Profile of a Quarantined Student: Isolation at Embry-Riddle Prescott

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By Taylor Brown, Correspondent

Olivia Wood, a freshman studying Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle’s Aeronautical University’s Prescott campus, was quarantined due to exposure to the coronavirus. She stayed isolated in her dorm room for a total of six days as she waited for a confirming COVID-19 test from the school.

Wood tested negative on the sixth day of quarantine, but if she hadn’t, she would have been forced to leave the ERAU campus for a minimum of fourteen days: “If I had tested positive… I would have 1 hour to pack up what I would need and get off campus.”

Throughout the quarantine process, Wood recognized a lack of communication and clarity on behalf of the school. She felt like “nothing was clear.” She was in contact with the Housing Office and the Wellness Center, both of which gave unclear descriptions of the quarantine policy.

Wood was required to stay within her dorm room, wear a mask, and maintain a six-feet distance with both of her roommates. In order to receive meals, Wood was expected to pick up food crates once a day. The Wellness Center stated in an email directed to Wood, “Failure to pick up meals does not negate the charge on your account. We are unable to accommodate meal pickups outside of the 6-7pm timeframe.”

Unable to attend her in-person classes, Wood resorted to attending the class zoom meetings. While the school might have been inconsistent and elusive with their COVID-19 policies, Wood maintains that “the professors are doing everything they can… they’re really trying to accomodate.” Her teachers were dedicated to ensuring Wood’s ability to succeed, offering support and resources during the period of isolation.

Wood expresses that no one in close proximity to her was contacted by the Wellness Center, begging the question of the extent of contact tracing. She was quarantined due to sitting nearby a student who had tested positive. Throughout her isolation, Wood noticed that many of the other students in similar proximities did not receive a quarantine notice.

“They can do a better job with their contact tracing,” Wood states. She found the inconsistency in the safety precautions concerning, and expressed a hope for more transparency and dependency on behalf of the school.

Ultimately, Wood was released from quarantine six days after the isolation was implemented. She continues to take safety precautions on campus to deter this from happening again.

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