In an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus, the Benedictine College Student Health Center moved to 1301 N. 3rd St., behind St. Michael Hall. 

The Benedictine College Coronavirus Taskforce decided to buy the building from the Atchison Hospital in order to help isolate students with COVID-19, especially from other departments on campus. 

Although plans to buy the property were in the works throughout the summer, the transaction was not officially completed until August 14, which coincided with move-in weekend for new students on campus. Consequently, the nurses at the Health Center had to deal with the challenge of moving locations while testing new students for the virus. 

According to Janet Adrian, director of Student Health Services, moving locations was a necessary step to help keep the campus safe.  

“The reason student health moved over here was because of the COVID pandemic that we are going through right now,” Adrian said. “The old student center also housed the Counseling Center, so in order to keep those folks safe, we felt it important that we come over here and have our own entity.”

Reporter Angelica Nelson interviews Janet Adrian. Photo credit: Francesca Del Curto.

Before the move, the Student Health Center was housed at 1201 N. 2nd St. along with the Counseling Center.  

Even now, folding tables are being used as desks, and the center’s decor includes flowers placed in a biohazard waste box. 

Despite the challenges that come with moving to a new location at the beginning of the semester, the change has allowed the nurse practitioners to establish safe protocols for students. 

These protocols include offering virtual screening appointments, establishing a separate entrance for students with COVID-19 symptoms, adding medical air filtration systems, providing safety gear for nurses and increasing the number of exam rooms. 

Additionally, all students must make appointments ahead of time to limit the number of people in the waiting room. In previous years, there would be up to 20 students waiting to be seen.

Sophomore Auggie Iseman visited the Health Center the first time the day after he moved in due to a sore throat, headache, and other symptoms. 

“Looking back on it that’s what I was most impressed with cause they had 2,000 students coming and they had to get testing equipment to all of them and all of those testing supplies were just amongst them which is a lot, and they were also in the middle of moving to a different building,” Iseman said.

“I’m very grateful that they were patient with me because they had every right not to be,” Iseman added. “They just had a lot of things going against them at the time. But yeah, they treated me very well, and I was appreciative of it for sure.”

Adrian added that it is always a learning curve for students to get acclimated to college and take care of themselves without the help of their parents, and COVID-19 has only added to that stress.

She encourages students to schedule an appointment if they are feeling sick and get their Influenza shot at the local CVS or Walmart Pharmacies in town. 

The Student Health Center is open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. To schedule an appointment, call the center at 913-360-7117. For appointments outside of the center’s hours, students are directed to contact their health provider or the Atchison Hospital Emergency Room at 913-360-5320.