Quarantine living at SDSU

Local News

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) – Like campuses across the country, South Dakota State University is feeling the impact of COVID-19.

As of Friday afternoon, 170 students and staff members were being quarantined or isolated, 32 of which are doing so in campus facilities set aside for them.

An article in the student newspaper raised questions about how people are being treated in quarantine.

SDSU has on-campus housing for students in quarantine and isolation, whether they tested positive for COVID-19, are waiting for results or have been exposed to the virus.

“I have walked every hallway on all four floors of that facility. I’ve gone in every restroom, I’ve been in every pantry area and I’ve looked and walked in many of the rooms there. It’s clean. It’s ready for students and all of those basic amenities are provided,” SDSU Vice President of Student Affairs Michaela Willis said.

Since the QIH rooms opened in August, SDSU has had to make changes after students who stayed there voiced concerns.

“There’s always more that we can do to make this feel a little bit less isolating and a little bit more like home,” Willis said.

Services offered to students in QIH include daily check-ins from staff and a pantry on each floor with snacks and water.

“We of course deliver meals to the students in that housing and we are working on some enhancements to those meal options, but right now, they can place their order for the next day taking into consideration dietary restrictions or anything that they might need. We deliver those right to the residence hall, right to their rooms each day,” Willis said.

The three meals are delivered once a day and cost students $21, which can come out of their student meal plans.

Willis says within the last couple weeks SDSU has also worked with local hotels to secure rooms for quarantine and isolation.

“Students don’t really want to be in quarantine or isolation and frankly, none of us do. It’s restrictive. It’s isolating and that’s not something any of us are really used to. But it is critical to slowing that spread of the virus,” Willis said.

Students can bring items like clothes, personal hygiene items, material for their courses, and a laptop with them to the quarantine room. Willis says SDSU provides the students with linens, towels and washcloths.

“We don’t say, ‘you have five minutes to vacate your residence hall.’ We’ll give them the time to pack up their belongings. Then we also have transportation available to get them to quarantine and isolation housing or to get their belongings. So, if they want to head over by themselves, then we can bring their belongings separately,” Willis said.

Willis says SDSU is there to support students who need to go into the QIH rooms.

“We have services. We have continued to increase those services to students based on their feedback on what they need and what they want to make that a great experience. So we’re going to continue to listen. We’re going to continue to improve that service,” Willis said.

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