Students Meagan Harding and Sam Palmisano have unique perspectives about what coronavirus quarantining was like on the Florida Gulf Coast University campus.
“I had to examine every detail in the emails sent to me from Housing and Residence Life because they included preparation guidance and a checklist to follow for what I would not have access to during my temporary stay in an isolation dorm,” said Harding, a sophomore majoring in biology. “I brought my own pots and pans to cook for myself during the hours after meal delivery from campus dining services.”
Harding spent 10 days quarantining in a four-bedroom apartment with one roommate, who also had a positive diagnosis. Even though they were living elsewhere under university management, school protocols attend to each individual’s circumstances to determine accommodations on a personal level.
What made Palmisano’s experience different is that after being exposed to positive patients three times and never testing positive himself, his cases still were reported and monitored through safety guidelines.
“The duration lasted two weeks, and two of the times overlapped on holidays, so I opted to go home because it was the closest way to make it feel normal,” said Palmisano, a grad student in environmental studies. “The time I stayed, all of my roommates were quarantined with me so, they let us all stay in our own apartment, thankfully.”
The good news is that some pandemic-related protocols are easing up. Beginning March 7, FGCU stopped using the Veoci app health screener and its associated contact-tracing system, and postings for campus-related coronavirus cases were discontinued. The Florida Department of Health will continue to notify the university of any cases tied to our campus community.
Since Jameson Moschella, director of FGCU housing, recruited Mac Culkeen as the university’s quarantine and isolation coordinator, there are alternatives to make the experience more comfortable for students.
“It was challenging to just allow students to order whatever they wanted and try to fulfill all those orders when we were early on in COVID,” Moschella said. “We decided to keep an inventory of basic toiletries. We had to learn quickly that we needed to create a process that we were going to be able to manage while making students satisfied, and that’s why dining came up with the menu schedule.”
Housing stocks and sets up the units while working with an outside linen vendor. The university’s response network involves different departments and has staff used to working in an organized manner in a high-stress environment. Although separation of positive cases is restrictive, efforts to treat and case-manage each student focus on extending support.
For more information on the latest university-related updates and services available for students, go to the Protect the Nest website.
— Isabella Cummings is a junior journalism major who’s part of an internship program coordinated by FGCU Marketing and Communications. Students interested in earning paid internship credit can contact Keith Gibson at [email protected].