Health Center Changes; No more walk-in appointments for now


A student walking down the hallway of the Health Center located in Carter Hall. (Jan. 2020)

The Health Center at California University of Pennsylvania has undergone new procedures to prevent the start or spread of the coronavirus.

In previous semesters before the virus, the students were able to walk in during hours to be seen by a doctor or a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner. There were also work-study positions where students worked at the desk to check in other students that needed to be seen.

Students at Cal U received an announcement November 11, via email, advising students to call the Health Center with any health concerns. The email also emphasized, “NO walk-in visits are available at this time.”

“Before a student is evaluated at the health center they should call first and speak with a nurse.” Debra Anderson, Cal U’s Nurse Supervisor said. “The nurse will ask the student screening questions in regards to possible symptoms of COVID-19 or contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.”

Anderson also describes the situation in which a student would happen to have Covid-19 related symptoms, “If during the screening process a student reports symptoms of COVID-19 and are not in an emergent situation the student will be referred for local testing at this time.”

Anderson also included that referred students could fill out questionnaire to be tested at the Walmart located in Brownsville, PA. The Walmart has a drive through in which they are providing Covid-19 testing. The Monongahela Valley Hospital is also providing testing.

“A telehealth appointment may be scheduled when appropriate or the student may be cleared to visit the health center for an evaluation,” Anderson said. “An appointment would be made at that time.”

Calling for an appointment is not the only safety measure they have implemented; they sometimes use another door to limit the passing-by of other students. The Cal U Health Center, otherwise known as the Wellness Center, is located on the bottom floor of Carter Hall. The door to the wellness center, that is most commonly used, is typically locked.

To enter, students have to press a red button on the righthand side of the doors on the wall which sends a call to the nurse to let the student in. The same door is typically used when students exit the Health Center. There is another door that is not commonly used for walk-ins, that leads directly outside that is where emergency vehicles are able to pull in.

“The way students are seen is very structured,” Diane Tomi, the Administrative Assistant at Cal U’s Health Center said. “One nurse takes the student to see the Doctor or Nurse Practitioner at a time, sometimes we have a student come in the door and we have them exit out the back door.”

The email also includes that a nurse will be on call Monday through Friday at all times, as well as the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) from 7:00a.m. to 7:00p.m. At the end of the email it urges students to call 911 in the case of an emergency.