The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Editorial: Isolation and quarantine conditions must improve


As part of their return to campus, St. Joe’s students were reassured that plans would be put into place for designated quarantine and isolation facilities when, inevitably, COVID-19 cases were detected on campus.

Not unexpectedly, COVID-19 cases are rising on campus, along with the number of students asked to quarantine and isolate. Students who test positive are expected to isolate for 10 days in either Moore Hall or Sourin Hall, while students who are informed that they may have been exposed to the virus are required to quarantine in the Homewood Suites on City Avenue until at least 14 days after possible exposure. 

A number of students and parents reached out to The Hawk to share stories of their quarantine and isolation experiences—and many of these stories are concerning. 

Students expressed frustration with inconsistent communications from university representatives about quarantine and isolation procedures that leave them confused and scared. 

In one instance, a student unknowingly boarded the West Shuttle, shared by other people in the community, because he was told a shuttle would pick him up from his residence. Instead, he should have boarded a shuttle that the university is using to transport students to quarantine or isolation locations. Could this detail have slipped through the cracks because so many students are being transported to quarantine and isolation locations; because security officers weren’t fully briefed on procedures; because communication broke down among those responsible for students’ well-being?

Whatever the reason, the error left a worried and confused student alone on a bench with his belongings for more than 90 minutes late at night. 

Other students reported being charged for meals when they ran out of meal swipes during their quarantine, accruing unexpected and costly meal expenses amounting to up to $30 a day. Other problems include students not receiving meals until the day after they moved into their quarantine room. Others reported feeling pressured to return home rather than remain on campus. 

Conditions in the isolation locations do not live up to the Ignatian values St. Joe’s promotes, namely “the care of the whole person.” Not living up to these values, while deeply problematic in and of itself, may also serve to prevent students from coming forward about their health concerns due to a fear of having to quarantine or isolate under such conditions.

The university decided to bring us back to campus amidst a global pandemic. We knew this would be challenging, but the student stories that have emerged suggest that the university is continually one step behind, underprepared and under-resourced to deal with the conditions on the ground. 

We encourage those university officials who are not in a vulnerable group or who are not immunocompromised to actually visit classrooms, residence halls, dining facilities and other spaces on campus where students live, work and stay. Perhaps doing so will lessen an endless spout of talking points from the university that ignore the reality of what the campus community is actually experiencing. Perhaps, too, these conversations will push the university to reevaluate the conditions for students who have to isolate or quarantine on campus and then do something to remedy the ongoing problems. 

It bears repeating that, yet again, the university must do better. The university can do better.  


-The Editorial Board

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