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Students Reveal Experiences and Challenges of Quarantine

One of the protocols initiated by John Brown University in preparation for students’ return to campus for the Fall 2020 semester was creating the ability for students to quarantine either on or off campus. Many of the university’s quarantine cases have been local students, who then self-isolate off-campus at their homes. For those who do not live nearby, JBU readily equipped their campus to house students in quarantine and isolation. Following Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the university enforced a contact-tracing system and emptied an entire residence hall floor for students in quarantine.

Lauren Cloud, sophomore nursing major, thought she might have COVID-19. She immediately followed protocol and reported her symptoms. Cloud quarantined at her house in nearby Springdale after being tested for the coronavirus and strep throat. Her ability to quarantine at her house kept the on-campus availability open for other students. She stayed at her house for four days until she got her test results back. Cloud tested negative for COVID-19 and returned to campus the following day.

“I was alone all day, which is fine for my introverted personality, but I still missed human interaction,” Cloud said when asked about the worst part of quarantine. She received home cooked meals and was able to rest. Video conferencing into class through Zoom focusing harder. “I miss out on discussions when I attend class virtually, and sometimes the professor forgets to share their screen,” Cloud said. Permanent virtual school is less than desirable, but Cloud suggested JBU keep the OWL cameras set-up in the future for traveling student athletes.

Jillian Blackman, sophomore psychology major, experienced her quarantine on the fourth floor of Hutcheson Hall, which had been cleared to house quarantined students who were unable to move home to self-isolate. Blackman did not experience any COVID-19 symptoms. However, because she had been closely exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus, Blackman had to endure nine days in quarantine. For each of these days, Blackman received three meals a day from the Kresge Dining Hall. It was difficult to meet her nutritious needs solely from the cafeteria because she is gluten and dairy-free. The university also provided her with extra snacks throughout the day. “The best part of quarantine was slowing down and getting to spend extra time with God,” Blackman said. “It really helped me refocus on Him and helped me build a good habit returning back to normal life.”

Blackman applauded the university’s set up saying, “JBU handled it very well and were always telling me to reach out to them if I ever needed anything. They provided a great experience for me.”