Done With Doane: A student shares her experience in Eastern’s on-campus quarantine facility.

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has transformed the 2020-2021 academic year into one like no other. Between new on-campus visitation policies, zoom and hybrid classes, and required face masks and social distancing, this year has been a challenge to say the least. While most students have been trying their best to just stay safe, healthy and focused on school, the policies and rules set up to protect students’ health and wellness have done anything but.

I was sent into quarantine on the first day of classes this semester. What I had hoped would be an exciting and memorable last first day of classes of my undergraduate career quickly turned into a pandemonium of confusion, frustration, and fear.

I was neither in contact with someone who had Covid nor was I infected myself, and yet I was told that I would need to either go home or quarantine in Doane for the next two weeks. The health center called me as soon as I finished my class. I was completely thrown off guard, and yet, I was told that I would need to decide my plan of action immediately.

Although I did not know why I had been contact traced as I had received a negative COVID-19 test not three days prior, I was unable to ask the health center any questions. They called me right as their office was closing, which meant I had only a brief window of time to call my parents and figure out what I was going to do for the next two weeks.

I ended up deciding to quarantine on campus, not wanting to potentially infect my family with anything. Although last semester students who were contact traced were allowed to quarantine in their dorms, that was not the case this semester. Despite living in an on-campus apartment with a private entrance and exit, I was not permitted to quarantine there. I was initially confused about this seemingly illogical rule, but, as I was unfamiliar with the quarantine process to begin with, I eventually made my way to Doane. I was not prepared for the next few days that would await me.

When my roommate and I arrived at Doane, we were let in by public safety. We soon found out that there was absolutely no adult supervision, health care professional or otherwise. We were completely and utterly alone. We were given a room number but no instructions on how to find it. We wandered about aimlessly until another quarantined student showed us the way.

We arrived at our room and found trash on the floor, supposedly left over from the students who had stayed in this room previously. This meant the room had not been properly sanitized prior to our stay.

As my roommate and I set out to find cleaning products, we stumbled upon the communal bathroom with no sink dividers or plexiglass to be found.I found this interesting because everywhere else on campus there are dividers up in-between sinks to prevent potential contamination and infection. Here, in the quarantine building where it would make sense to have heightened precautionary measures in place, it seemed as though no extra safety measures had been taken to ensure our safety.

We explored a bit more around the building and found that on the ground floor, almost all the windows were broken. This meant that anyone from the outside could potentially enter the building. This made us feel incredibly unsafe. Additionally, we were not given a key to our room which only locked from the inside. What was already going to be a stressful two week situation was now beginning to feel incredibly unsafe.

After staying in Doane for two nights, my roommate and I decided that we felt so unsafe that we would be better off at home. We left shortly after and completed the remainder of our quarantine at our respective houses. I encourage any students who are placed in Doane to quarantine to seek an alternative plan of action if possible.

I find it incredibly difficult to imagine that an institution of higher education would not extend health center hours, provide adequate and safe housing for potentially infected students, and seek to provide as much supportive guidance and care as possible while operating during a global pandemic. And yet, my experience here has unfortunately turned something I once found hard to imagine into something I witnessed first hand.