Health and Wellness Center reopening for the end of the semester

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Photo from Charles Buckley

Charles Buckley, Staff Writer

The Health and Wellness Center at Utica College has been closed since the spring semester of 2020 due to the pandemic. The center has finally reopened its doors, but not completely. 

Currently, the nurse station side of the center is reopened for walk-ins, while counseling sessions are still being handled via Telehealth (Zoom or Google Meet).

“We are excited about the reopening of Health Services within the Health and Wellness Center, continuing to ensure student safety while being in a position to offer in-person services (by appointment only),” said  Thomas Lane, a counselor and faculty member that works in the center. “Students can walk in to make an appointment during our operational hours of 8:30-5:00.”

For many students, this is seen as yet another step to returning towards a normal campus life and college life for the fall semester. There was no comment provided as to why the center waited so long to open back up, although reasoning can be connected to the outbreak of the virus.

However, only the nursing station has opened back up so far. Any student who seeks help from counselors still has to have their sessions remotely for the rest of the semester. Lane hopes this won’t be the case in the fall though.

“We are planning on opening Counseling Services in the Health and Wellness Center to in-person sessions in the fall of 2021,” Lane said. “We expect with the vaccine rollout to the general public, we will be better able to ensure student and staff safety during the 45-60 minute counseling sessions. We will also continue to offer telehealth sessions for the foreseeable future to increase student accessibility to counseling services.”

As the year winds down, many students have begun to use the center’s telehealth counseling services as a way to help cope with the pressure and stress they feel during the final month of college as they prepare to finish out the year. Some students have admitted to having great experiences with the telehealth session they got. However, others admit that while it does help, they still long for the way it normally was.

“I’ve used both the physical and mental health sides of the Health and Wellness Center,” Sophomore Katherine Hawley said. “I’ve seen counselors over Google Meet. And while it is harder for me to find a place on campus that is confidential and I feel safe taking that call in, it is nice to be able to be in a place where I’m comfortable and to be able to see each other faces (rather than half the face over the mask).”

Hawley stated that the center still gave in-person exams as needed and that she felt totally safe going in for them if she needed them since everyone in the health center followed COVID-19 regulations.

“I’ve also had phone consultations with Terri [Sherman] and they were actually super helpful,” Hawley said. “It didn’t require me to schedule out a whole chunk of time to go in and see her which was nice.”

For more information regarding the Health and Wellness Center and its hours, visit its website.


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