By Kaleb Vining
It may not seem like much has changed for housing on campus this year, but the Honors Apartments are no longer an option for living.
This is due to the apartments being turned into a quarantine location for students who test positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms.
If someone is experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not they move into quarantine. If their test comes back positive, then they must move into quarantine.
Lock Schnelle, head athletic trainer, said, “I help out with the testing and tag team things with Dan Falk. If I hear things on the athletic side, or if he hears things on whether it be from the dorms or academics, we just try to meet in the middle and make sure we are on the same page. If someone misses class, we figure out why they are missing class and do our best to keep everyone healthy in class and practice.”
It should be comforting to students to know how hard everyone on campus is working to keep faculty and students safe. Lock also commented on the process that goes into putting someone in quarantine.
“If we have a kid that is fairly sick and we are concerned, then we might have them move out ahead of time. This is to protect their roommate and that hall from the possibility of getting COVID-19. At that point, it is kind of in that individual’s hands until we get their test back. If it is positive, then they must go into quarantine.”
Once an individual goes into quarantine they are in there for 14 days from the initial positive test. An exception to this would be if that individual is in the hospital before the quarantine, or if the individual is still experiencing symptoms.
What could have been a difficult decision to use the Honors Apartments as a quarantine site was not, according to Dan Falk, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
“The president put together a committee of faculty and staff. We decided that it was a good place to house students with COVID-19 because each apartment has its own bathroom and air conditioning. It is also easier to have students that tested positive in one location so that we can deliver them food.”
This choice to take one of the housing options offline this year could have hurt housing for students. However, according to Falk, this was not the case with the Honors Apartments.
“This is a big freshman class, so we knew that Wallingford and Cole would be full and there’s some freshman in Reid. Warren Apartments is somewhere that a lot of people want to live in, so that fills up pretty quick with upper-class students. Shriwise is for graduate assistants and Honors is just not somewhere a lot of people want to live.”
Honors Apartments are located on the north side of campus so that does not appeal to students either. This freed them up so that they can be used to keep the campus safe.
Students who go into quarantine also find that their normal routines are disturbed. Class goes from being in-person to Zoom sessions and going to the cafeteria is no longer allowed when a student is in quarantine. Food is provided by student affairs. If Falk is not delivering their meals then it is the assistant director of residence life, Kaleigh Richardson.
The Honors Apartments might sound bare, but Richardson described what is included in the apartments when students make the switch to the quarantine lifestyle.
“Clean linens are provided as well as food. The food is usually things they can make on their own like soups and pizza. Cooking utensils are also provided. Other than that, the apartment is furnished with whatever the students bring with them to quarantine.”
The services that are provided by student affairs are wonderful. They talk to the students when they drop off their three meals a day and check on them throughout the week and weekend to make sure they have what they need. According to Falk, if they need something, he will get it for them.
“We ask them to pack a small bag and make sure they have everything they need. Whatever else they need they just need to let me know and I will go get it. Someone asked for a humidifier, so I went and got that, but we try to get them anything they need including food.”
Being in isolation can really take a toll on a lot of people, especially at the beginning of the year. This is a time to make friends and not be by yourself. Unfortunately, when you are in quarantine that is exactly what happens. It could be a difficult transition for someone who is just getting acclimated to life in the dorms, but Falk helped to shed some light on that issue.
“We talk to them in person three times a day when we deliver meals and check on them. We also check on their symptoms. We see them on the weekends one time a day. I also text them and email them to see how they are doing.”
Not only is the student affairs team checking in on the quarantined students, but so are their teammates. Falk said, “From what I understand the students that are over there have had other students and teammates stand outside their apartments and talk to them.”
The support on campus has been surreal. Students are doing the right thing by going into quarantine. While it might seem like a tough decision, they are keeping the campus a safe place. Their friends and faculty are doing their best to help them any way they can and Southwestern is safe because of it.