Pittsburg State University hires COVID-19 case manager

Taylor Panczer previously worked for three years as prevention and wellness coordinator at the university
New COVID-19 Case Manager Taylor Panczer
Photo credit: Pittsburg State University

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Over the last two weeks, Taylor Panczer has had to make a pretty big change and hit the ground running.

“Everyone’s been really great and has been extremely helpful. And so it’s been a great transition,” says Panczer.

She’s the new COVID-19 case manager at Pittsburg State University. And while she’s filling a new role, she’s a familiar face around campus.

“I have been at Pittsburg State University working for three years now. Previously on campus, I worked as a prevention and wellness coordinator through the Campus Activities Office,” says Panczer. “In my previous role, I was really using my health education and my programming skills. And now I’m able to use more of my case management, epidemiology and public health skills. And so, it’s a nice transition.”

Panczer earned a bachelor’s degree in health science from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in public health from Montclair State University in New Jersey, and is a certified health education specialist. As the university case manager, she’ll be coordinating daily tests for students with the health department, notifying the health department of new cases, monitoring students who are under quarantine or isolation orders and educating students on how to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Educating them on the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing or physical distancing, and handwashing,” explains Panczer. “By doing these things you’re able to go to class, you’re able to activities in a safe and responsible manner.”

“We think the responsible thing is to be prepared for all instances,” says Vice President of Student Life Steve Erwin.

Erwin explains that the position was created to educate students to help prevent an outbreak, and as a “just in case,” so they’ll be prepared if cases do start popping up on campus. Right now, the position lasts through December.

“I think we’ll learn a lot this fall about how much need there is for direct case management,” says Erwin. “It’s gonna depend on the direction of the pandemic. We’re hoping that it’s a position that we don’t need long term because we obviously want to see an end to this.”

With classes starting later this month, on August 17th, Panczer is ready to get to work.

“Pitt State’s close to home and I want to make sure that everyone on campus is healthy and safe. So, if I can do my part and help with that, that’s awesome.”

The position will cost around 25 thousand for the six month period through December. The university intends to cover that with SPARK Cares Act funding once it’s distributed by the county.