Being away from people while you’re in quarantine can sometimes feel worse than the physical symptoms of illness.

To make sure those who are hunkered down to recover from COVID-19 (or an exposure to it), several Siena offices are performing wellness outreach in the form of goodie bags, phone calls and distanced visits. The Office of Health Promotion, the Counseling Center and the Mission Office are all checking in on students who have to step away from campus life until they are cleared to come back.

“It’s a real team effort,” said Kate Kaufman Burns, director of health promotion. “We’re doing everything we can so they don’t feel isolated.” 

The goodie bags can contain snacks, bookmarks, stress balls (for squeezing or throwing) and pamphlets with ideas for coping strategies and resources. Special Kahoot! nights are held so students can at least have some virtual fun. Burns said they are also delivering journals with tips on how to record their thoughts and feelings during these unprecedented times.

“The students are writing their way through this,” she said. 

Pat Bradway, Psy.D, associate director of the Counseling Center, said being away from friends and classmates is no joke, and that negative feelings are not uncommon.

“Isolation because of a lack of regular activities and routines is one of the most difficult aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and for those in quarantine those feelings are even more pronounced,” she said. “Clinicians at the Counseling Center want students to know that we are thinking of them and that we are available to offer support via Zoom.”

Burns said college administrators spend two to three hours each evening reaching out to students; they have made more than 150 of these outreach calls since February.

“We ask how they’re feeling, how they’re holding up,” she said. “We chat for a while. It makes a big difference for them to know they have support, and the parents appreciate it as well.”

“The care package left outside of my door made my day, and reminded me that my quarantine was a temporary situation, I was not alone, and that it would be over soon.”

Elizabeth Byrnes ’23