Quarantined and still stuck with questions

Nicole McIsaac, Associate News Editor

A webinar intended to answer students’ questions about being quarantined at Quinnipiac caused further frustration about poor communication and inconsistent guidelines.

Quarantined students who live in both the Hill 10s and Commons residence halls attended a virtual town hall to ask questions regarding their recent containment caused by a cluster of COVID-19 cases within the buildings. 

Four members of the Quinnipiac University’s COVID-19 task force paneled the discussion and allowed for these students to use the Q&A feature on Zoom to voice their concerns regarding the situation. However, some students said they are still left disappointed and confused after attending the discussion.

Connor Lawless


“The webinar was very difficult and frustrating because it felt like they avoided answering some very pressing questions and spent much of the time answering things we already knew,” said Rachel Golden, a first-year in the entry level’s master’s physician assistant program. “I asked five questions and only one was answered.” 

Golden, who lives in Commons, has been in quarantine since last Sunday and said the lack of communication from the university has left her wondering how the situation is going to play out after the “order-in-place” period is over.

“We still don’t know what it will take as far as the positivity rate in the Commons to release us from quarantine,” Golden said. “We don’t know to what extent the contacts of positive cases that have been removed from Commons and the university still expects other students to enforce their rules.”

Tom Ellett, chief experience officer, said that although there are no definite answers with COVID-19, the university is continuously evolving and assessing all it’s options to ensure the safety of its community and the success of an on-ground semester. 

“We’ll evaluate this and see in weeks from now if this strategy was successful, ” Ellett said in the webinar. “We base these decisions on science and the outcomes that occur based on what our practice was.

A major emphasis made to students was that quarantining a building with a rapid cluster of cases was already in the university’s realm of possibilities and is embedded within Quinnipiac’s website regulations and standards for different COVID-19 university color statuses. 

“The quarantine of a certain dorm or floor was always on the table, but we can always do a better job in terms of communicating our actions to the students,” Senior Medical Adviser Dr. David Hill said in the webinar. “As we see signals in various dormitories, we may be using pool testing which would allow us to get on top of those cases early and might prevent us from having to quarantine an entire floor or building.” 

Students also shared concerns about exposing community members to the virus by allowing quarantined individuals to leave their dorms for food and fresh air time.

“I do understand that the school is attempting to stop the spread, but I do not believe they’re doing it right,” Golden said. “By shutting down a dorm building but allowing us to leave freely to get food, students will continue to break the rules and see their friends. If they’re going to lock us in our dorm rooms, I wish they would be strict with it and enforce it so that the 10 days would be enough.” 

Ellett emphasized that students who are leaving these buildings should not linger and eat inside of public spaces to ensure safety for other students who have not been exposed. 

“We are asking each of us to patrol ourselves,” Ellett said in the webinar. “You need to think about your community and be good citizens. Please be very conscious of that.” 

A large concern for students aligned with how long their containment period will last after the release date if positive cases continue to be shown among the buildings and floors that are currently on lockdown. 

“If you are a documented contact or have been diagnosed of having COVID-19, you will have to extend that quarantine,” Hill said. “It’s a hard situation but we don’t want these cases to be in multiple dorms. We will have an early measure of this with this week’s testing result.” 

Golden said that although a total shutdown could potentially cause different personal obstacles and feats, it would be beneficial for the overall safety and health of the Quinnipiac community. 

“Even though the 10 days would be harder because we wouldn’t be outside at all, it would at least have an end in sight,” Golden said. “Because they’re not enforcing it and expecting students to report each other through a non-anonymous tip line, 10 days won’t be long enough and I expect them to extend the quarantine.” 

Sydney O’Neill, a sophomore medical sonography major who resides in Hill 11A, tested positive and said her experience in quarantine could have been exponentially better in regard to communication between the university and its students.   

“I have now been told that I will be released on the (Feb.) 4, 7, 8 and now the (Feb.) 9,” O’Neill said. “Although they address some of my concerns, it is still no environment to thrive in or to get better in. It is beyond frustrating that I don’t know whether I will be able to attend class.” 

Despite frustrations regarding remote classes and confusion on the quarantine, O’Neill said she was able to find positives of the situation and is hopeful for the future actions that will take place if the problems were to arise again. 

“Jill (Bassett) from the CARE team is fantastic and should be the example that everyone follows as the COVID-19 task force coordinator,” O’Neill said. “I think with our complaints and the measure we have taken with the health center and the food situation, it has made everything more manageable.” 

The university’s COVID-19 task force stated it is planning to use the questions and concerns from the virtual webinar to better its ongoing communication with the community in the future. Any students with questions or concerns are encouraged to be consistent with checking their weekly emails, visit the university’s website to see the updated FAQ’s and COVID-19 dashboard.