Lafene Health Center prepares for students return amid pandemic

Lafene Health Center offers medical care along with other services to the students of Kansas State University. (File Photo by Katelin Woods | Collegian Media Group)

Assistant director for health promotions at Lafene Health Center Jennifer Miller says Student Health Services is preparing for the student body to return in a few weeks.

From ramping up COVID-19 testing abilities to helping prepare the Every Wildcat a Wellcat campaign, here’s a brief look at what Lafene is working on to prepare campus for the resumption of face-to-face activities.

COVID-19 testing

Miller said Lafene can run an antigen test, or a polymerase chain reaction test for COVID-19 locally.

Although the antigen test can be ran at the health center, and often has a turn around time as quick as 20 to 30 minutes, Miller says it can be less accurate. That means it often requires another PCR test to check for inaccurate results.

Results from some PCR tests for COVID-19 can take about two to seven days, depending on which lab the test was sent to and the regional backlog for tests, Miller said.

The plan, as is, doesn’t include mandatory testing for students upon return to town. Instead, students will only be tested if they show symptoms or come in close contact with a known positive. This could, however, change, Miller said.

“The rules on who should and should not get tested will be an evolving process,” Miller said.

Quarantine and self-isolation

Positive cases will pop-up in the student body and faculty. If cases are properly managed and general campus social distancing rules are followed, it won’t be necessary to test every student or faculty member in an ill person’s classes, Miller said.

People who are sick or who might have come in contact with a sick person are expected to quarantine for 14 days at least.

Spaces in Van Zile Hall and Jardine Apartments will be reserved for isolating on-campus residents who become exposed to or test positive for the novel coronavirus.

Every Wildcat a Wellcat

Miller is also part of the team promoting the Every Wildcat a Wellcat campaign. It’s a program designed to promote a safe return to campus, provide guidance and address concerns from the students and their parents about face-to-face classes amid a global health crisis.

The campaign provides a list of tips and tricks for students to consider before the fall semester begins. It includes the usage of face coverings, physical distancing and travel quarantining when applicable as ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 prevention pledge

Also, students will be asked to take a pledge that details how they will be expected to maintain physical distance, limit participation in high-risk behavior and wear a mask.

“I think we can all agree that this fall semester will be unlike anything we have experienced before,” Miller said. “I want [students] to feel that no matter what happens with their wellbeing, we are here to support them and get them linked to the resource or education they need.”