What you need to know if /when your Student Gets Sick at UMass

Red-Cross-First-Aid-Icon-2400pxParents/caregivers are often the first to hear “I think I’m sick” from their kids. Moms/Dads/Caregivers use the time-tested cheek-to-forehead maneuver to triage this complaint. Now that we’re more than an arms-length away from our kids we usually receive this statement via text.

What now? Luckily, University Health Services (UHS) at UMass Amherst is there for our kids.

There are caring and licensed clinical staff at UHS who will make sure your student gets the best of care. Karen Dunbar Scully, the Communication and Marketing Coordinator for UHS, recommends using the Nurse Triage Line. “If your child doesn’t know whether a visit to the clinic is warranted, they can call (413) 577-5229 and get guidance from one of our nurses over the phone.”

If they need to visit the clinic, they can call for an appointment or walk in – the clinic has hours every day of the week. If they don’t feel well enough to trek across campus, the UHS Shuttle will pick them up at the residence hall and bring them to the clinic, and then back to their hall.  No long waits in a room full of sick students either – your student can text “clinic” to (413) 944-8562. They will receive a response text with a number and a reminder text when it’s almost their turn to be seen.

As of this writing, UHS is beginning its annual flu vaccination campaign. Mobile flu clinics will pop up around campus making it easy for your UMass student to get a shot, just bring a health insurance card and there won’t be any charge.

Moms/Dads/Caregivers: If you want to speak to a provider about your student’s care, please be aware that the law prevents university medical staff from discussing it with you without your student’s written consent (if your student is over 18 years of age). UHS will provide your student with a waiver to sign so you can converse with members of the medical team.

UHS has all the info you need on their website. They are also on Twitter @UMASSUHS.

In addition to utilizing UHS, some other points your student should consider when they are sick are:

Sick Tray- Dining Services can provide sick trays with chicken soup, gelatin, ginger ale, etc. if a student is too sick to make it to the dining commons for their meals.  They should call the dining commons manager closest to their hall and inform the manager they need a sick tray. A friend will need to take the student’s UCard to the dining commons and pick up the tray. A meal will then be deducted from the student’s meal plan.

Informing instructors: If a student is sick and can’t make it to class, they should always contact their instructors to inform them of their absence.

Beth Uhl-Israel is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality and the mother of a Biology undergrad.