York College’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics a “Pathway” to Returning to Community
From faculty and staff to student volunteers and employees from all corners of the campus, York College of Pennsylvania’s community worked to return to a healthier world together.
Carter Landis ’22 remembers the concern some people had walking into Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. She knew how they felt. She, too, had been nervous to get it, so the Nursing student expressed empathy and shared facts with whomever needed them.
“Seeing so many people file in to get their vaccine and knowing I could do something to help them feel better about it was really important to me,” Landis says. “I knew I wanted to be part of this clinic, no matter what small contribution that may have been.”
Landis was one of several York College of Pennsylvania students who volunteered at COVID-19 vaccine clinics on campus. Working at Country Meadows Retirement Community as a Medication Associate, Landis was able to get a vaccine early in the rollout process.
“I don’t like shots, but I trust the technology and the medicine,” she says. “Seeing residents go from being isolated and afraid to seeing family members again was the best feeling. I want that for all of us.”
A collaborative effort
Health and safety on campus is never something that gets brushed off, says Joshua Landau, Associate Provost of Student Success and Interim Dean of Student Development and Campus Life. In the pandemic, he says, “it was paramount.”
There were so many sacrifices that had been made to ensure the safety of students and faculty that it felt like the necessary thing to do to hold vaccine clinics on campus, Landau added. “If we see a pathway to returning to what we consider to be an open society, the community that we know, we were going to do whatever we needed to make that happen.”
The lift needed to support clinics on campus would be made not only by Landau and his staff, but from people across the campus. Student nurses were key in helping with check-ins, talking to people after the required 15-minute waiting period, and helping people understand expectations.
By coordinating with both WellSpan York Hospital and Rite Aid, Landau was confident that York College’s clinics would be as efficient, professional, and safe as any clinic hosted at other sites. When each clinic opened and people began coming inside for their vaccine, Landau was overcome with all the people who helped pull it together.
“What I’ll never forget”
The effort was a commitment to students, including some who didn’t have a car to drive off-site to a clinic. It was a heartfelt push from numerous departments and students alike.
Little moments, such as when Amy Downs, Director of Health Services at York College, knelt beside someone and held their hand as they received the vaccine, reminded him of the magnitude of the project.
“That’s what I’ll remember 20 to 30 years from now,” he says. “It’s that compassion, that moment of caring and coming together and saying, ‘this is important, and we need to do it.’ That’s what I’ll never forget.”