After the learning process of quarantine from the 2020 fall semester, Oklahoma Christian University has prepared for all the new COVID-19 cases that have arisen at the start of the 2021 spring semester. Over three weeks of classes have passed and COVID-19 cases have increased on campus and caused quarantine dorms to fill up.
Head of housing Candace Bass is working to keep students as safe as possible.
“We’ve never run out of quarantine spaces, but we have been short on what I call ‘ideal quarantine spaces,’” Bass said.
Bass believes that the long break had unintended consequences which led to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases at the start of the semester.
“We are all tired of wearing a mask, and we became accustomed to not wearing them while we were at home with our families,” Bass said.
With COVID-19 still fully active and a vaccine emerging, acclimating to school life is not as simple in the spring semester as it was in the fall semester, especially for students in quarantine.
“I didn’t get food half of the time, no one came to check on me and I was miserable. I had to have friends bring up a target order and leave it at the door,” sophomore Abby Johnson said.
The toll quarantine had on students like Johnson gave reason to upgrade the quarantine process in the spring semester.
“My separation from OC was really awful,” Johnson said. “I felt left out of everything, including classes considering I had to zoom in.”
Student life in quarantine has been massively improved upon, and making sure every student is accommodated for is one of the top priorities of the COVID-19 safety team.
“Residential Life sends out daily emails to students in quarantine/isolation with activity tips, healthy suggestions and encouragement,” Bass said. “We want to make sure that students stay healthy mentally during quarantine, and we are continuing to work to improve this.”
Students are required to follow CDC guidelines, which includes wearing masks and quarantining when necessary to protect the people around them.
“ I think a lot has improved and if people are showing symptoms and have tested positive then go to the quarantine wing,” Johnson said. “But if they show symptoms and test negative, there are other illnesses that exist, so they should just let them stay in their room, please.”
“If there was an extreme spike in cases, we would need to consider limiting our social gatherings,” Bass said.
The increasing availability of vaccines has contributed to a safer environment at Oklahoma Christian.
“We have the highest number of people with immunity on campus than ever, which will continue to rise as more people get the vaccine,” Bass said.
Improvements are always being made, and making sure social gatherings and classroom settings are as safe as possible are motivators behind the flow of students going into quarantine.
“The number of students who graduated in the fall helps to balance the number of new or transfer students in the spring,” Bass said.
The main focus of the COVID-19 safety team is the students of Oklahoma Christian and their safety as guidelines change to fit the dynamic of COVID-19. More students will have to quarantine, but the COVID-19 safety team is working to protect and provide for all students on campus.