COVID-19 concerns are still very much a part of campus life. At the University at Albany, State University of New York, a cohort of students called the Student Support Team (SST) is working to keep everyone safe. Since the fall of 2020, this group of highly-trained interdisciplinary students has been working as part of the institution’s Incident Management Team to help those who have been exposed to COVID-19, are exhibiting symptoms or have tested positive. The SST walks them through their next steps and reaches out daily to those who are quarantined or in isolation to check on their well-being.

The SST was launched through a partnership between the university’s National Center for Security & Preparedness, College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC), the School of Public Health (SPH) and the School of Social Welfare. This year, nine undergraduates attending SPH and CEHC make up the team.

Senior Sphurthy Kota said, “I wanted to combine my interests in both patient care and technology to help people during the pandemic. I enjoy getting to interact with students and help them during their quarantine and isolation and hopefully, make their quarantine period less lonely and frightful.”

Junior Irene Kyei said, “Having had COVID-19 when it started in 2020 gave me first-hand experience of what it feels like to be infected and be a student at the same time. Sometimes all you want to do is to talk to someone who will just listen to your tantrums. I wanted to be that someone that any student can talk to in their situation with COVID. In addition, I was motivated to join the team to gain experience in public health and disease prevention.”

You can read more about these supportive, knowledgeable students here.