Back at Beloit: A Week in Quarantine
Vaccines are readily available and are being widely adopted across the United States. With students returning to on-campus this Fall, everything is returning to normal. Or so it is. Countless students (both domestic and international students) have had troubles in getting a dose for the vaccine.
Various countries in South Asia have made it difficult to make sure everyone is vaccinated. In my home country, Bangladesh, priority was given to essential workers (which included labor workers and various other occupations that have been defined as “unskilled labor”) and citizens of ages 65 and above. This has left countless international students to either defer their enrollment or opt out for a fully online academic term. However, some international students were lucky enough to be on campus this term, even without being vaccinated. And I was one of them.
I came to Beloit on the 11th of August all the way from Dhaka, Bangladesh. The sun was down, and it was cold. I reached campus at around 9.30pm and for the next whole week I was quarantined inside my dorm room. Like most students in quarantine, I was not allowed to be out of my dorm. I had to mask up to use the bathroom and I had to get my food delivered through a third-party app at the most absurd of times. Every day, I had to fill up a survey stating if I am showing any symptoms or not. And, after a week has been over, I had to get tested for symptoms at the Powerhouse.
But my case was different. I was lucky enough to be quarantined in my assigned housing. This was not the case for various other international students in quarantine. Most students who were required to quarantine were given a temporary student ID and were placed in a dorm room that was not part of their housing assignment. Like myself, us students in quarantine did our orientation completely through Zoom. Campus tours, Orientation events, and various college activities, we had missed it all. Getting out of quarantine was more of a shock than a difficulty. Not being able to find where The Wall or where the AMP meeting was going to happen was a very difficult thing to do. Navigating solely through Google Maps, I was able to find my way through campus.
According to The Hill, approximately 90,000 students across 19 states have had to quarantine or isolate themselves from the general population after contracting COVID-19 or coming into close contact with a person that had tested positive for the virus. With at least 60% of the total population being vaccinated with at least one dose in the state of Wisconsin, states are at a rapid pace to make sure everything is back to normal as soon as possible. But as restrictions are being toned down, this brings upon a case of rapid spikes in more COVID cases.
Is quarantining for a week enough to curb down infection rates? It is hard to tell but as new and returning students are being advised to be vaccinated, we are this close to experiencing a fun and safe academic semester.