• Rachel Masson

How a SWOSU student experienced quarantine on campus

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

By Rachel Masson

For The Southwestern

With the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases at SWOSU, students who live on campus must choose to either quarantine back at home or reside on-campus in the married student housing apartments.

On Sept. 17, SWOSU student Elah Alcuitas got tested for COVID-19 after having allergy-like symptoms. For her, these symptoms included congestion, nausea, and feelings of dizziness. However, she did not have any of the typical symptoms like a fever or loss of smell or taste.

Alcuitas went to the nurse’s office to see if there was something she could do for her allergies, but was then referred to Weatherford Regional Hospital.

“When describing my symptoms to the doctor, he seemed to think it was unlikely to be COVID, but he had me take a rapid test just to ‘be safe,’” Alcuitas said. “I was tested without leaving my car, like a drive through, and my results came out positive.”

After testing positive, Alcuitas stayed in her car and began to contact people that she may have exposed. She also contacted her track coach, professors, Residence Life, and the dean’s office to let them know about the situation. For Alcuitas, the choice to quarantine at school was clear.

“Because going home was not a good option for me, my mother and brother are both asthmatic and my father works in healthcare, they (Residence Life) decided to move me into the family housing apartments off campus to quarantine.”

When moving out of her dorm, Alcuitas only took the essentials with her: clothes, course materials, laptop, hygiene products, etc. Since she only took what was necessary, moving out of the dorms took less than an hour.

Students who quarantine in the off-campus apartments must follow strict quarantine guidelines to not continue spreading the virus. However, while at the apartments, students are not completely shut off from the outside world.

“We’re not locked in, so if we need to take out the trash or something, we just walk out with a mask on,” Alcuitas said. “As long as we stay smart about it and don’t expose people it’s fine, but we try to limit going outside.”

Although students in quarantine at the off-campus apartments can occasionally step outside for a quick moment, they are not allowed to leave the apartments, not even for food. Residence Life oversees bringing those in quarantine their meals.

“Our student ID’s were kept by Residence Life so we could call either the grill or cafeteria. Then, they (Residence Life) would deliver the food that everyone in the apartments ordered at a certain period of the day, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner,” Alcuitas said.

Since students in quarantine must isolate themselves from everyone, there isn’t much to do in the apartments. For Alcuitas, quarantine meant schoolwork.

“I spent my time catching up with schoolwork, watching lecture videos, taking tests, and campus org meetings,” Alcuitas said. “Everything’s online, so unless you’re physically dying, you still can’t miss anything.”

However, Alcuitas tried to make the most of quarantine by having friends stop by and visit her through socially-distanced interactions. She also had FaceTime calls with her friends so that she wasn’t alone.

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