Pointless Campus Quarantine?


via: theguardian.com

Andrew Prokop, Managing Editor

Quarantine, the idea of isolating someone from others to limit the spread of disease. It is an idea that we have become all too familiar with throughout last year. If you quarantine everyone, Covid, in theory, dies off. The reason is that the virus is not self-sustaining, and the body reacts to get rid of it. Either the body succumbs to the virus, the virus dies without a suitable environment, or the body develops antibodies that destroy the virus. Either way, the virus will die off. That was the thought going into the nationwide quarantine. The problem is, with such a large dynamic nation implementing a perfect quarantine is virtually impossible while still allowing the freedoms afforded to United States citizens. We have essential workers who make sure the lights stay on, that we have food to eat, and, most importantly, those who risk themselves to take care of the sick. In reality, it is impossible to quarantine effectively without giving up a lot of the things we have come to expect in our daily lives. When you take a college campus, things are much different. It is a small enough sample size that, in theory, you could create a perfect “bubble.”  

A bubble is possible by allowing people inside and letting them do as needed (with proper precautions) while preventing the spread of disease, simply by making sure no one enters the bubble with the disease. This means that you need to test everyone entering, and once they enter, they need to quarantine to ensure no symptoms develop just in case the disease was in their system but did not have enough time to develop enough to show on a test. Once that quarantine is done, you can effectively create a bubble where everyone can go about their business without having to ever think about Covid. Thus, when the University of Hartford welcomed us back, it was no surprise to see that we would have to quarantine after getting tested on campus. 

That was the extent to where it made sense because the application was flawed. The school understands that everyone comes from different situations and that some students need to work or need to leave to see family, so the school has allowed people to leave campus. While letting people leave by itself is not a wrong decision, it defeats the purpose of quarantine because they could come into contact with someone who has it and, without knowing, possibly bring the disease into the bubble. We need to either go all in and quarantine on campus by locking down the entrances with stricter guidelines (including commuters attending entirely online) or not quarantine and trust the rules set in place as the students to do what is right for themselves and the community. We understand this is a difficult time and decision for the school to make as there is no correct answer, but we cannot go halfway.