Students Report Poor Food Options and Lack of Temperature Controls in Quarantine

Students in quarantine this semester have complained about living conditions, saying that limited food options and lack of control over their temperature made isolation extremely difficult.

Jamie Singer, ’21 and Christina Chu ’22 also shared the difficulties of having adequate meals during this time. Those in quarantine are allotted just two meals a day. One day Singer was only provided one meal. This was later rectified when she alerted COVID coordinators of the error. 

“As a pescatarian, someone who does not eat meat, the options are very limited,” Chu said. Every day, she selects her meals from the Union Station menu. Her food selection must be placed by 2 p.m. in order for the food to be delivered the following day. “Sometimes, we don’t get our meals until 1:30 in the afternoon,” Chu added.

While in quarantine, students are given a “snack bag” once every three days to replace breakfasts as well as the entirety of their meals for the day that they move in.

Regarding how the college’s administration has responded to feedback about quarantine conditions, George Stroud, vice president and dean of student life, said “This came up in times when we had a larger group of people in quarantine, and so there may have been some delays in getting people food. So as people have informed us of that we’ve made some changes to that.” 

Stroud emphasized that the college had tried to improve the situation as the semester has progressed. “Was it perfect? No, but every time that we receive feedback, we try to respond so that we could make it a better situation for them,” he said.

In one case with dining, Stroud said that “some students said they weren’t getting enough food, so we’ve worked with dining services to get double the amount of food that they started delivering to some of those students.” 

Jarred St. John ’22 said that his experience with quarantine after testing positive was horrible and that he was “dried out by day five.” St. John never developed symptoms, so his negative experience due to having to rely on the college for his basic needs. He said that his meals were often “inedible” noting that one day, the only thing he was able to eat was a single package of rice cakes from the three-day snack bag. He often had to order food from outside the college in order to sustain himself.

Students have no way to adjust the room temperatures in Morgan hall. St. John said his room was extremely cold. To remedy this, he contacted the woman in charge of the residence, Ellison Sherill, and asked if a blanket could be brought from his previous room. He was told that he would have to take a communal blanket from the Morgan Hall common room. 

St. John was hesitant to use one of these blankets as he was not sure where it had been or who had touched it. He noted that when he did pick up one of these blankets, it was “super thin” and barely helped with the cold. 

Tarick Mehanna ’22, who had to quarantine in Morgan after developing symptoms and testing positive, also had major issues with his room temperature. His room, however, was “incredibly hot which worsened the feeling of a fever [one of his symptoms] and forced me to sleep with the windows open and lose sleep because of the maintenance performed early in the mornings directly outside Morgan.” 

Jake Licht ’22, who was moved into Morgan after developing symptoms and testing positive, said that the hardest part of being in quarantine was feeling “trapped in a stuffy and enclosed space which really makes it hard to get healthy or feel healthier.” He wished that the college had been more creative and found a way to give students some kind of access to fresh air. He believes they could have done this even “without putting the broader community at risk.”

Stroud said that the college’s administration has “made the adjustments as we’ve received feedback from students to make sure that when they are in isolation or in quarantine that they’re still able to attend to their needs.”