NMU's School of Nursing will hold a “Hopping Into Summer” celebration March 22-26. The event is designed to interject some fun to boost nursing students' spirits for the remainder of a particularly demanding semester, and to thank them for assisting with campus COVID-19 screenings and community vaccination clinics. It will feature decorations, contests, giveaways and treats revolving around daily themes. All activities were vetted and will comply with pandemic safety regulations.
NMU bypassed its traditional spring break this year because of the potential risk of students and employees being exposed to the virus while away and transmitting it to others upon their return. Without that reprieve, and with the nursing curriculum uniquely altered by COVID-19, School of Nursing secretaries Tina Biolo and LuAnne Thurston recommended some type of internal spring break to propel students through the remainder of the semester.
“This will be especially beneficial for our first-semester students,” said Associate Dean and Director Kristi Robinia. “They're usually off campus quite a bit with clinicals, but they've spent most of their time in the campus labs and simulation center. They also have to wear N95 masks and face shields for six hours every day because we treat our lab spaces like a hospital setting.
“We are granted exceptions to the 6-foot rule because of the hands-on nature of nursing education and extra precautions such as additional PPE and daily screenings. Plus, we're vaccinated thanks to UP Health System. [Associate professor] Katie Menard worked with UPHS to schedule vaccine appointments for most of our students and faculty at the beginning of this semester.”
Robinia said another cause for celebration is last month's successful site visit by the school's accrediting agency, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. But she stressed that is the “Hopping into Summer” event will not be a “party” atmosphere.
“We're using all kinds of precautions,” she said. “Food items will be offered to go. There are scavenger hunts students can do on their own for prize drawings. Everything we're doing is planned to maintain safety. Normally we might have a pizza party, but that's not possible right now. So we'll remain compliant, but still have some fun.”
The week's themes include “Early Dog Days of Summer,” “Picnic Day,” “Easter Treats,” “Tchotchke Day” and “Beach Day.” There will also be summertime music and a faculty door-decorating contest.
Robinia can be reached at 227-2042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.