Erin Duff was relaxing at the beach on a day off in July when she received a phone call from her supervisor.
When she realized it was Director of Residence Life Rob DeMezzo, Duff — then the residence hall director at Chase Hall — was concerned at first that something might be wrong.
“I thought maybe something happened on campus,” Duff said.
But instead, DeMezzo wanted to gauge her interest in a new position that had just been approved — university COVID-19 coordinator. As the hall director at Chase, one of Duff’s duties had been to oversee the “learning, living community” for students seeking a career in the health professions.
“Her educational background, coupled with her experience in student affairs, made her an ideal candidate for the position,” he said.
Duff said she is happy that DeMezzo made that call.
“This is a great opportunity, and I really think I can make a difference in helping the campus cope with the ‘new normal,” she said.
Duff has a Bachelor of Science degree in public health from Southern, and is nearing completion of a Master of Public Health degree, also at SCSU.
Among her responsibilities are to educate the campus community on COVID-19 and to coordinate the university’s contact tracing program, as well as organize campus quarantine and isolation efforts.
She works closely with a variety of university officials, including Dr. Diane Morgenthaler, director of health services; Emily Rosenthal, Wellness Center coordinator; Tracy Tyree, vice president for student affairs; DeMezzo; and Jules Tetreault, dean of student affairs.
“Our top priority is the health and safety of the campus community,” Duff said. “Part of my role is to help people understand the efforts we are taking on campus.”
She tells students that the more consistently they adhere to the university’s safety measures – such as social distancing, wearing marks, washing/sanitizing hands – the better the chances the campus can remain open.
Duff said she is happy to answer questions from students, faculty and staff about the virus and measures taken by the campus. “I realize the pandemic can cause considerable anxiety and raise lots of questions,” she said. “If I can help, please don’t hesitate to contact me.”
She can be reached at (203) 392-8626 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.