AMHERST, Mass. – Serena Sarage, a native of South Hadley, has realized her two-pronged dream of moving to Colorado and joining the heroic efforts of the nursing workforce during a once-in-a-century pandemic.
Similarly, Melissa Petersen, who grew up in Maine, has been hired as a newly graduated nurse into a residency program to care for seriously ill cardiac patients at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
Their quick entry into the nursing field at a time when nurses are desperately needed was made possible by a University of Massachusetts Amherst request to move up their formal graduation date one month, to Jan. 1, so they could qualify to schedule the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to apply for licensure as a registered nurse. UMass Amherst’s request to accommodate nursing graduates moving out of state was approved by Marty Meehan, president of the five-campus University of Massachusetts system.
The Public Health Promotion Center continues to closely monitor COVID-19 test results, and university officials are encouraged by the recent moderation in positive cases. If this moderation continues, the university may be able to resume face-to-face instruction, possibly next week. A decision will be forthcoming in the next few days.
A new call center has been established to provide answers about UMass services and policies in the pandemic.
The call center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Those with questions should call 413-577-2999 to speak with staff or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any concerns specifically about student conduct should be submitted through the Dean of Students online reporting tool.
As a result of a surge in COVID-19 cases, revealed at the campus’s symptomatic and asymptomatic testing sites, UMass Amherst is currently conducting business in a High Risk operational posture. The designation and related mandatory restrictions, made in consultation with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, was declared on Sunday, Feb. 7, and will be in place for a minimum of 14 days, or until Feb. 21. It will only be lifted when public health conditions improve substantially.
The decision to move to High Risk came just two days after the level was raised to Elevated Risk, prompted by a continuing rise in positive tests, predominantly among undergraduate students.