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Rhodes College and Baptist Memorial Health Care announce partnership to provide COVID-19 services

The goal is to provide COVID-19 prevention, monitoring, testing, tracing, and health care services to students, faculty, and staff members.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rhodes College and Baptist Memorial Health Care have announced a comprehensive partnership to provide COVID-19 prevention, monitoring, testing, tracing, and health care services to students, faculty, and staff members.  

Forming this partnership with Baptist addresses the need for a full-scale safety protocol led by public health experts. Baptist will assist the college with developing its health and safety protocol plan and implementation strategies for that plan, including testing, tracing and care.

As part of the partnership, Baptist will administer a robust testing regimen for the Rhodes community. Baptist will assist Rhodes in deploying a regular symptom monitoring protocol that will allow for in-depth contact tracing and management of potential community occurrence of COVID-19 cases.

Services also include a virtual care clinic for positive COVID-19 cases in coordination with the Rhodes Student Health Clinic and a Return to Campus testing strategy that will test all faculty, staff, and students to ease potential concerns upon return.

“As we began planning for the fall semester, our planning committees quickly identified the need for additional health care resources. This relationship with Baptist will provide our campus with resources normally found at a large research university with an academic medical center. Most importantly, our students, faculty, and staff will be supported and cared for by physicians and providers from one of the nation’s top integrated health care networks,” Rhodes College President Marjorie Hass says. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity to help one of the country’s finest institutions welcome students, faculty and staff back to campus safely,” said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, co-director of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis’ infection prevention program. “We feel a tremendous responsibility to help our community weather the COVID-19 pandemic. This partnership is a natural extension of the tremendous investment we have made into educating, treating and protecting people from COVID-19, and we are excited to help Rhodes get back to educating its students.”

The partnership will focus on several areas, including:

Prevention Baptist will work with Rhodes to determine the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed across campus. They will also assist Rhodes in procuring necessary PPE. Additionally, Baptist will help Rhodes train its community on the proper use of PPE. Baptist will also advise the college on best practices for cleaning public areas and assist the college in procuring disinfectant supplies. 

Symptom Monitoring Rhodes will be implementing a COVID-19 monitoring program to identify community members with symptoms to prevent the spread of disease. Baptist experts will assist and advise the college as it establishes the program. The college will likely conduct symptom checks at certain locations and entrances around campus in addition to using an app for self-reporting. 

Testing Baptist will provide testing services to Rhodes. The college plans to test all students, faculty, and staff before the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. Baptist will also provide testing services for symptomatic members of the Rhodes community. Tests for symptomatic patients will be billed to the person’s health insurance.

Care & Tracing Baptist will establish a virtual COVID-19 care clinic for members of the community who test positive for COVID-19. The clinic will provide communication of test results, symptom tracking, self-care resources, return to class or work evaluations, and enhanced contact tracing. Members of the community will also have access to the Baptist Memorial Health Care network of hospitals and providers.

Resource Center Baptist will provide a 24/7 resource center staffed by licensed medical professionals. The center will provide immediate access to information and COVID-19 care resources.

On May 27, President Marjorie Hass announced that the college intends to begin in-person classes in August, if three conditions are met:

  1. The college has to create a health and safety protocol plan that appropriately reduces risk for students, faculty, and staff. 
  2. Students, faculty, and staff have to work together to build a shared culture of support for the health and safety protocols. 
  3. External public health conditions in Memphis have to support re-opening.

Rhodes is a nationally ranked residential college committed to the liberal arts and sciences. Our highest priorities are intellectual engagement, service to others, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and honor among ourselves. Our students live and learn on one of the country’s most beautiful campuses, located in the heart of Memphis, an economic, medical, and cultural center, making Rhodes one of a handful of prominent liberal arts colleges in a major metropolitan area. 

Baptist Memorial Health Care offers a full continuum of care to communities throughout the Mid-South. The Baptist system, which consistently ranks among the top integrated health care networks in the nation, comprises 22 affiliate hospitals in West Tennessee, Mississippi and East Arkansas; more than 4,500 affiliated physicians; Baptist Medical Group, a multispecialty physician group with more than 750 providers; home, hospice and psychiatric care; minor medical centers and clinics; a network of surgery, rehabilitation and other outpatient centers; and an education system highlighted by the Baptist College of Health Sciences. The Baptist system employs more than 19,100 people, and in fiscal year 2018, contributed more than $349 million in community benefit and uncompensated care to the communities it serves. The Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Memphis estimates that Baptist Memorial Health Care’s annual economic impact is more than $2.6 billion. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Baptist has invested millions of dollars into treatment and educational efforts, including performing more than 100,000 tests, launching a multi-phase public service campaign, and caring for more than 550 COVID patients in its Memphis-area hospitals.

Dear Rhodes Community, This is a moment for transition, as we celebrate the graduation of our senior class and prepare to welcome the incoming class of 2024. There is something deeply reassuring about this cycle of growth and change, even in a time of great difficulty and worry.