December 9, 2022
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Quarantine/isolation student support

The 2020–21 academic year was marked by change for everyone in higher education. The move to online classes brought obvious challenges for students and faculty who had to adapt to new learning and teaching techniques, but the effects of the pandemic stretched far beyond the obvious as staff across campus took on new roles and job functions to ensure students received an unprecedented level of support outside the classroom as well.

Staff within the Division of Student Affairs coordinated a massive effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, from leading healthy campus social norming campaigns, to running on-campus surveillance and diagnostic testing centers, to organizing logistics and support for students in quarantine and isolation. Over 900 students were placed in designated quarantine and isolation housing on campus and in local hotels during the spring semester. Over 20,000 meals were delivered to these students, and a concerted effort was made to provide mental health support also, beginning the moment a student was told they must quarantine or isolate. Staff across campus volunteered as COVID consultants, calling each student to walk them through their options and provide resources to help them complete their quarantine or isolation with as little additional stress as possible. In the spring semester alone, 2,770 consultation calls were made. Other members of staff made 684 trips to transport students to quarantine housing in local hotels.

The support continued once students were in quarantine or isolation housing. Staff completed 4,361 check-in calls during the spring semester, touching base with students and making sure they had what they needed. Interns in the Mindset Mentors program wrote over 500 letters to students in quarantine and isolation housing, providing a much-needed sense of connection. The Healthy Campus Initiative also provided well-being items to over 470 students, such as yoga mats, adult coloring books, sleep kits, puzzles and more. Staff also formed a Surprise and Delight Task Force, which created safe, fun and convenient opportunities for students to feel engaged and less stressed and isolated while in quarantine or isolation. The task force expanded access to digital communities, offered food and mail delivery options, provided daily snacks and coordinated entertainment by student groups that visited quarantine and isolation housing.

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