Quarantining at CNU: A Short Memoir

Behind the scenes of a CNU quarantine

~Grace Griles, Staff Writer~

The term “unprecedented times” has been thrown around so much the past eleven months as an attempt to describe the global pandemic. Some would consider that phrase triggering. While this phrase is rather overused, it does accurately describe what it’s like to be attending college during a pandemic. For example, universities are required to provide a successful quarantining system for their students. 

The following sources have agreed to give an accurate account of their experience of quarantining at Christopher Newport University’s isolation facilities in late November of 2020, under the understanding and agreement that they will be kept anonymous. 

Question: What was your reaction when you found out you were positive with COVID-19?

Anonymous 1: *screams*

Anonymous 2: My first thought was how it would impact our friend group. I didn’t want to inconvenience them, but I knew we had to go into quarantine to preserve our student body.

Anonymous 3: It was like a panic scrambling of trying to tell everyone else without making them panic.

Anonymous 1: I was less worried about my health and more like what am I gonna do about this?

One would think that the first concern of someone who caught a deadly virus would be their health. This may be because these are young, healthy college students, but one of the sources mentioned that they have asthma and even then their first thought wasn’t their health. Instead, it was how their lives would be affected because of the questions surrounding what happens to those who need to quarantine. 

Q: Did you hear any rumors that might have discouraged you from quarantining at CNU? What were they, and were they true?

Anonymous 2: I heard they weren’t giving people enough food.

Anonymous 3: And that was very true.

Anonymous 2: It was not just very true. They gave us three meals a day, none of it was choice food. When we requested additional food they gave us side salads opposed to more protein or more carbs. It was not great. The food was often cold.

Anonymous 3: And like you already know how hard it is to eat while you’re sick. [Then] you throw on top of it that it’s the worst food ever and it’s cold.

Anonymous 1: When everyone went home they gave us a bunch of random leftover food.

Anonymous 3: We had a ton of water, tons of orange juice and stuff that went bad because we had nowhere to put it.

These rumors of not being provided enough food have been present ever since the fall semester started. There’s another Captain’s Log article discussing the food situation. This raises the question why would these students decide to quarantine with the university when they have the choice to go home?

Q: Why did you decide to quarantine at CNU?

Anonymous 2: I didn’t want to risk exposing my family or anyone else. I didn’t want to put off my siblings flying in and I didn’t want to ruin my family’s holiday. So I figured I would just quarantine here, and it worked for the best because I was quarantined with them (Anonymous 1 & 2).

Anonymous 3: I didn’t want to risk my family.

Anonymous 1: Yeah, same here.

Q: How was the living situation?

The immediate response was overall positive. They praised the fact that they had their own room and were quarantining together. However as the sources discussed amongst themselves they came up with some contradicting details.

Anonymous 2: Well the light in the shower didn’t work.

Anonymous 3: We just used our phone flashlights.

Anonymous 1: Remembered when the toilet—

Anonymous 3: Oh yeah, the toilet toilet leaked when you pressed the handle down and flushed it all the water shot out the handle which was kind of gross.

Anonymous 2: Also we couldn’t wash clothes and it was hard to dispose of trash.

Anonymous 3: Yes, disposing of trash was a huge problem.

Anonymous 3: They did it twice a week, and the first time we missed it because we weren’t there and the second one we didn’t know what was happening.

Whether they were giving critiques or recounting some odd moments during their time in quarantine the sources were laughing and making jokes the entire interview. Many people worry that the pandemic and social distancing is ruining the “college experience,” and in a way it is. However, watching this group showed how much people can bond over the oddest experience. 

As far as Christopher Newport’s quarantine system, they’ve had time to improve, but according to the experiences of these anonymous sources, this is not the case.

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