Georgia College provides extra CARE for students

Georgia College provides extra CARE for students

T he COVID CARE Response Team—made up of 45 staff members from across campus—has been created to help students through the trying ordeal of testing positive for coronavirus or being exposed to someone who has.
 
Dr. Shawn Brooks, vice president for Student Life, was concerned about the challenges students may face, so he formed a team to support them through those challenges.
 
“Georgia College prides itself in the care we show to all members of our community. Student Life is at the forefront of providing care to students who find themselves in academic, emotional, or physical distress. This is the spirit behind the creation of our COVID CARE Response Team,” said Brooks.  

“It’s a privilege for me to be able to serve the students in this way. I am here for them as a one-stop-shop.”
– Kari Brown

When the university learns of a student who has tested COVID-positive, is having COVID-related symptoms or who has been asked to isolate because of exposure to someone who is positive, they are being assigned to a member of the COVID CARE Response Team.  

“These team members reach out by both text message and phone calls to check in with the student,” said Brooks. “The staff also provide their contact information to the student so that if the student encounters any problems related to their illness or isolation, the student has someone to turn to for assistance.”  

Kari Brown calls to check on a student.
Kari Brown calls to check on a student.

Staff from departments across the university have stepped in to rally around the students. They provide a listening ear while a student expresses anxiety over having to isolate or miss class. They also serve as a liaison for the student across campus. Each student has one person they can call to help regardless of their issue. 

“It’s a privilege for me to be able to serve the students in this way,” said Kari Brown, a member of the COVID CARE Response Team. “I am here for them as a one-stop-shop.”

Staff can connect students to resources on campus—such as student health services, academic affairs or auxiliary services—taking the pressure off the student. And Brown said the outreach goes “far beyond just phone calls and texts.”

“I had a student who was having to isolate, and she didn’t have anyone who could pick up meals for her at the MAX or the money for groceries. I made a few phone calls, and we were able to have groceries delivered. The staff in Auxiliary Services and the MAX also came together to get meals prepared for us to drop off at her apartment,” said Brown.

“Everyone was willing to and ready to jump in to help this young lady and take that worry off of her mind. As a mom to a college student myself, I would hope someone would make sure my child was ok, and I am more than happy to do what I can for these students – even if it’s just chatting on the phone.” 

Brown’s sentiments were echoed by Kendall Stiles, senior director for community engagement, who has volunteered to help deliver food to students.

Kendall Stiles picks up food from the MAX to deliver to a student.
Kendall Stiles picks up food from the MAX to deliver to a student.

“I am so glad that I was able to give support to students who are isolated or quarantined during this time. I was able to help meet one of their basic needs, which is assisting them with getting food,” said Stiles. “Sodexo and Auxiliary Services were able to work out the logistics of getting the food from the MAX. Then I was able to pick it up and take it to the student’s home. It made me feel like I was making an impact in that student’s life.” 

Every day the COVID CARE Response Team receives updated lists of students who are returning to campus or are having to isolate, and each day they reach out to students on their rosters. They check in to see how the students are feeling, reassuring them if needed, and providing support and care for each student they encounter. 

“Student Life will continue to provide this service to students as long as it is needed.”
– Dr. Shawn Brooks