Jaspers Respond to Quarantine and Surveillance COVID-19 Testing Changes

By, Angelica Niedermeyer and Niamh Delargy, Staff Writers

Manhattan College’s procedures regarding the permission of quarantined students not to take classes online has led many students to miss classes rather than being allowed to attend remotely.

An increase in students quarantining following a positive COVID-19 test is due to the return of surveillance testing at Manhattan College. As of Feb. 17, there are 15 active cases of COVID-19 in the Manhattan College community.

At the MC Senate Meeting on Feb. 15, Emmanuel Ago from Campus Life mentioned that quarantined students were not getting what they ordered. He also shared that regarding events there should be, “always an option to be online,” and that “classrooms are not event spaces.”

This is confusing to the students when in the One Manhattan Report by Steve Schreiner, provost and vice president for academic affairs, mentioned surveillance testing and quarantine response tips which were not online. 

When asked what resources were available to students who are quarantining with no access to online options, Schriener said students can, “reach out to your professors, ask what they can do. Every professor is going to be a little different in how they handle their class, it depends on the classroom itself, what format it is. Things like asking a friend to do an audio recording […] if the professor allows that. Video recording is going to be a little bit of a production and hard to do. Any notes or help, asking a friend for that.”

“With any illness, if you’re out for any reason, you want to contact your professor, let them know they won’t be in class and ask if there is anything you can do to do the work you’re missing or get access,” Schreiner said. 

Meanwhile, the senate meeting had more than half of its participants on Google Meet.

Classes ceased giving online accessibility to students during quarantine at the beginning of the fall 2021 semester. This issue continues to affect the MC community, inconveniencing students when they unexpectedly test positive or are in close contact with someone who does. 

Joséphine Petitdidier, a French exchange student at MC this year, expressed her worries after she reported her positive test to the school. She was informed of her requirement to leave her dorm room and that she would be forced into isolation elsewhere. 

Petitdidier informed The Quadrangle she has family in the city and preferred to isolate with them rather than alone. After speaking with the college, she was permitted to do this, something which improved her own quarantine experience.

Though she was not offered any online classes, Petitdidier praised MC’s attentiveness to her throughout the duration of her quarantine.

“MC sent me an email everyday to know if I was okay or not,” Petitdidier said.

Petitdidier further stated how students’ quarantine experience does not immediately end following their five day isolation and negative tests. Restrictions remain in place barring those who have recently completed their isolation period from fully re-integrating into the Jasper community. 

“I am not allowed yet to go to the library or to the gym, but I can be in class,” Petitididier said. 

Petitididier confirmed this is the same for all students, with not much explanation from the school regarding these regulations.

“I do not know why, but when you are back on campus, for five days you’re not supposed to go to the gym,” Petitididier said.

The challenges of being in quarantine are further emphasized by the inability to attend classes, making the adaptation back into routine difficult.

“Only my education class and a Spanish class were able to accommodate me quickly online which is what the education field should be able to do in case of any sudden changes to a student’s ability to make it to class,” said Osorio.

Students who quarantined on MC’s campus in Horan Hall experienced difficulties beyond the limited accommodations of online learning.

“I had pretty low expectations as I had known from friends about their previous experiences and I was not too enthusiastic because of the food situation that awaited me,” sophomore Chris Osorio said.

Further, the quarantine rooms in Horan Hall did not seem to meet the standards of the students staying in them for five days.

“My room in Horan Hall seemed very dusty and hadn’t been cleaned since January (it had a sticker that said the date of the last time it was cleaned),” Osorio said. “The radiator was in bad condition and made a loud hum when turned on which sounded like it was about to break down. And the food was pretty much at Locke’s standard (which isn’t the best) and sometimes the food that I asked for wasn’t available so it wasn’t convenient at times.”

Despite having a not so positive experience, Osorio was still thankful for a place to go on campus. 

“I feel grateful for the school providing a place to quarantine but the quality isn’t on par with the quality of housing that I pay for,” Osorio said.

Sophomore Patrick Black dealt with a different kind of situation: close contact quarantine. Despite close contact quarantine promoting safety on campus, the experience was challenging, before he had tested positive.

“When I first found out I had to quarantine they gave me a red pass with literally three minutes’ notice,” Black said. “This was after a three hour chemistry lab at 8 am, so I had not eaten breakfast and I was looking to grab lunch. This prevented me from getting food at Locke’s and even going to a deli nearby because security barely let me in my room when I came back from my class. It was really bothersome because it took the school roughly four hours to tell me what my room assignment was in Horan or anything so I was starving in my room for the entire time. It was also absurd that even though I tested negative throughout the entire time I was quarantined, I wasn’t able to get out of it- even though CDC guidelines state you can.”

Black also shared the difficulty he experienced with handling the workload in a quarantined environment.

“Work wise, however, I was unable to do anything really. One of my professors recorded all future lectures so I was able to learn material from one class, yet the remainder of my professors didn’t want to do any form of virtual learning. In fact, a day before my quarantine one of my professors said “I’d rather retire than have anything to do with teaching over a screen again,” which was ironic. Now, I’m pretty much scrambling to do makeup tests, quizzes, homework, and any notes I missed which concerns me because midterms are next week,” Black said.

Black shares another aspect of his quarantine experience which he believes was less than satisfactory. 

“The worst part about the quarantine on campus was probably the food though. I had ordered a burrito from the concierge service and it came thrown all over the box, covered in sauces, and more like a salad than anything else. All together the services the school provided for a quarantine were below adequate, so I moved off campus altogether,” Black said.