Hangry in Horan: My Experience in Quarantine

by Jilleen Barrett, A&E Editor

In case you needed another reason to wear a mask– or even two– around campus, here’s one: the on-campus quarantine experience is absolutely dreadful.

I recently found out that one of my friends, an avid double masker and a believer in science, tested positive for COVID-19. All of her suitmates got it, as well. I had seen them all for several hours inside their dorm in Lee Hall about a week and a half before her test results came back positive and they all reported to Horan to quarantine. Naturally, I was nervous.

Two days went by and I slowly started to develop cold-like symptoms, so I reported them and was sent to quarantine in Horan Hall. The issues started from the moment I got to my designated isolation room.

The passcode to the room on the sixth floor of Horan did not work, so I was locked out. I called Health Services and Residence Life, emailed the area coordinator for the building and direct messaged the floor’s resident assistant on Instagram. I was either met with out-of-office messages, because it was after five, or replies that made me feel as though my safety was not cared for.

Finally, I called Public Safety. Other than Carolyn McKay from Health Services, the security guards and employees of Public Safety were some of the only helpful people throughout the entire quarantine process– they immediately contacted the resident assistant on duty and sent her to help me.

Residence Life sent me a new code the following morning, but once again it did not unlock the door when I punched it in after leaving to get an antigen test on the second floor. Public safety came back to let me in and while I was grateful they came to help me, I could not help but be irked that Residence Life had not made a legitimate attempt to fix the situation. 

What made me more angry, though, was that after less than 24 hours in that room I was told by Residence Life that I would need to relocate due to the passcodes not working. Luckily, I did not have any classes for the rest of the day, but it would not have mattered because Residence Life told me to move out immediately with no regard to what my schedule looked like. 

As I was leaving the room, two locksmiths came in to fix the problem, despite Residence Life already relocating me. The locksmiths told me the code I was given was wrong and there was no issue with the door itself. I’m not sure why they weren’t sent to look at the lock before I packed my belongings— it would have been much easier if they had been able to tell me earlier about this so that Residence Life knew there was no reason for me to move. 

I moved into my new room on the fifth floor afterwards. There was nothing wrong with the room and they gave me the basic necessities– a fridge, a microwave, enough toilet paper– so I was able to finish up my day. But that wasn’t the end of my troubles.

Like many other students, I was not delivered breakfast or lunch on Feb 27. Because it was the weekend I was not able to call Residence Life or Dining Services to inform them of this, so I tried emailing them and direct messaging @mc_dining on Instagram. If these offices are going to refuse to respond on the weekends, they should create a better system for delivering food and fixing other quarantine-related issues for students in quarantine so that they don’t have to go hungry or feel unsafe.

I did not get a response until I emailed Jacqueline Martin, the coordinator of campus health and safety. Martin was helpful and told me I would receive dinner, however the way communication at the school needs to be changed. When she responded, she said “We are having dining make some extra meals now and we will make sure one is sent over to you.” While I was appreciative for her quick response, it made me feel as though I was an afterthought to Martin and dining services. 

Additionally, I told her that I heard there were other students who had not gotten meals all day, and she told me to have them email her. Again, there is a clear problem with how the school is treating students in quarantine– they should not have to contact anyone to get food. Once they fill out the order form, food should be delivered to them, and it should be the food they ordered unless they run out.

This school is built on community and the idea of making everyone feel heard. When I called or emailed multiple offices and people who were supposed to take care of any issues I had during my first two days in quarantine, and I got no response, I did not feel heard. 

I’m sure I’m not the only student who feels this way, and I hope the school makes changes to the way they communicate