Photo: The Northern Caribbean University’s male dormitory, Cedar Hall.
Photo Credit: Jermilee Morrison
By: Dainelle Hunter
A new initiative is set to be implemented to protect dorm students at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) as a COVID-19 spike rocks the healthcare system. Director of Health Services, Diana Wright-Richards, said the program will focus on holistic health, which encompasses all aspects of wellness.
“Everything pertaining to the mental, spiritual, physical, emotional—the holistic individual—will be catered to [in] this protocol that we’re implementing,” she said.
The Mandeville-based institution assists regional efforts to combat over 2000 active COVID-19 cases and a surge in hospitalization. In keeping with the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Health Message, which emphasizes healthy living and natural remedies, members of the Health and Wellness team at NCU are opting to take a health-based approach to mitigate the viral spread.
Wright-Richards said that holistic home treatments—which typically incorporate the use of natural medicines—are among solutions being considered.
“We are looking at establishing a holistic wellness program for dorm students with home treatments … to help to minimize the potential harm that the COVID-19 and its variants have,” she said.
She added that further information will be shared publicly at a later date.
Dean of Jamaica Hall, Lilith Scarlett, said that while prior protocols, including room checks and social distancing, remain a part of the regime, new measures will seek to motivate students to be proactive about their health.
“The aim is to encourage the students to build their immune system … [but] there are different levels [of illness] that people face,” she said, noting that those who are not in severe condition may benefit from at-home remedies.
Wright-Richards also said all persons should consider natural treatment due to its restorative properties, but those with any flu-like symptoms are encouraged to seek early intervention.
Through proactivity, the director said she believes that students will learn to take personal responsibility for their health, which is a key part of the initiative.
However, she said she expects some challenges, as not everyone will be eager to adapt to lifestyle changes, such as adjustments to diet and exercise routines.
“We already know that not everybody has jumped onto the whole aspect of holistic wellness … so I’m expecting a little abrasiveness when it comes to trying to implement this holistic mechanism,” she said.
Scarlett, nonetheless, said she believes that it is an achievable goal, as more students are becoming aware of the virus’ impact.
“If we never knew of anyone, all of us at this institution now know someone … who has been hit by COVID,” she said, referring to Vice President Dr. Newton Cleghorne, who reportedly passed from complications associated with the virus.
Voicing her support of the initiative, she added that she has personally benefited from natural flu remedies, such as onion tea. However, she said that students should still strictly follow campus protocols, as they proved to be effective in the past school year.
In addition, Wright-Richards said she hopes that the new initiative, once finalized, will allow students and staff alike to not only mitigate the viral spread but also learn the true meaning of health.
The director added that preparations for this program are almost complete.