With the start of the new semester, many students are preparing to deal with online classes and trying to adapt to a new normal. Seeing as Whittier has only allowed about 50 students to reside on campus, the rest of the college community is left wondering what dorm life looks like. While some students are hopeful to stay in dorms until the end of the school year, pressure remains on the Student Health & Wellness Center to make monitor whether students on campus are staying safe.
Former Student Health & Wellness Center Director, Stella Wohlfarth, left Whittier College this week and the school is currently searching for a replacement.
“At the moment we are considering several options regarding the health center. There will be leadership in the center and the community can count in the Health Center being fully staffed as soon as it’s feasible,” said Smith,.“ The center will be open for telehealth meetings with students M-TH 9-4:30 and F 9-2:30.”
There are 45 students currently residing on campus and every student was screened for COVID-19 last week. The tests came back negative, which suggests that students are taking precautionary measures to stay safe and follow the guidelines set by the school. However, instead of scheduled testing, the school has opted for students to use a daily symptom tracker they fill out themselves.
“Students are also being asked to submit a symptoms check every day,” said Dean of Students, Bruce Smith. “Staff working on our COVID response and anyone experiencing symptoms is expected to stay in their residence hall and be in communication
with staff about health-related next steps.”
To help aid with this procedure, the college will be putting out an app this month where students can input their information and make a habit out of it. Currently, students fill out a google form link provided by the school each day.
“All students, faculty, and staff will be asked to participate in this effort,” said Smith. “It is important that everyone, even those connecting to the campus remotely, to develop the habit of responding to the symptom check on the app every day. Everyday usage of the app by the entire College community will help keep our community safe and well.”
The school is enforcing the COVID-19 Student Code of Conduct, by only permitting approved faculty and the small group of students dorming to be on campus which further helps limiting exposure. The Code of Conduct also states that “approved residential students are not permitted to invite, host guests, or permit guests, current students, or non-students to be on campus, including their residential facility.” The consequence for this action includes being “charged with the appropriate alleged guest violation which may include a policy violation of College Rules and Regulations and will go through the student conduct process.”
The Counseling Center remains open during this transitional period to provide mental health services to the students residing on campus through telephone appointments. Services provided to students during these times can be found on the college’s website. The Counseling Center is also working towards focusing on culturally responsive services, something that was mentioned in an email sent out on August 5th.
“The Racial Justice, Equity, and Action Plan is composed of a large number of initiatives. Some of these plans, including the plan to expand the mental health support and resources for Black students, are still under discussion. The Counseling Center staff is focusing on care that is more culturally responsive,” said Smith.
Featured image: Emerson Little / Quaker Campus