Quarantine First Hand

Kevin Melton, kemelton@ursinus.edu. Liam Reilly, lireilly2@ursinus.edu

 Both of us underwent a 14-day quarantine after a mutual friend of ours recently tested positive for COVID-19 and we were potentially exposed to the virus. We have since tested negative. The following is an account of our quarantine experience. Tracing Team Liam: There was a lot of frustration at first, as it took 24 hours from me learning my friend tested positive until the tracing team informed me about my quarantine. By this time, I had already emailed my advisor, packed up my stuff, contacted my parents, and developed a plan. I don’t blame the tracing team, as they told me they had many other potential exposures to deal with that week. Throughout quarantine, multiple resources and emails were sent to me to clarify guidelines, and I received multiple messages before my return. This allowed for a seamless transition back to campus. Kevin: It really was somewhat dissapointing that I was aware of the situation and ready to leave campus for nearly 24 hours before I got a phone call telling me I had to leave. I wasn’t sure if I had to just sit in my room, if I could go to Wismer, or when I had to pack my things and have my parents pick me up. My personal convenience aside, if I had not been aware that I had been in contact with someone who tested positive, I could have been walking around campus putting other students and faculty members at risk. On top of that, we were in contact with other students who had different understandings of the protocols and how we should proceed. But these are unprecedented times and much of the work is being done by volunteers, so you have to expect some confusion. Being off campus Liam: All three of my classes were already online pre-quarantine, so the only activity I had to move to Zoom was my advisory meeting. The biggest aspect of campus that I missed was socializing. Not being able to pop into my friends’ dorms or grab dinner at Wismer with them was the biggest adjustment. I had gotten into the groove of my freshman year. However, we all did Group FaceTime calls and sent each other gifts to make it more bearable. Kevin: All of my classes were already online as well, so there was not much academic adjustment necessary. I can also say that I really missed being on campus. After only a month or so of classes, I honestly spent every day of quarantine wanting to be back in Collegeville. I know I don’t speak for everyone, but I genuinely missed being away from campus for the two weeks. Overall experience Liam: Quarantining was something that was necessary not only for my own safety, but for that of the campus. I believe it was the right call for me to be quarantined, but it wasn’t something that was enjoyable. Kevin: It sucks, but we have to do it. I wish we didn’t live with these circumstances, but we have to do everything we can to get through this school year as safely as possible.