As a result of widespread testing procedures, many Fairfield students on campus have learned of their contraction of the coronavirus. Testing not only reveals which students have the virus, but also which students could potentially have it, thanks to contact-tracing. In order to prevent any further spread of the virus, these students who had contact with those infected can escape the danger of their close proximity to others through quarantine and isolation.
“I was in quarantine for nine days at the Holiday Inn,” said Andrew Maresca ‘23. Maresca, who was in contact with multiple roommates that tested positive, repeatedly tested negative for the virus. However, he still had to enter isolation as a precaution.
Before returning to his home in Massachusetts, Maresca was confined to this hotel room, where he could not inhale a single breath of fresh air.
“The hardest part of being in quarantine was not being able to go outside at all, and just thinking about this was hard,” said Maresca.
Representatives from the University Health Center as well as Counseling & Psychological Services contacted Maresca throughout his time in isolation. In an attempt to remain distracted from the situation, he tried to stay in contact with his friends. This interaction, along with makeshift bodyweight workouts, night-time video gaming and watching sports, provided a limited number of ways for Maresca to pass the time. However, he did note that the situation forced him to focus on his schoolwork.
Though limited in fresh air, Maresca was well-nourished during this quarantine.
“I was able to order room service at certain times during the day, and this was actually good because they had quality food options at the hotel. They served breakfast, lunch and dinner, with no limitations on meals or waters,” said Maresca.
Another Fairfield student who wished to remain anonymous told The Mirror about a simultaneous quarantine experience that had some similarities and differences. First off, this student, who was requested by the University to participate in random testing, did in fact test positive. This student, along with one of his roommates, who also tested positive, was escorted to the Conference Center on a Department of Public Safety golf cart. The two students were then walked to their respective rooms and handed a bag filled with instructions and other small items.
The anonymous student spent eight days alone in quarantine. However, he actually did not find the experience to be terrible at first, citing an overwhelming workload as a beneficial means of distracting him from his predicament.
“A normal day in quarantine would consist of me getting up around 10:30,” said the student, acknowledging how he tried to sleep as much as possible, given his contraction of the virus. After receiving his lunch delivery at 12:30 p.m., the student then worked or attended Zoom class until dinner was delivered at 6 p.m.
“That was definitely a highlight of the day,” said the student. “My suitemates and I would typically Facetime every night for dinner because we were all in our separate quarantine. I would be able to catch up with them, have a few laughs and enjoy my dinner.”
Dinner was followed by a shower and then watching either a movie or some sports on his laptop; this routine covers the extent of each day in quarantine.
“While it was definitely a tough week, I was able to communicate with my family and friends, whether it was via Facetime, text or phone calls,” said the student.
Focusing on his schoolwork remained the only option left for this student as well.
“This quarantine sort of forced me to do work because there was nothing better to do.”
His congestion, as well as the loss of taste and smell, cleared up over the course of the week, and the student became increasingly eager to escape his isolation. In addition to three hearty meals selected from a variety of options, the student also received various phone calls from Fairfield, supporting him as his antsiness became amplified.
“One call I would get was from the Health Center, checking in on my health and symptoms. They would ask about my most recent temperature and also what my oxygen levels were,” he commented. “I would also get a phone [call] from Counseling Services once a day. They would always check in on me to see how I was doing, and told me to call them if I ever needed someone to talk to.”
While Fairfield’s support clearly resonated with these students, they both display how communication with friends and focusing on schoolwork served as the two main methods in persevering through the tough time.