Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, BYU-Idaho has sought to meet state and local health district guidance to keep students and employees healthy. In many cases, the university has gone above and beyond what was required to keep everyone safe. With COVID-19 vaccines now available in the community to everyone 12 and older, BYU-Idaho personnel have worked hard to make the vaccine available and easily accessible to as many of the campus community as possible.
Since January 6, the Student Health Center has offered the Moderna vaccine to qualifying employees and students. Though at first, only those in certain age groups or with health conditions could receive the vaccine, today anyone who meets age requirements can make an appointment. Health Center personnel administered about 60 vaccines every weekday when vaccinations were at their peak.
During the winter semester, President’s Council decided that it would like to provide easier vaccine access to more students and employees by holding vaccination clinics on campus. With a small staff, the Student Health Center could not run large vaccination clinics on its own and still provide all the services it normally gives. Instead, the Health Center has worked closely with Madison Memorial Hospital to run on-campus vaccination clinics.
Every Tuesday and Thursday in May and June, students, employees, and community members visited the Manwaring Center to get vaccinated. In its first week, 167 students were vaccinated in the Manwaring Center vaccination clinic. In the second week, more than 200 students and employees received the vaccine. By the beginning of July, the Student Health Center had administered more than 3,000 COVID-19 vaccines.
While vaccinations have become a primary focus for health care facilities, the Student Health Center still offers COVID-19 testing to those who experience COVID-like symptoms.
During the Fall 2020 Semester, in conjunction with Express Labs, a COVID-19 testing site was created for both drive-up and walk-through testing. The Student Health Center administered 9,898 COVID-19 tests that semester. During the winter semester, 3,513 tests were administered, and in spring semester, just over 200 tests have been administered. Student Health Center Director Shaun Orr says that most days, health center staff perform a handful of tests, whereas last fall they had anywhere from 200 to 300 people coming each day for testing.
“We are getting fewer and fewer people who want to be tested,” Orr said.
The COVID-19 vaccine, as well as testing, will continue to be available at the Student Health Center over the summer for students and employees.