Living On Campus In Quarantine

Gwyneth McDonald, Contributor

As part of the safety of the community, Catharine Beecher Residence Hall has been designated as Central Connecticut’s quarantine dorm. For some campus residential students, returning to campus this fall meant quarantining on the premise upon arrival.

In addition to showing proof of a negative coronavirus test result, students coming from states listed on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s “no-travel list” are required to quarantine in Beecher Hall for an estimated 14 days.

On Aug. 10th, Claire Sutherland-Case, a NCAA women’s basketball player and sophomore majoring in psychology major, drove to campus from her home in Ontario, Canada. Upon arrival, she quarantined in Beecher Hall, along with other students who were predominantly student-athletes coming from out of state.

Sutherland-Case said she found it “funny” that she had to quarantine even though Canada’s cases are significantly lower in comparison to those of the United States. She was released from Beecher on Aug. 24, at which point she was allowed to officially move into her selected room in Robert Vance Hall.

According to Sutherland-Case, the food during quarantine was repetitive and not particularly healthy. This was surprising to her given that most students in the building were athletes.

Another challenging aspect of her two weeks was not being able to stay as physically active as usual. Though each room holds only one person, the rooms are set up as doubles, providing limited space to do the at-home workouts that her coach had sent to her.

In addition to the space restriction, she says it was hard to wake up in the morning and find the motivation to workout. She confessed her frustration with Central’s athletics for having her come two weeks early so they could begin practice, but then changing the guidelines and pushing their start by two weeks.

“They wanted us to be able to practice right when we got out, but that ended up changing because we are still in phase zero for athletics,” Sutherland-Case said. “We haven’t been practicing or doing anything in the athletic facilities for the past two weeks, so they made us come here two weeks early just to sit here for another two weeks not being able to practice.”

She admitted that the first few days were tough and lonely but she was thankful that she was permitted to spend time with other students living in the building.

Senior engineering major Michael Baechle, a Vermont resident, had a similar experience to that of student athlete, Sutherland-Case, though he only spent one night in quarantine.

Baechle took his COVID-19 test on Aug.20, with the intention of moving into his room selection in Thomas Gallaudet Residence Hall on Aug. 25.

Within three days, Michael received confirmation via phone that his test results were negative, but in order to prove that to CCSU Health Services and Residence Life, he was informed he would have to show them the hard copy sent to him by mail.

Baechle was expecting to receive his results on or before move-in day, but he did not receive them until the following afternoon.

“I had an absolutely terrible first two days,” Baechle said.

Baechle had the choice of going home and returning with the hard-copy of his results or living in Beecher until his results arrived and then having his family send him a photo of the document. To avoid the excess driving, he opted for the latter.

During his stay, Baechle’s biggest concern was the food provided to students.

“I didn’t eat for the entire time I was in there,” Baechle said. “The food shows up in to-go containers, stacked in the lobby and labeled by meal. It sits out at room temperature for hours.”

Baechle recounts finding a warm yogurt when grabbing a breakfast for the following day. But he was pleasantly surprised that there were plastic water bottles readily available in the hallways of Beecher at all times.

One of the meals that a student received while spending two weeks in Beecher

He mentioned he was provided linens but that the nurses stated he was getting both the last room and the last of their linens.

The residents in the building are able to be on the patio outside during the day as long as the professional nursing staff are in the office. Baechle raved that everyone working in the building was nice and helpful.

Two nurses perform  frequent mental health checks and have an office in the basement of Beecher Hall where they are doing COVID-19 tests for the CCSU community.

Additionally, since the water fountains have been shut off all over campus as a precautionary measure, Baechle feels that he was better hydrated in quarantine than in his dorm in Gallaudet.

Both Sutherland-Case and Baechle agree that their experience in Beecher was difficult, both mentally and physically, but there seems to be a general consensus that everyone in the community is doing the best they can during this unprecedented time.