A newly-implemented COVID-19 hotline will be available during the first three weeks of the Spring semester, addressing questions about the coronavirus and school policies. The service will be open weekdays from 5-7 p.m. through an extension of Student Health Services.
The hotline comes as a solution to concerns from Residential Life, which reported several phone calls from students with questions on testing procedures and mandates.
“The folks at Residential Life, although very competent at what they do, they’re not medical people and really couldn’t answer the questions,” said Glenn Smith, interim dean of students.
Smith announced the hotline in a campus-wide email Wednesday, noting its purpose was to “educate students on policies and procedures related to COVID-19” from an established nursing staff at Westminster College.
The staff will be recent graduates from the nursing program who worked in Student Health Services during the Fall semester, with a strong understanding of Westminster’s policies.
That way, communication about COVID-19 can be streamlined to students.
“[It’s] to make sure students got a good answer right away, they didn’t have to wait for an answer,” Smith said. “It’s critical when students are trying to get tested and follow-up information.”
The service will open Jan. 4, one week before the semester begins, and continue for the first two weeks of the semester. However, the hotline may be extended if needed — and if the health services can afford it.
“From a budgetary standpoint, we want to make sure that everybody gets the information they need in a timely manner,” Smith said.
The information comes as residential students will begin testing for the coronavirus next week, as negative tests are required 120 hours prior to move-in. Although Westminster no longer applies to the statewide weekly testing requirements, the school said regular testing on campus will continue throughout the Spring semester.
“While the state testing mandate no longer applies to Westminster, the college will continue to make your health and the health of our community a top priority,” the college said in a statement on its website.
Students can call the COVID-19 hotline Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m. The number is 801-832-2298