The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Health Center transitioned to virtual appointments following water line rupture

4 min read

Student Health Center expected to open on Oct. 30. | Abbey Magnet, The Weekly Ringer


Senior Writer

From Oct. 23–30, the University of Mary Washington’s Student Health Center’s services were temporarily disrupted due to a hot water line rupture in Lee Hall. As a result, the Health Center moved their appointments online.

Following the closure of their physical offices on Monday, Oct. 23, the Health Center moved the rest of their appointments online, which began on Tuesday, Oct. 24. 

UMW Police noticed the water seeping out of the Student Health Center on Saturday night during their rounds, according to Dr. Nancy Wang, the director of the Student Health Center. 

“We came in and tried to see students on Monday,” said Wang, describing the Health Center’s attempt to continue their services despite the water damage.  

Because the water caused drywall damage, the Health Center remained closed for additional repairs, which resulted in the Health Center having to be closed for longer than anticipated. 

Wang described why the Health Center decided to move to virtual appointments in light of the additional repairs.

“The only problem was they had all the fans blowing, so it was like a wind tunnel here,” said Wang. “We had somebody who was nice enough to bring earplugs in and then we had to pull them out so we could hear each other. It was just terrible. The phones were ringing, and it was really loud.”

Not only was the noise a concern for their ability to consult students, but the state of the space was also not conducive to having in-person appointments.

“There was wires everywhere because of the fans. It was a bit of a trip hazard as well as the fact it was a wind tunnel. There was just dust blowing everywhere. We just feel like it wasn’t safe for us to see students in here,” Wang continued. “We pretty much went virtual Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday [and] Friday. Initially, we thought we were going to open on Thursday, but the drywall were not dry enough.” 

Even though their office was closed, the Health Center continued to provide care virtually. They also were available to contact by phone or via email. 

Additionally, a list of local clinics was provided in a campus-wide email from Executive Director of University Communications Amy Jessee on Oct. 23. This list was relevant for students who preferred in-person appointments or those who needed in-person care, such as a test for strep throat. 

In the same email, students were also reminded that they should contact the UMW police in case of an emergency.

“I was feeling a bit sick and wanted to go to the Student Health Center. Unfortunately it was closed,” said William Andrehsen, a junior marketing major. “I had the option to do a virtual appointment, but it just seems odd having an online appointment, so I decided not to book the appointment.”

Even though Andrehsen didn’t make the appointment, he noted the Health Center’s attempt to continue service in light of their physical office being closed for repair.

“The Health Center giving that option does show that the Health Center cares about the students and is working to the best of their ability,” said Andrehsen.

 In addition to informing where students could access in-person medical care, the list of local clinics helped students identify additional ways to seek medical help in the area.

“I received the email that the Center operating was affected, and out of curiosity I took a look at the list provided by the Health Center,” said Andrew Kabiri, a senior business administration major. “I wasn’t sick, but now I have a list of local clinics I can attend after my time at UMW.”

The Center was expected to resume normal operating hours on Thursday, Oct. 26, but the repairs took longer than expected due to the drywall repair that continued the rest of the week.

In another campus-wide email from Jessee on Oct. 26, it was stated that the Health Center was expected to open on Oct. 30, though there was no follow-up affirming that normal operations had resumed on this date.

According to Wang, the Health Center did resume in-person operations on Oct. 30.

According to the Health Center’s mission statement, they are “dedicated to supporting the academic and co-curricular missions of the University of Mary Washington.” In addition, the Health Center’s mission indicates their aims to address student health needs through which the Health Center “enables students to participate as fully as possible in the classroom, our community and in its cultural activities.”

The Health Center works to fulfill their mission statement by providing accessible and timely primary medical care services to those who are sick or injured. The Health Center also offers preventative services as well, such as allergy shots, sexually transmitted disease testing, physical exams, contraceptive services and even travel consultations. Additionally, by collaborating with the Talley Center, they are also able to provide psychiatric medication consultation.