Resources made available for students remaining on campus over winter break

Isabelle Curtis

The University of New Hampshire (UNH) ended its in-person classes on Nov. 20 and made the switch to remote learning for the remainder of the semester. Several UNH services plan to continue supporting students on and off campus over the winter break that lasts from Monday, Nov. 23 until Friday, Jan. 29.  

UNH’s residence halls closed at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 25. However, approximately 100 residence hall students were approved to remain in on-campus housing over the winter break. An additional 350 students who live on-campus apartments, including the Gables and Woodside, have indicated plans to be on-campus for some part of the break, according to Housing & Residential Life’s Interim Director of Housing Victoria Perkins. 

Perkins explained that UNH is soliciting information from apartment residents so that housing “can ensure [residents] have all the COVID testing equipment/information they need to remain in compliance with the [twice] weekly testing protocol.”  

According to an email sent out from Police Chief Paul Dean, all undergraduate and graduate students staying in their regular housing, either off-campus or on-campus in Durham, Dover, Newmarket, or Lee, N.H. at any point during the winter break must continue participating in the UNH’s twice weekly testing program. Any students planning to visit campus during that time period are also expected to test during the weeks they are expected to visit.   

The New Hampshire reached out for more details about the testing protocols but did not receive a reply in time for publication.  

For students residing on campus over winter break Philbrook Dining Hall will be open seven days a week, including holidays. Winter break meal service begins on Dec. 23.  

PACS will continue to offer services to students both on and off campus over winter break. Telehealth, telephone or virtual face-to-face conferencing, will be available for students residing in New Hampshire, case management services for all other students, and urgent in-person visits.  

Elisa Bolton, Interim Director of PACS and Training Services, encourages students to call if they are unsure if they are eligible for an in-person visit due to UNH’s COVID-19 testing program.  

“It is critical that students know that we would never turn away a student in crisis,” said Bolton in an email to The New Hampshire.  

Bolton also highlighted additional mental health resources such as the WellTrack app. WellTrack provides a variety of self-guided and interactive resources such as mental wellness assessments, mood trackers and educational videos to help people manage their mental health symptoms. It is free-of-charge to UNH students, faculty and staff.  

Crisis Counseling can also be reached during PACS’s after hours, weekends, and holidays for emergency counseling.  

While Bolton hasn’t noticed an increase in student demand for their services the number has remained steady compared to past semesters. There has been a slight increase in students seeking help for academic and family distress. 

Health & Wellness will continue to open over winter break, barring the week UNH is closed due to Thanksgiving. They can be reached Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Students will be able to schedule both in-person and telehealth appointments for medical care, and telehealth appointments for wellness counseling and coaching.  

Limited massage therapy appointments will also be available at Thrive, Health & Wellness’ satellite office in the Hamel Recreation Center (HRC).  

Health & Wellness plans to continue to provide COVID-19 contact tracing for students that are participating in the UNH COVID-19 testing program over winter break. 

For non-emergency care during Health & Wellness’ after hours, students with a medical need are encouraged to (603) 862-9355. Students will be connected to a medical call center, where staff will conduct an assessment and make suggestions for care options, including urgent care centers or hospital visits.  

Students who need emergency care are instructed to dial 9-1-1.  

The HRC will also continue to be open with modified hours over winter break. Facilities will be open to all UNH community members who participate in the COVID-19 testing protocol with a valid WildCat Pass. The HRC hours between Nov. 21 and Jan. 29 are as follows: Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. This does not include holidays when UNH offices are closed.   

The HRC will also be offering modified virtual and in-person group exercise classes during the break. The schedule for classes will be available after Thanksgiving. Classes will be offered starting Dec. 7 through Dec. 15 and again Jan. 11 through Jan. 29.