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Unsung Heroes: Health Center Appreciation Day

By Sandra Santana
Fridays on Mount Ida always bring good times, but today’s Morning Reports revealed a special surprise to some very unsuspecting audience members.

Dean of Students and Wellbeing Shelley Maher was a literal rainbow of sunshine as she announced an all-school virtual celebration for the Emma Willard School Health Center team. The “Health Center heroes,” as one faculty member described them, have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020, working tirelessly around the clock to keep our doors open and the entire Emma community safe.  
Accompanied by Athletic Director Liz Parry, Ms. Maher snuck into the Health Center during today’s broadcast, surprising our nursing team and counseling staff with gifts for their exceptional service during these challenging times. In addition, stacks of thank you cards from the community were shared, expressing our most sincere gratitude for the many ways they keep Emma running. 

The Health Center team, composed of school nurses and the counseling staff, promote the health and safety of students, intervene with potential and active health issues, and actively collaborate with others to advance student wellbeing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Center team has collaborated with the administrative team, faculty, residential and student life, and outside health professionals like epidemiologist Dr. Trey Dobson, to ensure public health guidance is being followed throughout campus. 

Along with treating health conditions and other common ailments, the Health Center team helps conduct weekly COVID-19 testing, jumping in at a moment's notice to initiate contact tracing for confirmed positive cases. Nurses also help administer various COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to educators and eligible students during on-campus clinics, while the counseling team assists students with navigating the social and emotional effects of unrelenting change.

As the pandemic has ebbed and flowed, our needs as a school have as well. Whether it is ensuring staffing levels meet the ever-changing needs of our community or partnering with another historic Troy institution, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, for surveillance testing, Emma Willard School is committed to providing the resources necessary to keep Mount Ida buzzing. This year, both the nursing and counseling teams have welcomed new members to support their collective efforts in creating and maintaining a safe and healthy campus community. 

While larger in-person gatherings have been scaled back, the Emma Willard School community shared their overwhelming appreciation for the Health Center team during the virtual celebration. Cheers and gratitude poured through the Zoom chat, echoing the praises of healthcare professionals around the world who have and continue to support us throughout these unprecedented times. 

Join us in celebrating the selfless efforts of our Health Center team and congratulating them on an incredible job well done. We cannot thank you enough for your commitment and dedication to everyone who calls Emma Willard School home. 
    • Jeffrey Miner of RPI with members of the Emma Willard School nursing staff kicking off the testing partnership last year.

    • Gym or Kellas Commons? Testing sites have popped up all throughout campus to accommodate the needs of the community.

    • Testing days with a smile! Emma Willard School nursing staff makes weekly surveillance testing a breeze.

    • Counseling Services supports students as they navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Honoring its founder’s vision, Emma Willard School proudly fosters in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world.
285 Pawling Avenue, Troy, NY 12180 | P: 518.833.1300 F: 518.833.1815
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Welcome to Emma Willard School, a private day and boarding high school for girls in Troy, NY, and a leader in girls' education for over 200 years. 

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