either right outside the testing area or inside. Students can also make an appointment in the Wellness Center, as long as they are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID.
The first flu vaccination clinic will be on campus in the upcoming weeks and the center will be releasing more information soon.
“The flu shot is just so important to get this year, so they don’t end up having symptoms that are presumed to have COVID,” said Quigley.
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