Quarantine Complications

Updated: Apr 6

by Lilia Ambler

Dirty, deserted and dysfunctional living spaces are what Purchase College deems acceptable for a student’s mandatory quarantine. With COVID-19 cases rising on campus, students now fear quarantine.

A recent outbreak of the virus in the Conservatory of Dance (CoD) has spotlighted the unsafe and uncomfortable circumstances of quarantine spaces at Purchase College.

Although there is a process in place for contact tracing and moving into quarantine, it seems some of these steps are regularly missed.

“I finally got to my room after picking up my keys at 9 p.m and realized they hadn’t given me all of my keys,” said Erik Osterkill, a senior in the CoD. “I sat outside of my room and waited for an hour for someone to let me into my room. Obviously, whoever was organizing the keys missed a couple of steps.”

A major concern among quarantined students is the cleanliness of the spaces as well as the functionality of them.

A clogged toilet in one of the freshmen dorms which are being used for quarantine (Image via Sarah Eastlund)

“I had to hold in my pee for four hours, some of that time being in the dark,” said Naoki Yogi, a junior in the CoD. “I was never given keys for my new space, so I was living with the doors open the whole week. The lack of communication really made me afraid that I was going to be stuck in this situation for a while.”

Another student was put in a room she deemed unsafe and was not moved until 24 hours later.

“I was placed in a horrible room. I was not ready to be in a place that didn’t feel safe and felt unsanitary,” said Raven Marsh, a senior in the CoD. “It’s disrespectful to put someone in a room with mold.”

Mike Kopas, director of facilities, when asked for a common on the matter, said “All unoccupied rooms were inspected by OCE as recently as this week.”

But students, however, have reported a number of continuing issues in their quarantine rooms.

Mold in one of the bathtubs in the quarantine building (Image via Raven Marsh)

“They should have just checked the room first to make sure at least the toilet was functioning,” said Sara Eastlund, a junior in the CoD.

Facilities concerns were not the only issues regularly reported. The dining staff has proven to be highly irresponsible and has continually made huge mistakes.

“I was going to classes via Zoom, and I felt like I was going to pass out,” said Marsh. “When my caloric intake is too low, I tend to go hyperglycemic. While dancing, I was losing consciousness, my state of awareness, and my balance because I was dizzy. I had no fuel and that was concerning too.”

Another issue with dining was a lack of ability to handle basic allergen accommodations. Nathan Crewekluge, a senior CoD student, has severe allergies to peas, chickpeas, peanuts etc. Consuming any of these could cause anaphylaxis and death. After throwing out several meals due to allergens, Crewekluge got in touch with the director of dining services.

“Hoilett [Chartwells catering director] responded the next morning saying, ‘I am personally ensuring that this does not happen going forward.’ Later that same day, I was given a side of hummus,” said Crewekluge. “It was another sign that my allergies were not being taken seriously. I emailed Hoilett again and never got a reply. That night I received a dinner box that included peas for a third night in a row.”

With dining services not considering allergens and health preferences, and facilities not ensuring safe and sanitary quarantine spaces, quarantine has brought on fear and worry for all students that reside on campus.

“At this point, I might as well not finish my semester. I told the dining hall staff, as well as OCE, that I am more scared of coming back to quarantine than I am of catching covid at this point,” said Marsh.

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PSGA Bylaws (August 2018), Student Bill of Rights, Section B. Freedom of Speech, Press and Inquiry

Neither the student government nor any faculty or administrative person or board shall make a rule or regulation or take any action which abridges students’ freedom of speech, press or inquiry, as guaranteed Constitutional rights as citizens of the United States. Students of the campus are guaranteed:

  1.  the right to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them, and to express opinion privately and publicly;

  2. the right to learn in the spirit of free inquiry;

  3. the right to be informed of the purposes of all research in which they are expected or encouraged to participate either as subject or researcher;

  4. the right to freedom from censorship in campus newspapers and other media 

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