April 2020 Family Newsletter
As we all face this new challenge of navigating the measures surrounding COVID-19, we'd like to introduce you to well-being.vt.edu: A tool to help you locate Virginia Tech's well-being resources.
All of our health and wellness departments have vamped up their virtual and remote well-being services, which are all indexed and can be easily-accessed on this site.
Families, Students, and Other Members of the Virginia Tech Community:
The current situation regarding COVID-19 brings up many different wellness-related concerns outside of the one most salient to us—to avoid becoming sick or avoiding spreading illness to others. During times of uncertainty, it is natural to feel increased stress. Finances can be stressful at any point throughout the year, but can also be an area that is not consciously thought about in depth…particularly in times where other areas of one’s health may be the main consideration.
Many of you are likely already feeling the financial impact in your households, even if there has been no known exposure to COVID-19. Everyone’s situation is different, and it can be frustrating to lose control in some aspects when it comes to income and expenses. Monitor your spending during this time while still meeting your needs. This may mean that you need to make a slight lifestyle adjustment if your source of income is impacted negatively due to the current circumstances so as not to siphon off any emergency savings at a rapid rate.
Going to the grocery store may have an increased feeling of urgency, especially when seeing scarce aisles. While it is good to prepare, do be mindful that you need to make the best decision for YOU and your family which may not be reflective of the purchasing decisions of others.
Financial stress can permeate into many other areas of your life. Students that would like to schedule a Zoom appointment with our team to discuss financial stress, budgeting, or other general personal finance topics may do so here.
- Some additional resources that may be of interest: Nutrition – When shopping, consider what choices you can make to be healthy while also taking your financial resources into consideration. You can use MyPlate to help you build healthy meals that include the recommended portion sizes for each of the food groups. MyPlate also provides tip sheets and recipes for college students looking to eat well on a budget. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/
- General Financial Wellness Resources: https://hokiewellness.vt.edu/students/health-andinformation-resources/financial-wellness-resources.html
Staying fit and active is the best way to build a strong immune system and stay healthy. Recreational Sports has been working hard to develop many different ways for Hokies everywhere to get their movement at home. We would like to introduce "Rec Sports Virtual" - all of the ways we'll continue to help Hokies move during this challenging semester!
The first platform is free to you as a result of our partnership with Les Mills. It has workout options across eight different categories that are ready to play now. No subscription is required at this time, as all the videos are free! The workouts will remain open and available as long as the COVID-19 situation continues. Please click here to start exercising.
We also have a two week Hokie Fit online workout opportunity for everyone, free of charge. These videos feature our very own student trainers that will lead you through body weight workouts you can do at any time, in any space. You can find more information and access those workouts here.
In addition to the above resources, we will also be offering live group fitness classes via Zoom, virtual intramurals, Instagram live sports trivia, social media trick shot challenges, happiness groups and more! Please visit our website for more information on all of our virtual programming.
So that we may serve the health care needs of students on campus or in the local community, the health center remains open and operating under regular Spring Semester hours:
- Monday – Thursday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Saturday: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
The health and safety of our students remains our top priority, and therefore we have implemented the following:
- Students are now only able to make appointment by telephone. Online appointment scheduling is no longer available for the spring semester. This is to allow our staff to appropriately screen students for symptoms of COVID-19 and to provide instructions for when they enter the health center for their appointment.
- Additionally, students are being screened at the point of entry to the health center and masked when appropriate. To mitigate transmission, our clinic has developed a process to ensure patients with symptoms of upper respiratory illness are distanced from students with other acute issues.
- We are ensuring we have the necessary supplies, equipment, and appropriate staffing.
- As of now, the health center is not providing testing for COVID-19. Currently, we are working with the Virginia Department of Health for any student who meets the CDC criteria for a Person Under Investigation (PUI) to determine if a student can and should be tested.
- If your student has concerns that they have or may have been exposed to COVID-19, they may call the health center for guidance at 540-231-6444. Our staff are working diligently to answer student’s calls and questions.
Lastly, we know that this can be a scary time for both students and parents. As health care providers and community members, we know that our students are looking to us for guidance, care, and calm. We at Schiffert Health Center are dedicated to meeting and exceeding the needs of our Hokies. We’re all in this together!
We understand this is a very stressful time. Cook Counseling Center remains dedicated to meeting the needs of all Virginia Tech enrolled students who are in need of support.
In an effort to protect the health and safety of our undergraduate, graduate and professional students, and staff as well as to provide mental health services to students, effective March 23, 2020, Cook Counseling Center will be moving to a telehealth model of care. The center is working to establish access to a secure and confidential platform for video telehealth via Zoom. This will take some time. Until the HIPPA-compliant Zoom platform is configured, all contact, with the exception of crisis consultations, will be made by telephone.
On March 25, Cook Counseling Center will contact all current clients via email who have scheduled appointments for the week of March 30th and ask that they confirm whether the student would like to keep that appointment. Clients must call our office at 540-231-6557 during business hours (8:00am - 5:00pm) to confirm their appointment times. Appointments for the week of March 30th will be cancelled if the student does not respond by 5pm on March 27, 2020.
Any current clients who do not have a scheduled appointment can contact their therapist to request a telehealth session as described below. At the time of the appointment, the clinician will work with the student to identify coping resources, possible local referrals, and help the student resolve the current issue. At the time of the consultation, the clinician and client can determine whether another appointment is appropriate.
Mental Health Emergencies
Students experiencing a mental health emergency can access crisis mental health support during daytime business hours in our McComas office and after hours at 540-231-6557. The Crisis Consultation team will be available to students who are experiencing a mental health emergency, have no respiratory symptoms and can physically come into the McComas office for an in-person meeting. The Crisis Consultation team can also work with a student through phone and/or Zoom modalities. Only walk-in crisis consultations will be face to face. All other therapy or consultations will be telehealth. Other crisis resources are available on our Emergency Services website page.
Any new clients or clients who do not have a currently scheduled appointment can call in to request a telehealth session as described below. At the time of the appointment, the clinician will work with the student to identify coping resources, possible local referrals, and help the student resolve the current issue. During the consultation, the clinician and client can determine whether another appointment is appropriate.
To access a telephone consultation, new clients should call 540-231-6557 and request to speak to the triage clinician. This clinician will ask for the student name, VT student number, email, phone number, and the nature of the request. Students in crisis will be referred to the Crisis Consultation Team. The triage clinician will schedule a telehealth appointment for the student with a clinician. The triage clinician will e-mail a copy of the informed consent to the student. The assigned clinician will call the student at the time of the appointment. The clinician will work with the student to identify coping resources, possible local referrals, and help the student resolve the current issues. During the consultation, the clinician and client can determine whether another appointment is appropriate.
Psychiatry clinicians will contact scheduled students and will determine if a phone consultation may be appropriate rather than an in-person visit. The psychiatry nursing staff can also assist with refill requests. Students requesting refills should contact the nursing staff at 540-231-6557.
All other services to the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, the Maryland-Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute will transition to a phone or telehealth sessions. Students can email these clinicians or call 540-231-6557 to set up a phone consultation time.
Cook Counseling acknowledges the impact of covid-19 on students and knows it is typical to experience anxiety, worry or fear. The center’s website contains a number of resources that will continue to be updated as more information and resources become available. Below are helpful resources for coping with covid-19:
Taking Care of Yourself and Others
Staff discuss important ways to take care of yourself and others during the covid-19 outbreak in this video.
- How to Connect with Cook Counseling Center
Our office provides services and accommodations to those with disabilities, and also serves those with temporary disabilities or severe illness. This includes if a student were to have a concussion, if they broke their wrist and wasn't able to take notes, or if they have an extended illness that was preventing them from being able to perform their usual tasks.
- Support for accommodations
- Academic relief and suspension appeal
- Standardized testing
Some accommodations include:
- Classroom accommodations
- Accommodations for the deaf and hard of hearing students
- Testing centers
- Note takers
- Alternative text
- Special housing
The SSD office will review disability documentations year-round, there is no deadline to apply. If your student already has a 504 plan or IEP you can submit them to our office.