Self-isolation, the college experience in 2020

By: Zack Kime ’22, Staff Writer

As COVID-19 cases fluctuate across the country, LVC has been doing what it can to help mitigate the spread across campus.

Recently 38 students have been confined to self-isolation on the second floor of Mary Green Hall, a number that may seem surprising, except they aren’t the only students.

The procedures set by LVC accompanied by the wait time on test results means more and more students are being placed into self-isolation within their dorms.

It’s an experience that one LVC student calls lonely, saying, “the days tend to go by slowly, and I can definitely see how extended time locked down can take a toll on someone’s mental health.”

This student, who didn’t want to be identified by name, found themselves instructed to self-isolate as of Oct. 20, because they came in contact with another student who was receiving a precautionary COVID-19 test for an unrelated health issue.

That other student tested negative as of the morning of Oct. 22, yet the student at hand is still expected to remain self-isolated until Oct. 29. Unfortunately, according the student, there hasn’t been clear communication, leaving them unsure of why they’re still isolating despite the negative test results and their absence of symptoms.

LVC’s meal delivery system is a crucial component in how isolated students are able to obtain meals. Fortunately, this student lives in an on-campus apartment with three other roommates who aren’t self-isolated and who are allowed to come and go freely.

“Thankfully, I’ve had my roommates pick up food for me, so I haven’t had to deal with the meal delivery personally,” the student said.

When asked about exposure to their roommates, the student said, “Obviously, I’m thankful that they don’t have to deal with a quarantine. But if the goal is to really minimize exposure and spread, I feel like anything I have my roommates have, so they should be locked down also.”

Although mostly adjusted to the online lecture curriculum, this LVC student still found it difficult to concentrate due to the lack of fresh air and exercise.

“I believe at the time of saying this we are allowed to schedule a 15-minute block to go for a walk outside,” said the student. “I’m glad they’re giving students a chance to get outside, but you’re still only allowed to go to one of a few permitted areas.”

“As far as review sessions go, it’s not at all as helpful to have a review on a Zoom call as it is to meet face-to-face,” the student said. “It’s still doable, but it definitely makes learning more difficult.”

An important question most people would ask is what self-isolated students should do when they need to shower or use the bathroom? Luckily for the student at hand, their on-campus apartment includes both, and is cleaned by LVC staff every two weeks.

However, the student said, “Going back to my earlier point, no matter how much I try to stay away from my roommates, I can’t avoid them entirely, so I think it’s strange that we can use the same facilities, yet they aren’t quarantined.”

Besides classwork, being a part of a sports team at LVC is something this student manages on a daily basis. Being isolated has only further sidelined them, leaving their return date up in the air.

“I thought COVID would be like being injured, it’s out of your control and you just have to wait to be healthy to return to play, At least when you’re injured you can still attend practices. I have kind of taken for granted the opportunity to see my teammates on a daily basis, even if I only see them in a workout or a practice.”

Additionally, the student went on to detail how the lack of exercise has been affecting their mental health.

“Before isolation, I would work out on my own before classes, go to practice in the afternoon with my team and then do yoga in the evening. Going from that exercise regimen to practically nothing has been difficult physically, but more so mentally.”

It’s important to maintain contact with fellow students who are in quarantine. There’s very limited time for self-isolated students to get fresh air and to socialize with those outside of their immediate living quarters.

As this students says, “It’s worth reaching out if someone you know is in quarantine, because even something as small as a text does make a big difference when they’re stuck inside with nothing to do.”

Stay safe, stay strong and most importantly, don’t forget to check on your fellow Dutchmen.