North Texas Daily

Quarantined students in College Inn give insight on university COVID-19 response

Quarantined students in College Inn give insight on university COVID-19 response

Quarantined students in College Inn give insight on university COVID-19 response
July 30
14:00 2020

More than 30 students have been quarantined in College Inn over the last few weeks, according to the Division of University Brand Strategy and Communications, and students gave varied accounts of university communication and procedures.

The quarantined students were either individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 or had been in close contact with someone who tested positive. The group included orientation leaders, summer resident assistants and members of the university’s football team.

The quarantine was handled by Risk Management Services, who forwarded the North Texas Daily’s request for comment to Associate Director of Reputation Management Leigh Anne Gullett. 

“College Inn was chosen as the quarantine area for several reasons,” Gullett said. “All of the rooms are private

and have a private bathroom. The doors also are external so students do not have to share an indoor hallway. In addition to these benefits, the rooms and bathrooms are being cleaned daily by our housing staff, and we have had their meals delivered to them.”

Media arts junior Luis Carrillo was quarantined in College Inn for 11 days in early July after receiving positive results from a COVID-19 test done at Chestnut Hall. The university moved him into quarantine the same day. 

“As soon as I got the exam done, [the university] said they had a room,” Carrillo said. 

He said the university personnel involved in his quarantine was “super helpful.” Dining Services delivered a bag of food daily with enough provisions for two to three days. While Carrillo was unable to do laundry because the hall’s laundry room door was locked, he commented that he did not try to contact anyone to resolve the issue.

Three weeks after Carrillo’s original COVID-19 test, he requested to be tested again to “make sure I’m safe around others.” Carrillo said Chestnut Hall denied the request. 

Another quarantined student, who wished to remain anonymous, described a more negative experience. She was one of 15 people who had been in contact with Carrillo before he was quarantined. 

“Everyone on the contact list was reached out to and given a room assignment with no explanation,” the student said. 

The university contacted the group of students through an email that did not cite their exposure to Carrillo as the reason for their quarantine. The students were told to pack seven days worth of essentials, including clothing, sheets and toiletries, but were in College Inn for nine days. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommend a 14-day quarantine for those exposed to an individual who tested positive for the virus.  

“The lack of communication and the inconvenience of everything made it terrible,” the student said. “We were all miserable and confused. It was not ideal at all.”

The rooms contained a microwave and a fridge. Some bathrooms included a single roll of toilet paper, while others had none. The student said the university did not offer assistance to those in quarantine who needed more toilet paper or other essentials and instead encouraged deliveries through a friend or supermarket delivery service.  

The anonymous student had to move rooms two days into her quarantine due to a broken air conditioner that left her room’s temperature at 95 degrees. She said both rooms were sanitized but not clean, covered with spider webs and dust. 

“In the spring we were told that College Inn and all the residence halls would get a professional deep clean but that didn’t happen,” the student said. “I don’t know if I was not the first person in the room but [the university] should have done a deep clean.”

The student said Risk Management Services’ presence throughout the quarantine was “nonexistent.” She said on the ninth day, the department called the 15 students, asked if they exhibited any symptoms of COVID-19, and then said they were cleared to leave. The students were allegedly released without being tested for COVID-19, having their temperatures checked or having any contact with a medical professional.

“It seemed very sloppy and unorganized, which doesn’t make sense because it’s literally Risk Management,” the anonymous student said. “I know there’s no protocol for [the pandemic] and it’s trial and error, but there was no communication on that or anything else.”

The student said the quarantine was upheld by an “honor system.” She reported observing some of the football players who were quarantined in College Inn “leave without permission.”

Head Football Coach Seth Littrell, Risk Management Services and the Division of University Brand Strategy and Communications did not respond to requests for comment regarding these allegations.

Featured Image: A red sign reading “occupied” hangs outside a room at College Inn on July 28, 2020. Students who have been quarantined at College Inn share their experiences during their stay, along with what procedure the university followed. Image by Samuel Gomez

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Ileana Garnand

Ileana Garnand

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