By Justin Madison
Picture this: you’re scrolling through your Canvas announcements checking to see if there are any new assignments for tomorrow when a notification pops up in your email. You open it only to find out that your COVID test results came back positive. What NOW?
According to Dawn Ellinwood, vice president of student affairs, as soon as students are tested positive, “they are allowed to pack necessities they would need for a 10-day period before moving into isolation housing. Meal plans will be drawn up for delivery to the student’s room. And students will proceed with remote learning for the duration of their quarantine. Daily check-ins from the office of student life and Bergeron Wellness Center will also occur.
Meanwhile, the Vermont Department of Health will perform contact tracing to determine who might have been exposed to COVID through you and notify the students when their quarantine is finished.” This information had already been announced on the school’s return to campus page and had been planned before any students returned to campus in August. Ellinwood also stated that “Saint Michael’s College is committed to early identification, isolation, contact tracing, and management of any/all Covid cases on campus. All students will be supported immediately after notification of a positive lab result.”
With the understanding of the outlined procedure, what would the experience be like should you receive a positive Covid test result then? From the experience of Kate Hines ’23 who had to quarantine for 10 days “It was pretty lonely, I mostly did homework, watched movies, tossed my rugby ball around, or even wrote a few songs. But the school fed me every day and my friends brought me coffee sometimes by delivering it at my window.”
“It was just really hard to be in such a small room for that amount of time and I wish the school had certain outdoor areas designated for quarantine students to sit outdoors,” said Hines. “Being inside for 10 days straight is really unhealthy both physically and mentally.” While some people may be fine with staying cooped up in their room for extended periods of time, not all students will be comfortable in the same environment for nearly two consecutive weeks with no other option to help meet their mental and physical health needs.
“The process of quarantine for positive cases itself has not changed,” said Christian Vogt ’23, a student who underwent an on-campus quarantine before the start of the semester. “But now you need to think about people that this person has come in contact with as well. I think we are doing pretty well so far. The college has demonstrated its ability to contain and isolate the positive case that occurred, but this requires the vigilance of all students. If we become complacent, it’ll all fall apart,” said Vogt. It is still important that we all as a community remain vigilant when it comes to Covid, and all understand our duties in maintaining a safe campus.