UMW Healthy Fall 2020 Plan / Provide Student Support Services

Provide Student Support Services

Introduction

All UMW student support services offices will provide in-person and remote access and advising based on student circumstances and need. Clear contact information and details will be posted on each offices’ website. Disability Services for Students is working with students who are requesting remote learning as part of their disability accommodations. The Dean of Students and ADA Coordinator, Nicole Hazelbaker, is coordinating with faculty on these requests as they are received. For more information, please email nicole.hazelbaker@umwestern.edu or call 406-683-7900.

 

Face Coverings

All employees are furnished with and are required to wear appropriate face coverings.

By the end of Spring semester 2020, UMW student support services offices trained all personnel on the use of remote technologies. Many have also established “Zoom Rooms,” whereby students and staff can quickly participate in brief chats, ask questions, and share concerns.

 

Student Support Offices

All student support offices at UMW are redesigning waiting rooms and common spaces (e.g., reduced seating, demarcations of six feet, etc.) to reduce occupancy and to create appropriate physical distance. Where possible, offices are employing strict scheduling to reduce traffic and help with contract tracing. Offices will discourage in-person drop-ins in favor of scheduling so that waiting room capacities can be better managed. Plexiglas barriers have been ordered/installed at nearly all areas in student services. Masks are required to be worn and each office will ask students to wear a mask upon entering the facilities. Hand sanitizer will be available. Signage will be placed around each office detailing the CDC safety measures that are required of students while in each office.

Most staff meetings will be conducted via Zoom for the foreseeable future. Smaller meetings may resume as long as appropriate physical-distancing measures can be achieved and masks are worn.

Each office will communicate through email, Zoom, and update websites accordingly.

Administrative staff have been trained to inform visitors of various delivery modes available to them, when appropriate.

The student services community is continually reaching out to students offering their assistance and support as it concerns students’ questions or abilities in using remote services. In addition, each student service office has made their processes for accessing services as clear, straightforward and easy as possible.

Each student services office has been commissioned to review and evaluate their remote services. During the course of the fall semester, we will listen to student feedback and adjust accordingly.

 

Student Counseling Services: COVID-19 Addendum

Student Counseling Services consists of two master’s level, fully licensed, clinical mental health counselors, Jerry Girard and Heidi Peterson. Jerry is also a Licensed Addiction Counselor. Heidi and Jerry offer both in-office and remote eCounseling services to students on campus as well as to distance learning students. Typically, we encourage our on-campus students to use our in-office counseling services. However, we recognize that the unique circumstances of COVID-19 may encourage some students to be more comfortable using remote counseling services regardless of their proximity to our offices. It is also likely that Student Counseling Services will continue to offer a variety of group counseling services which will be adapted to meet all campus COVID-19 guidelines.

 

Jerry and Heidi stay networked with professors, staff, athletics, and especially residence life to work collaboratively with students who may be struggling. Student Counseling Services acknowledges that now, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping students access counseling services is more important than ever. With the return of students to campus for the first time since the pandemic, it is likely that students will have a variety of emotional experiences that will test their resilience in ways that perhaps are not anticipated. Therefore, we encourage the entire campus community to be especially vigilant and directly connect counselors with struggling students and even walk them over to the Dean of Students Center if needed. Both Heidi and Jerry are also willing to leave their offices to meet with students anywhere on campus. It is not unusual for counselors to meet with students along with faculty, staff, coaches, etc. at their preferred locations around campus.

 

Both Heidi and Jerry are also willing and able to speak with groups of students directly and provide mental health related trainings to students. We are happy to tailor trainings and presentations to the needs of classes, student clubs, residence life groups, athletics teams, and other student, faculty, and staff groups. Heidi and Jerry also work with Wellness Coordinator, Fallon Horrocks, to tailor mental health messaging and prevention activities to students which, most certainly this year, will include considerations of the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in the training programs of Student Counseling are both QPR Gatekeeper Training and Mental Health First Aid Training. These programs both focus on training the members of our community to be more skilled and comfortable with taking care of each other when we encounter community members experiencing mental health related obstacles.