As COVID-19 swept the nation causing chaos and a haze of fear, schools all over the country had to decide if classes for the Fall 2020 semester would continue online or resume in person. As it was apparent that COVID-19 was not going away, Saint Joseph’s University was one of the schools that chose to resume with in person, hybrid, hyflex, and online courses for the fall semester. We interviewed freshman Marketing Major Rob Fritz who was exposed to someone who tested positive for coronavirus and was put into isolation in Sourin Hall.

Rob Fritz, Freshman Marketing Major
Photo Courtesy of Rob Fritz

Fritz was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. He was traced by the university and later tested. For full details of what to do if you or someone you have been in contact with tests positive at SJU visit SJU COVID info.

We asked about the process of recognizing exposure and how SJU handled the matter. Fritz claims “After a few hours I got a call from a contact tracer who took me through the next steps. It overall went pretty well.” He was told to bring everything that he needed for 2 weeks which included bedding, clothes, chargers, electronics, snacks, and toiletries. Fritz claimed that they escort you to your room in Sourin Hall and help you move in by providing move-in baskets. You can learn more here. After that, Fritz said, you are on your own to make your room as “home-like” as possible. 

Sourin Residence Hall – Designated Quarantine Building
Photo Courtesy of Marissa Marchese

In a previous article published by The Hawk Newspaper detailing the quarantine process at SJU cited issues with food delivery, claiming it was inconsistent and mediocre. Fritz updated us, telling us that you get your day’s worth of food at 10:30 am each day. It is dropped off at your door with no contact to others. This food delivery consists of cereal, snacks, water, and meals for lunch and dinner. You may not pick what you have for food so essentially, you get what you get and you don’t get upset.

As expected, there is ample downtime when in isolation, as there is no contact with anyone for 14 days. We asked Rob what he does in his free time and he responded, “Mainly watch Netflix, play on my phone, sleep, or do work.” He finds that he has so much downtime that it is difficult to keep himself busy. He reaches out to friends and family over the phone, often just to keep in touch with the outside world.

Fritz’s Quarantine Room
Photo Courtesy of Rob Fritz

Being partially online this semester, Fritz did not experience many significant changes in his schedule or work load for his classes. Ironically, because he has so much downtime, he has trouble sitting down to do work as he now finds himself getting bored of anything very quickly. There is so much time in the same space that at times it can be hard to focus. This is interesting to note because you would think that since students are alone, they would have ample time and minimal distractions. This would presumably mean an ideal place to complete work in. But the overshadowing sadness of the fact that students are left alone in isolation proves that too much time alone does not always mean work will be completed. 

It is also important to note that even though all classes are online, the internet connection in the dorm is not reliable. The students in isolation are abiding by their iCare pledge by getting tested and entering quarantine, so they should be equipped with the best environment to complete their schoolwork successfully. 

SJU Stop the Spread Campaign
GIF Courtesy of Saint Joseph’s University

It is important to acknowledge and appreciate Fritz as well as all the students who are keeping the campus safe by quarantining, thus  making sure that the people around them are not at risk. It is apparent that SJU wants students on campus and in person in the safest way possible. Learning about students’ experiences in quarantine on campus is essential to understand so the University can improve their system and students are made aware of what will happen if they test positive or are exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19. For more information please visit the CDC website.