Kathleen Schachman, Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in Nursing, said she hopes students exercise precautions but refrain from panicking about COVID-19.
Schachman, who also works at a clinic, said students and patients alike can take “common sense” steps to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19.
“There are a number of things we can do to minimize spread,” she said. “The universal precautions are handwashing, covering your mouth and staying home if you are ill.”
Although young, healthy students are not as likely to contract COVID-19, Schachman said that is not true of everyone in a student’s life. Even if students are not personally afraid of contracting it, Schachman said their friends or
loved ones with immune deficiencies or who are seniors could be harmed if they contract COVID-19.
As such, it is crucial for everyone, even the healthy, to take precautions. Schachman said her clinic will begin integrating more telehealth services to avoid unnecessary social interactions.
“At my clinic, my plan for patients is to integrate more telehealth,” she said. “Medicare recently loosened the rules for telehealth.”
Previously, Medicare required patients still be in a clinic even for telehealth visits. Schachman said Medicare is not enforcing the rule right now to help limit contact and possible exposure to COVID-19.
“The requirement that a patient be sitting in the clinic has been waived to reduce contact and vulnerability,” she said.
Schachman said she wanted to stress to students that it is critical to “err on the side of caution.”
“A lot of people are vulnerable,” she said. “Put their needs first.”