Many students have experienced or are currently experiencing quarantine in Doane, just as Sophia Hunter did. While Hunter expressed gratitude that the school is trying to protect students during this challenging time, she also found that her quarantine gave her cause to be worried for her health and safety in a variety of ways.
Hunter was told that Resident Director Efram was her point of contact while in quarantine, and she found him to be “so so helpful”. Hunter said that “He checked in on us nearly every day and was very quick to respond to issues”. However, Hunter also found that this was not enough supervision to keep things under control in the dorms. “Because he wasn’t physically in the building, there wasn’t a good understanding of authority,” Hunter reported. One incident in particular left Hunter feeling uncomfortable and potentially in danger.
Hunter explained that the hall above hers was a male hall, and many nights they would drink and get raucously loud. “One night,” Hunter said, “they pushed the screen out of the window and threw full beer cans onto the ground below. Because they knew that we had seen them, we feared for our safety. The next night, they were drinking again, and I heard them chanting ‘Get her out!’ and it made us fear for our safety. There was no lock on the door to the girls’ hall, no locking mechanism of any kind. The individual doors had locks, but were pretty flimsy doors.” Hunter admitted that she and her roommate were so concerned that they made sure their pepper spray was accessible at all times, even keeping it on hand while they were sleeping. She also noted that the men were moving furniture, blasting music, running laps at night, playing with some sort of ball on the floor, and there was nobody in the hall to talk to about this. “We couldn’t focus on our studies or sleep,” Hunter said. Many students didn’t wear their masks around the hall, and there was no communication about visitation policies so there was a lot of motion between the halls. “There was at least one instance of someone letting a non-quarantined student into the dorms, and there was no way to let anyone know about this until after the fact,” Hunter explained.
But the lack of authority in the hall was not the only challenge that Hunter faced. She told the reporter that “the nurse refused to let my roommate get tested even though she had lost her sense of taste and smell. She was supposed to call us every morning and ask about our symptoms, and even after she heard about my roommate’s symptoms, she would still call only occasionally and would not let her get tested. I continued to share a room with her, despite the fact that she was showing symptoms”.
When asked what advice she would share with someone in her situation, Hunter shared several smart tips: “Make sure you bring an actual pillow. Bring enough blankets. Bring multiple towels. Make use of your contact with the RD; he’s willing to help and very very helpful. Plan on getting tested after you get out if you can, in case you become symptomatic and aren’t tested through Eastern. Give a friend your e-card so they can buy you things using your card and bring them to you. Bring self-protection like pepper spray if you have it. Bring a way to make coffee or tea, like a mug and tea bags or instant coffee. Bring a thermometer with you because you will need to check your temperature every day.”
Quarantine is meant to protect students, but the coronavirus is not the only danger that students can be exposed to. Hunter felt that the administration could have done better to address the needs of students in not only limiting the exposure of the virus, but also in addressing concerns about physical safety and health of the students who were being quarantined.