The CSUSB Student Health Center’s Senior Health Educator, Albert J. Angelo, discussed health education regarding students and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Angelo is part of the Health Promotion Team on campus which seeks to helping students in health education and engaging in healthy habits.
Q: What is the main goal of the Wellness Center?
A: The main goal was to keep students educated and engaged while we’re in this weird situation of quarantine. My heart goes out to you guys, especially to those that are graduating because we had all these fun things planned, graduation ceremony and everything. It’s a way of trying to educate students and trying to keep you guys engaged because there’s a lot of Q&A, like the stress and the love lab programs that I do leaves a lot of live time for questions. Those kinds of questions can be addressed live and then there can be a community where students don’t feel like they’re as isolated.
Q: What is the center’s contribution to students during this time?
A: I think one thing we are trying to do for students is that we are trying to give you everything we can that we gave you in person, like we’re trying as best we can to try to give you everything we possibly can online. Counseling is online, you can talk to a doctor virtually online, you can meet with a psychiatrist online, you can meet with a health educator online, you can take workshops online. There’s certain things we can’t do: we can’t draw blood, take your temperature, but if you have a thermometer at home, you can talk to a doctor and the doctor can ask “do you have a fever?” or “what’s your temperature?” There’s certain things we can do and what we’re trying to do as much as we can us we’re trying to keep students engaged so that we can kind of help with the isolation and then try to keep as many services available to students that are possible through this kind of virtual situation.
Q: So now that many students who were employed and had their medical through their jobs, can they rely on the Student Health Center?
A: You could always rely on the Health Center, so even if you had insurance from an employer that doesn’t prevent you from receiving services at the Health Center. You always have the Health Center choice. As long as you’re a registered student, you have that choice. If you’re not feeling well, there are health care providers that will Zoom with you and do a virtual appointment.
Q: When do you think students will be able to return to campus and how will it be different?
A: It’s not going to be a light switch, everything will not go back to normal right away. You can shop at places like T.J. Maxxx, keep your distance, and wear a mask. When you’re sitting in a classroom for an hour and a half with fifty other people in a small contained room, that’s the most worrisome. That would have to happen later. Things will sort of open up in stages, but I can’t tell you a timeline. I’m not a university authority. I have a feeling in the Fall. We have to think about liability, the university is very aware of putting students in harm’s way, they’re very cautious about that. That’s why staff isn’t on campus either. It’s going to be gradual, when centers start opening up on campus they’re going to ask only some staff to come back and work on campus, but separated. One person in this office, another person over there. Or staggered, some Monday/Wednesday/Friday and others Tuesday/Thursday. So it will be part time tele-commute and part time physical and then it’s just going to build from there.
Q: How do you think this pandemic will affect campus and the Health Center in the future?
A: I think in many ways the center may incorporate on a big level this whole virtual thing, like students who have busy schedules or that are rarely on campus. Students sometimes don’t use these services because they don’t have time and they still pay for it. With the virtual appointments set up, at whatever time you’re home or get out of work and you don’t have to go back all the way to campus, you can arrange virtual appointments. The Health Center will still be open and will provide virtual appointments if that’s more convenient for you. I see more of like the tele-zoom or that kind of thing. We’re just going to move forward forever with that. It will be a virtual option for students. This is not going to go away, that’s going to stay. Why take it away? But you can also still come in person to see a doctor, it’s not like it’s just going to be virtual. The virtual option is if it’s more convenient for you.