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COVID Health and Wellness Update for the New Academic Year

DEPARTMENT(S): 
August 9, 2022

The message below was sent to all WPI students today as we begin to welcome them back to residence halls and campus. We’re eager to thread health and well-being through the campus experience for everyone through wellness programming and a more autonomous, self-managed approach to COVID-19. Please review the full message, and watch for more detailed communications as the year begins. 

 

 

 

 

  • Everyone should prioritize their well-being, including physical, mental, academic, and social-emotional well-being
  • We’re switching to a self-managed care approach to COVID-19: test when ill or in close contact, isolate at home when needed
    • Students should self-test 24 hours before returning to campus
    • Anyone who is ill or tests positive—students, faculty, staff—should not return to campus until they’re no longer positive.
  • Tap into wellness resources now and all year 

Dear new and returning WPI students,

Greetings from the hill! With the dawn of the new academic year approaching, we want to share some insights and information regarding shifts in the university’s approach to (and management of) mental health and COVID-19.

As we’ve continued to explore and invest in student, faculty, and staff well-being—physical, mental, and social-emotional—a simple truth has emerged: true well-being is a team effort that relies greatly upon shared attitudes and habits, and it must be woven into all aspects of our individual and community experiences. WPI is taking a comprehensive approach to supporting well-being and is modifying systems and processes related to academics and campus life and enhancing resources and programming to support our community.

Well-Being: Practice Self-Care and Offer Support
Starting a new academic year can sometimes bring a mix of emotions, including stress. Managing stress (and mental health overall) is easier said than done, but we’re here to encourage you to use tools and resources—and make some fundamental choices—to help create space and grace for flexibility and care.

Throughout the summer, many thoughtful and caring faculty, staff, and students have been working to refine, develop, and provide even better tools, resources, support, services, and information. Bookmark our Be Well Together web page, which will continually evolve to include new offerings and can be useful whenever you need a reminder of how to care for yourself and others. 

Our goal is to help with every aspect of campus life in support of well-being. Of course, resources are useful only when they are used; it is up to each person to gauge their own needs and concerns and make wellness a priority. A significant part of overall well-being relates to COVID-19.

COVID-19: A Self-Managed Care Approach

Based on ongoing monitoring, planning, and our community’s demonstrated commitment to supporting each other’s health and safety—and the fact that we’re a highly vaccinated and boosted population—WPI’s Coronavirus Monitoring Group (CMG) has authorized a shift to a “self-managed care” approach.  Everything you need to know about it can be found on the COVID-19 Resources page, which will be regularly updated. Of note, you will:

  • Have access to free rapid tests when you have symptoms, or when you’ve been a close contact. Weekly surveillance testing is not required.
  • Self-report positive test results via the confidential Positive Case Form (https://hub.wpi.edu/Me/My-Case), which will provide instructions on next steps. This replaces the Symptom Tracker.
  • Isolate or quarantine at home or your residence hall if positive.

TIME-SENSITIVE: All students are asked to self-test 24 hours before arriving/returning to campus. Anyone who tests positive should report that result via the Positive Case Form and follow the instructions on next steps.

Student Development & Counseling Center (SDCC) and Student Health Services

Each of these offices provides support for students who are experiencing physical and/or mental health issues. To learn more, visit the SDCC webpage here and the Health Services webpage here.

Center for Well-Being
Everyone on campus is encouraged to check out the new Center for Well-Being, which is currently located in Unity Hall 457 while its permanent space in Daniels Hall is being prepared. Learn more on the CWB website and check back often for tools, resources, and programs as they are developed and rolled out to the community.

Personal wellness and community care is centered on the four components of wellness: a sense of vitality (managing cognitive, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual energy); meaning and purpose; healthy relationships; and community. We hope every member of our community will work together to help infuse these components into our campus and build an environment of wellness.

Sincerely,

Charlie Morse, Dean of Student Wellness

Sabrina Rebecchi, Director of Student Development & Counseling Center

Lisa Pearlman, Director of Student Health Services

Paula Fitzpatrick, Director of the Center for Well-Being