NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.-- It is no secret that the Westminster College campus has been slightly less full for the past ten days. This void of people was created by a necessary quarantine of roughly 100 students due to COVID-19 exposure. Students and staff campus wide experienced the effects that this lack of people had both in and out of the classroom. On September 9, 2020 the students who quarantined returned to the classroom.
I was able to talk to Gina Vance, Vice President of Student Affairs, about the return of students to the classroom. Vance talked about the quarantine process and what the goal of the process was.
“Any time we have students in quarantine, our first worry is that they will remain healthy. Students who quarantine do so because they’ve been exposed, and we hope that the exposure does not actually result in illness,” Vance said. Maintaining the safety of the students is the first priority for the administrative staff, and Vance makes that message very clear.
This chain of events seemed rather meek, however there are positives that came with it. One of these being the knowledge of handling future COVID-19 related incidents. Vance touched base on this subject as well “We’ve learned more about how the Department of Health view illness, contact tracing, cohorts of risk, and public health. This learning will help us anticipate needs for larger quarantine groups in the future.”
COVID-19 related incidents, while they are not asked for, are bound to happen in the future, having prior experience and ability to combat the situation will be of use should the issue arise again.
While life was different for the students in the classroom, those who had to quarantine had a unique experience. In an interview with a student that quarantined I was able to gain a better understanding of what life was like.
“Quarantine was very boring since I was unable to go do much. I just did the same thing I would have done at school. I never really left my bedroom or my house. It was really hard for me just packing back up leaving all my friends and teammates for two weeks. And to be back, it feels super nice. I missed the environment of Westminster; I missed all my friends and my classes.”
This student talked about how the learning and social environment was not quite the same going from Westminster to home. Obviously, life seems much different going from watching Netflix and talking on facetime to pass the time to being on a college campus. On the bright side however, Westminster is back to operating at full capacity with a new perspective and knowledge on safety and education.