by Meghan Dundon

As Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) settles into a new normal with remote learning, mandatory temperature checks, enhanced cleaning procedures, and face coverings. Diane Parkes, one of the new COVID-19 Symptom Monitors, described her nightly routine in her new position. “I work Monday through Thursday nights from 4:30 to 6:30, sometimes 7:00,” said Parkes.

Remote learning and online courses have drastically cut down the number of students on campus. Because of this, Parkes is only testing a fraction of the student body in a given shift. “I see at least nine people, 63 if there are classes.”

Maria Padilla, the Chief of the College Police Department, created this new position that has been around for a month and a half. There was an orientation for new Monitors, where Chief Padilla selected individuals who had certain strengths for the job. For example, Parkes has training as an EMT in Centerville. With this experience, she has medical knowledge and an understanding of medical terminology, making her a good fit for the position.

At the beginning of Parkes’ shift, she checks in to the campus police office, logs into the logbook, and acquires her hours for the evening. After signing out a police radio, Parkes reports to her post outside the main entrance to the administration building. There, she puts on a reflective vest and relieves the previous COVID-19 Symptom Monitor as their shift ends. Equipped with her contactless thermometer, extra masks and sanitizer, she is ready for the night shift.

“If someone doesn’t get checked, I let the officer on duty know so they can escort them off campus,” said Parkes. According to Parkes, if someone comes on campus with a temperature of over 104 degrees, they are not allowed entry. “Everyone’s been very cooperative,” said Parkes, “I ask if they have a mask and could put it on for a contactless check.

Parkes said that one individual who had their temperature checked was irritated at the change, having never had to deal with the new procedures before. After explaining the new requirements and how new it is for everyone, the individual complied and was cooperative the next time they came to campus.

The role of a COVID-19 Symptom Monitor is a paid, new, and ever-changing position. According to the Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing, Patrick Stone, spring of 2021 will look very similar in terms of protocols, including the COVID-19 Symptom Monitors checking temperatures of students and faculty.