Letter to the Editor: Quarantine Conditions

Dear Anna Woods, 

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing this in hope to raise some awareness on some students who need the help of the entire school. I’ve been the VP of Finances for Student Government all of this time, but it’s become true now, more than ever, that the strength of the people will surpass the likes of individuals like me any day. To tell my story, I must begin at the beginning of last semester. 

Some people might remember a Quadrangle article posted in October of 2020, detailing what quarantine at Manhattan was like. People were getting wrong food orders, and dietary restrictions were not being respected. I wish that the situation had improved since seeing that article. 

On Thursday, February 25, I began developing symptoms for COVID 19, so I gave myself a Red Pass and was asked to quarantine. This is my second full day in quarantine. We now have microwaves and fridges, which I wish I could say is an improvement, because I unfortunately cannot use them for the reasons below. 

Yesterday, I was not fed until 3:00 PM. As I am currently writing this on the next day at 3:30 PM, I have not been fed today. Because I only got lunch and dinner, I have only been given 2 water bottles to drink over 48 hours. While I wish this was an isolated incident, this is happening to God knows how many other students, seeing as how not everyone knows who to even talk to about this. I was worried yesterday that this might happen again, so I’ve saved 2 oranges that I’ve been rationing for the day, by the end of this hour I’m afraid I will have nothing left to eat. 

Besides the fact that I, along with several others, are hungry, this poses an incredibly dangerous risk for those who are sick. Having a great deal of water is one of the best ways to help your body kick diseases, as well as beat a fever. With a fever, your body can develop several other issues if left untreated. Having a good routine of food is the only way the body can power itself to fight infectious diseases, as well. On top of all of this, the school is still delivering incorrect orders to residents in quarantine, which makes me especially concerned for those with dietary restrictions.

I believe that my situation is a luckier one than others. Due to my connections, I was able to have myself and a few of my peers email the correct people to get me food for the day. But when I had received my first meal at 3:00 PM, the name on the bag was not my own and did not have my room number on it. I worry that someone has taken food from another room and given it to me. 

Delivering food may not be an exciting job, nor may it be an easy job, but it is an essential one. It is something that is vital to be done correctly. This lack of attention to the welfare of students pushes me to believe that the school truly does not hold our health as a priority. This also leads me to believe that any mentions of the school “trying to improve” are simply performative, aimed to calm the masses. 

To whomever reads this, I ask you to consider putting some form of warning to the readers of this incredible publication– a warning that if anyone is experiencing symptoms to quarantine anywhere but Manhattan College. I wish that I could ask primarily for support and emails to Residence Life and One Manhattan for effective change, but I worry that students will suffer before said change becomes more than a dream. 

To those who are in quarantine as well, I’m sorry to hear that the school has wronged you. I have loved the past three years I have spent here at Manhattan College and it breaks my heart to think of the other students who sit in an empty quiet room, afraid to drink out of the sink and desperately waiting for a meal, contemplating if they will choose to break their dietary restrictions or eat. 

Update: 4:18 PM, February 27. No food yet. Me and others on my board have been emailing people trying to get a fix for today. Nobody is working, so nobody is helping. We’ve had one response, but I’ve yet to see any food yet. Since we’ve identified that quarantine residents need to have access to water, we have purchased 180 gallons of water to be delivered directly to Horan Hall, where most quarantine students sit. The school has responded in saying that they will not deliver this water as their policy states that they will only deliver what Aramark purchases. Student governement was able distribute 3 jugs of water to every quarantined student within an hour. This goes to show that if administration wanted to, they could.

It feels like a prison here. We aren’t being fed. We aren’t being given water. We tried to help, but the school would rather enact policy changes over helping those in here. Common decency and humanity are only second to that of administrative ruling. As I sit here, I wonder why we are being treated like this, and how the school will make this better. I have to remind myself that this is not the fault of the people living in quarantine, though it becomes easy to blame yourself when you sit here. It’s difficult to distract yourself here – I can’t focus on my work because this injustice clouds my mind.

If you are reading this, please continue to do your civil duty and truthfully enter that symptom tracker. It’s better to give yourself a red pass and leave campus.

I apologize if some of my words are disjointed, or scrambled, I haven’t felt like myself in the past 48 hours. Maybe a drink of water or a bite to eat would help. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. 


Alex Nieves, Class of 2021