In this issue of The Leader, an interview was conducted with a student who went through the process of being quarantined on campus. It is disappointing to find out that the process was so complicated and even unsafe for those in the community. Better is expected from the university.
While the student mentioned in the story may have been one of the first people in need of a quarantined room, that is still no excuse for the poor treatment this student received. The university had enough time over the summer to figure out the logistics, and they should have expected a need for quarantined rooms.
Even though this student tested negative, they were put in a West Hall suite with their roommate who tested positive. This makes it so the student was more susceptible to catching the virus, hence their personal safety seemed to not be prioritized.
An expectation for any student moving into a new room is for it to be clean. The fact that this room was not properly cleaned is concerning even outside of a pandemic.
Since the beginning, the CDC has been urging the public to wash their hands with antibacterial soap as a means to protect oneself. However, these students were thrown into a suite, where one tested positive and the other negative, without any way to wash their hands to limit the spread of germs.
In fact, according to the student, there was hardly anything in the room provided to them that they needed to take care of themselves, such as a refrigerator, microwave, or even garbage cans to properly prepare, store, or dispose of food. These are especially important for students that cannot utilize communal kitchens — and not tempt them to potentially break quarantine rules just so they could take care of themselves.
The process of receiving food at least seemed to be somewhat in order, with a sufficient selection of food and communication if something was not available. The student did express disappointment in the time needed to allocate to receive food, so there is still room for improvement in that sector to more efficiently bring food to students who depend on it for their safety and the safety of others.
At least the food staff checked in with the quarantined students. While the logistics of how things were handled were horrifying to hear, the fact that the student was left to feel so neglected emotionally is the most startling.
The fact that this student felt so isolated and uncertain about what was happening throughout the process is not acceptable. A vulnerable student already going through a terrifying situation should not have it be amplified by the university.
Students who have to go through this deserve proper care throughout, from Housing and Residence Life all the way to the chairs of the COVID-19 Task Force. They should not feel like they are only being cared for when the big bosses are watching.
Being not responsive to them, The Leader, or anybody else who has COVID-19 related issues is frankly irresponsible and dangerous in nature when the whole campus community needs to be on the same page to make sure these issues are taken care of properly.
Hopefully, this was just a fluke and other students having to be quarantined on campus are experiencing better and more effective treatment. But going forward, the university needs to be held more accountable for taking care of its students during this time — for the sake of everyone’s safety.