Campus News

UB working to improve students’ quarantine experience

By DAVID J. HILL

Published September 11, 2020

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“We have plans in place to provide that comfort and care around the clock, and we’re constantly evaluating how we can do more. ”
Christina Hernandez, interim vice president
Student Life

It’s an unnerving — and stressful — situation: A student receives a call informing them they need to report to Goodyear Hall, UB’s on-campus quarantine residence hall. The student has either tested positive for coronavirus, or was in close contact with someone who has the virus. The student is asked to pack any toiletries and other items that might be needed for 14 days.

It’s a whirlwind.

Campus Living staff members, however, are working around the clock to make sure that students in quarantine have what they need to make a stressful event more comfortable. To be sure, it’s an evolving situation, and while the university has heard from parents and students who appreciate the care that is provided, it acknowledges that more needs to be done in certain areas.

That’s why the university is committing additional resources to make the temporary situation feel more like home — or as much as a two-week quarantine can feel that way.

“We know there have been complaints among some students quarantining in Goodyear Hall. We have reviewed every aspect of our on-campus quarantine operations and want to assure students that immediate steps are being taken to improve their experience,” said Christina Hernandez, UB’s interim vice president for student life.

“We care deeply about our students, and we understand that quarantine is an incredibly stressful time. We know students will need additional support, and their families will want assurances that students are being well cared for. We have plans in place to provide that comfort and care around the clock, and we’re constantly evaluating how we can do more,” Hernandez added.

For example:

  • If students forget something critical from their room, like medication or a laptop, Campus Living staff will retrieve it for them.

  • To help students who may be struggling with their mental health, Counseling Services and Health Promotion offer programs on wellness coaching, stress management, anxiety, adjusting to college during the pandemic, as well as same-day access to mental health needs assessments and crisis appointments.

  • With the NFL season kicking off, football is the theme for Sunday’s food service. Each student in quarantine will receive a complimentary pack containing a football-shaped cutout cookie, trail mix and Gatorade with Sunday’s meal delivery. Campus Dining and Shops will have a theme for one meal each week.

  • Based on student feedback, Campus Dining and Shops has added pizza to the menu.

UB is using Goodyear Hall on the South Campus as the quarantine residence hall. Only students who are quarantining – there are currently 38 students in on-campus isolation/quarantine – are staying in Goodyear. Campus Living staff are on site during business hours and are housed in adjacent Clement Hall and available to meet students’ needs 24 hours a day.

Quarantining is an elaborate and very important process in controlling the spread of the coronavirus on campus.

When students are informed that they need to quarantine, they are advised to bring with them any toiletries and other necessities or personal items they will need. Campus Living has an inventory of toiletries available to students who may have forgotten something that they need.

UB’s on-campus quarantine protocols are based on best practices provided by both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Erie County Department of Health on how to mitigate exposing others to the coronavirus. Campus Living staff ensured that students’ needs were at the forefront of all quarantine accommodation plans and protocols.

When students check in to Goodyear, they receive a face covering, hand sanitizer and a thermometer, as well as instructions on how to connect their devices to the WiFi available in Goodyear Hall. Should a student be requested to take a COVID-19 test during quarantine, a test kit is delivered to the student’s room, and Student Health Services provides a tele-health visit to observe collection.

Virtual programming being offered across campus is also highlighted for these students to help them stay connected.

Menu selections for students in quarantine.

Menu selections for students in quarantine for the week of Sept. 7-13.

Meals are delivered daily between 5 and 6 p.m. Students are asked to place their meal order by 10 a.m. However, no student has ever been denied a food delivery, even if Campus Dining and Shops receives their order late. Ordering by 10 a.m. allows CDS to plan and prepare the meals all together, but orders that come in after that time are always honored.

When students place their order, the delivery they receive is their hot dinner and/or pizza snack for that evening, along with breakfast and lunch for the next day. Each room has a fridge to store breakfast and lunch – the options include cereal, pastry, fruit, sandwiches, wraps and salads.

Campus Living staff check in on students in quarantine daily. Students are provided with staff contact information so they can reach out 24/7 anytime they need something.

During the day, with WiFi in the rooms, students are able to participate in remote courses and access streamed entertainment services to pass the time.  

Forty-one students have completed quarantine since June, according to Campus Living. Once quarantine requirements are completed, Campus Living staff help students to transition back to their permanent housing assignment.

READER COMMENT

The stories that I’ve seen and heard from people living in quarantine in Goodyear are quite literally horrifying. I’m glad that some were able to contact news channels and expose the conditions they were living in.

I was in a physics Zoom lecture last night and one of the students in a Goodyear room turned on his camera to show the class what it was like. Then he held a cockroach up to the screen, which he had found in the room.

All I can ask is that you do so much better. Yes, they are put into a whirlwind when they receive a contact tracing call. UB has MORE than enough resources to get them through two weeks of quarantine. Email me if you would like to know more, but I can honestly say that I was severely disappointed after a full summer of preparing for this. 

Aidan Kounios