OLEAN — In a recent report by the American College Health Association, SUNY Jamestown Community College was singled out along with other community colleges for their role in managing COVID-19 crises on campus and in the community.
An ACHA publication in August, titled “Managing Public Health Crises at Community Colleges: 3 Key Strategies,” shared guidelines from 14 community colleges across the United States as a means to help other institutions address the diverse and growing health needs of students resulting from pandemics .
The JCC is known for its partnerships with the New York State Department of Health and the Cattaraugus and Chautauqua County Health Departments. This collaboration resulted in a large number of vaccinated individuals in the community and thorough follow-up of the contract thanks to free rapid antigen tests provided by both counties.
The article states: “JCC Health Services has played a critical role in the COVID-19 mitigation efforts, assisting infected individuals and conducting daily health checks. These community partnerships have been critical in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Roger Johnson, a nurse at the Cattaraugus County Health Center, is one of eight members of the ACHA Community College Advisory Council who gathered resources for the publication. The council was formed in response to a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 college students that found students at two-year colleges were significantly less likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19 than those at four-year colleges.
Through his work with the council, Johnson was selected to serve on a panel to present at the 2024 ACHA National Conference.
“I am extremely proud of Roger, on several levels, as his work at the national and state community college health boards led to this recognition,” said Paula Snyder, Cattaraugus County campus executive director.
Johnson came to JCC in January 2021, one of the peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic, after working as a registered nurse at Olean General Hospital and Olean Medical Group.
Her efforts, along with those of fellow JCC Registered Nurse Kathy Manhart and Health Center Assistant Charlene Johnson have helped students, faculty and staff stay healthy during the pandemic.
“In addition to the district monitoring for COVID, we’ve been doing our own thing here,” Johnson said. “In fact, we continue to do so. If someone gets sick today, we continue to monitor that person.
“We were making wellness calls, checking in and texting every day,” he continued. “We’ve made it known that we’re here – contact us if you have COVID-19, feel sick or have any questions. We were that place for students and our faculty and staff. They didn’t have to go outside college to get that information. Since we are registered nurses, we were able to direct the care and tell them what to do. I believe we have helped many people.”
The JCC campuses in Olean and Jamestown have also been the hubs for state and county COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Johnson said the college has previously partnered with the health departments in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties to have flu and sexually transmitted infection vaccine testing clinics on campus.
“We took that partnership that we had with the flu shot every year and the STI clinic and basically stepped it up,” Johnson said.
“With community colleges, we’re trying to serve our community,” he added. “The JCC was a place where people from the community came to get vaccinated against COVID. When the state was here in early 2021, people were coming here from other states, two or three hours away, to get their COVID vaccines. That is our constant mission, to do good for our community, because we are in these communities.”
A 2011 graduate of JCC’s nursing program, Johnson is a State University of New York security supervisor. At JCC, he is a member of the Behavioral Interventions Team, the Leadership Council and the Student Affairs Management Team.
Johnson is also an active member of the national ACHA nursing and administration groups and the New York State College Health Association.
“ACHA gives us our standard practice procedures for college and university health,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important to be a part of it. That’s where we draw a lot of information about how to direct our care for the entire college community.”