Minnesota State University, Mankato has been able to keep its positive COVID-19 cases fairly low for a university, and the question of “How?” comes to mind. Despite a high spike in numbers the first couple of weeks of classes, aspects of social distancing, mask mandates, and online classes have been helpful.
In a survey created by The Reporter staff about whether or not students will report to the university, there were 80 people who responded. Of this group, 23% were extremely unlikely to fill out a COVID survey before coming to campus and 63% said they do not know how to report their COVID case to the university.
MNSU Interim Coordinator of Alcohol & Drug Sanction Education Natalie Schuette was able to discuss how the Student Health Services is able to help students who are infected with COVID and how the university has made changes to better serve students.
Schuette first explained how the university is informed about positive cases. She noted how students are typically willing to report themselves if they get sick. “I think students are pretty good at reporting. They want to keep themselves and others safe,” Schuette stated.
The Minnesota Department of Health will also send in a list of students’ names who test positive for the virus. From here, Student Health Services and Residential Life work together to take care of those students.
MNSU sophomore Ben Fairchild was one of the many who had to quarantine and took the responsibility to report his case to the university. To report, Fairchild went to the MNSU website and saw the bar on the top showing where to report.
“It was easy to tell, there was big text right on the homepage.”
Throughout the dorm buildings, there are 97 designated rooms for students who have to quarantine or isolate for the minimum two weeks. As Schuette pointed out, “Even though students are in isolation, we don’t want them to feel isolated.”
To help students feel taken care of, there are a variety of services that are available to them. MNSU Director of Residential Life Cindy Janney said students can shop for groceries through Instacart and a faculty member will pick it up for them, laundry can be picked up and cleaned, as well as meals being delivered throughout the day to ensure students are eating full meals.
“Residential Life wants to make the experience as comfortable as possible,” commented Schuette.
When it came to inform his professors about his situation, Fairchild pointed out how much support he received. “I had a professor ask me if I needed any medications, which was nice to know that they really cared. My other professors also wanted me to worry about my health first, so they gave me extensions for my school work.”
Another great feature the campus has available for students now is COVID testing in the upper clinic, with the entrance being right by Chet’s in the Carkoski Commons. This testing isn’t free to students, but most insurances will cover the costs.
If there is a vaccine created to help with COVID, it will be available to students. Schuette noted that it has not yet been determined if this will be free or not to students and faculty.
Both Schuette and Janney emphasized which phone numbers students and faculty must call for anything related to COVID. If you want some general questions asked, the hotline number is 507-389-5591. If you are reporting a positive case, the hotline number is 507-389-2030.