Students spend weeks quarantined due to COVID-19 measures

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Photo by Colin Lancaster

Edward Gramling spent two weeks quarantined in his on-campus apartment amid a COVID-19 outbreak— despite never contracting the virus. 

“Two of [my roommates] tested positive on Monday the 1st. My other roommate and I tested negative on our rapid test and then were asked to do a PCR, both of which came back negative,” said Gramling, a junior English major.

The university had recently implemented more precautionary measures to keep the spike in COVID-19 cases under control – measures that caused Gramling to be quarantined for two weeks. 

Many students have had similar experiences, being asked to quarantine despite testing negative. As per school policy, according to the UD website and policy, if a student has been exposed they must quarantine for 14 days.

After quarantining for a week, Gramling again tested negative and his other roommate tested positive. “It has now been another week and no symptoms have developed but I am, as a result of the snow, not able to test,” said Gramling.

Gramling has tested negative four separate times.

Since the student apartment community allows for socially distanced conversations and interactions, Gramling has been able to see friends despite being asked to remain alone in his apartment. 

Gramling friends would stop to chat and throw things to him from his back porch. 

“Despite having rather regular contact with others in this [socially distanced] manner, I definitely am feeling a mental strain and have a near constant anxiety in regards to being online for classes that are being held in person, as well as a fear of being isolated which would result in being placed in Clark for 10 days, coming off of over two weeks of being unable to leave my apartment except to pick up meals from Clark,” said Gramling.

“I am rather disappointed with how the situation has been handled. Nobody from the school reached out to explain how and where I would get food, nobody has sent anything out in regards to quarantined students during the blizzard, no resources were presented to support cases of anxiety, depression, or any number of other issues that have been known to develop as a result of quarantine or isolation.”

Gramling is one of many students quarantining in the student apartments, and likely not the only one suffering from the effects of loneliness and the struggles of online classes.

Students have been asked to self-quarantine regardless of their living situations―in traditional halls, in the student apartments and off-campus.

Junior theology major Josh Berkovsky is one student who tested positive for COVID-19 and has since recovered. About his isolation in Clark Hall, Berkovsky said: “I was able to relax, learn more about myself, and grow as a person.

“Thomas Aquinas always said you grow the most as an individual when you’re by yourself. The negative side of it is I [felt like I was] in prison. Just having food dropped off at your door while the people scurry away is kind of a weird feeling.”

UD provided students isolating on campus with scheduled meals. Many students reported late or even missing meals. Students quarantining in halls are able to enter into communal spaces to pick-up their meals, but many students discovered a shortage of food or water bottles.

Gabi Helms, a senior English major, was isolating in her off-campus condo with her roommates. Helms tested positive for COVID-19, along with one of her roommates. Two members of her household were not positive, but they quarantined as well due to their exposure.

According to Helms, “There were certain aspects of quarantine that were inevitably hard, but having roommates to share it with really lightened up the two weeks. I was reminded of how kind the UD community is―it was so thoughtful of our friends to leave things at the door for us!”

Following the spike in COVID-19 case numbers, the University of Dallas has finally lifted precautionary measures

From Feb. 11 to Feb. 19 President Hibbs implemented mandatory measures to combat the spread of the virus.  According to a Feb. 11 statement from President Hibbs, many of the measures  continued to remain in place until Feb. 18. These measures included mandatory masking at all times on campus, limited in-person dining, no club sports events or activities, and closure of the fitness center and gym.

As of Feb. 18, these measures have been amended, according to an email from President Hibbs. The email stated a remaining inclusion of mandatory masking at all times indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible as well as a reopening of the gym, weight room, and fitness center. Club sports, pick up games and other activities will be permitted with social distancing requirements in place. 

These measures are intended to prevent an increase in cases and will hopefully result in case reduction, according to the statement. Cases have already begun to fall, as they were previously at 51 and are now, as of Feb. 22, only at 23 cases.

The University News will follow the case report closely and seek to provide more information as it becomes available.

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