Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept across America in the past months, public health guidelines have brought challenges and, in some cases, opportunities to the Pitt State campus. On Friday, Aug. 19 and Saturday, Aug. 20, student nurses in attendance at the Irene Randsom Bradley School of Nursing gained hands on experience as part of the medical teams doing COVID-19 testing for incoming Pittsburg State students.
All students who moved into the residence halls were asked to take a COVID-19 test before moving in, as required by a Crawford County public health order, which was endorsed by the university.
Pittsburg State University students, faculty and staff are dealing with a much different start to school this year than any in the past.
Steve Erwin, vice president of Student Life, which oversees the Office of University Housing, said the testing was another step in a long list of moves the university is making to keep the community and the campus safe.
“Our goal is to help reduce the risk in Crawford County while providing our students with the best possible experience this fall,” Erwin said. “We want to open and stay open, and this will help bolster those chances.”
Kali Clingerman, senior in nursing, is one of the students who volunteered to do the testing.
“I got involved because I am the president of the student organization called the Kansas Association of Nursing Students (KANS),” Clingerman said. “The nursing school reached out to me to ask if any of our students would be willing to volunteer to help COVID-test students. I volunteered for Friday and Saturday for a total of four hours.”
Clingerman hopes the testing will enable the campus to stay open and allow students to experience a full campus life.
“As students, we come to Pittsburg State for the quality education that our professors provide, as well as the fun, positive atmosphere on campus,” Clingerman said. “In order to do that, this testing was necessary to keep campus open. I am thankful for the hard work that the university continues to do in order to keep my education at the highest quality, in the safest way possible.”
Clingerman said that even though she has worked with COVID-19 patients off of campus, the experience allowed her to gain more knowledge that she will later use in her profession.
“As a nursing student who works in healthcare, I have had some experience with COVID patients and/or testing for COVID,” Clingerman said. “I learned that there are many different methods of testing that can be utilized for accurate, timely identification of positive cases. I also learned it takes a team of highly dedicated individuals, who care about Pittsburg State and our students, to make this possible. The Bryant Student Health Center and the School of Nursing put in long hard hours collecting samples, labeling them, sending them to the labs, and notifying students of their results.”
Clingerman said she is thankful for all of the work put in by the University to ensure the health and safety for all returning to campus.
“The effort put in by these individuals, to keep Pittsburg State open and healthy, was tremendous and deserves our sincerest gratitude,” Clingerman said.
The tests results took approximately 24 hours to get back. Students were allowed to move in while they waited on results, but they were encouraged to practice social distancing and stay away from others. Those who declined to take the test were asked to participate in a 14-day structured quarantine, supervised by Bryant Student Health Center staff.