Print: Quarantined in Paradise?

FAU has put protocols in place to quarantine individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, including those who test negative. But are they doing too much?


Illustration by J.R. Pfeiffer.

Colby Guy, Features Editor

Editor’s note: This story is in the UP’s latest issue that can be found physically on campus and digitally through our Issuu page.

Florida Atlantic University has opened its dorms to students, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it means extra protocols have been put in place to keep the student body safe.

One of those protocols is the mandatory quarantine period students have to go through if they or their suitemates are found to have symptoms of COVID-19. Some students have had to quarantine even after testing negative.

“They created mass panic amongst our room, saying we are medium/high risk because we’ve even been exposed to someone who showed symptoms of COVID,” said Kalia Palmer, a freshman who lives in Heritage Park Towers, “The protocol is lowkey dumb, [but] I understand what it’s for. [However,] they say [that if] everyone in the room tested negative we still have to quarantine.”

Larry Faerman, Vice President of Student Affairs, said “Quarantine is for those individuals who are exposed to someone that is symptomatic for COVID or tests positive for COVID.”

Per Faerman, students exposed to people with symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to test no later than a week after their last exposure. If tested negative they will quarantine in their own dorms, while those who test positive have had to quarantine in a separate dorm. Both quarantine periods will last 10 days.

The average time for test results to come back is 2-3 days from Student Health Services.

In addition to their suitemates, students are also asked to provide contact information for people who they had contact with two days before the test date for asymptomatic students and two days before symptoms occurred for symptomatic students.

But what exactly happens during those two weeks?

The Protocol

If students have any symptoms of COVID-19, they are to contact Student Health Services and get tested, but no matter what the result of the test is, students are required to self isolate for 10 days. If the test is negative, they stay in their respective dorms (with their suitemates who did not show symptoms or get tested) and if the test is positive, the student is sent to a designated room to quarantine for ten days.

“Based on current CDC guidance, those individuals who test positive are cleared from isolation when (1) at least ten days since symptoms first appeared have passed; (2) have had at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication; and (3) symptoms have improved,” said Faerman, “Those with symptoms of COVID who test negative or who opt not to test, are isolated for ten days following the day that symptoms were first presented and cleared using the same criteria.”

However, the process of getting food to students and carting off their trash, is similar.

If the student has a meal plan, students are to download the GET app, which will allow students to order food from the Atlantic Dining Hall that will be delivered to them three times a day, per the memo Student Health Services sent to students who are required to quarantine.

Students are given an ISO number to activate their GET app, but may also request it beforehand.

Breakfast will be delivered from 8-9:30 a.m., lunch will be delivered from 12-1:30 p.m., and dinner will be delivered from 5:00-6:30 p.m. Students are required to submit their orders at least 45 minutes before their pickup time.

If the Get app isn’t working, students will be asked by their contact to submit a list of weekly meals.

For students without a meal plan, they may order food and groceries from the delivery app of their choosing, which will be to be dropped off at the front desk for housing staff to drop off to the quarantined student. Deliveries can be made for students in self-quarantine between the hours of 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Students without access to adequate food may also have access to the Beyond Food Pantry program run by the Dean of Students’ office. Any quarantined student in need can contact them at 561-297-3542.

Trash will be picked up twice per week on Tuesday and Thursday between 1 pm-3 pm, per the memo sent by Student Health Services. Students are to place their trash bag in a second trash bag, a red trash bag that will be provided for them, and leave the trash outside their door no more than 10 minutes before pickup.

Dormed and Dormant

Some students, however, have been confined to their dorm rooms due to their suitemates having symptoms of COVID-19, yet testing negative and it is taking a toll on them.

“I love being outside though and seeing people, and we are not able to do that obviously, so that was hard the first few days,” said a junior who lives in Indian River Towers who did not want to be named, “If you have a good support system of family, friends, and professors it makes it easier to manage and having classwork also makes the time pass.”

That student was in a similar situation as Palmer, as one of their suitemates was found with symptoms of COVID-19, but tested negative for the virus. All four suitemates tested negative, but will still have to quarantine for the complete ten-day period.

“It’s stressful because none of us showed symptoms of COVID-19,” said Palmer. “The initial roommate with the symptoms is no longer on campus yet we still have to stay quarantined. I’ve been getting really frustrated. And I started stress eating chocolate.”

While being quarantined, students have had to come up with creative ways to keep themselves busy.

The IRT student has said that they have been keeping themselves busy with virtual fitness classes and watching a lot of tv shows.

Palmer says that she had taken up painting, as the housing director had given them some paint, but otherwise, they say that they’ve been very bored.

Students also noted that there has been some miscommunication from FAU and say that they have not been able to have their needs met.

Another student who requested anonymity was asked to quarantine in a dorm room with just a bed after having allergy symptoms and was given no food, soap, or toilet paper. That student tested negative and decided to leave and quarantine at home.

“I am highly disappointed in FAU,” her mother said. “My daughter suffers from horrible allergies and sinus issues.”

She went on to say that there had been a leak in her dorm room that could’ve been causing these issues, but when she reported this information to Student Health Services, she was tested for COVID-19.

“She drove back home to Orlando to complete the test and tested negative,” her mother said, “Now they are telling her roommates they have to isolate for 10 days for allergies. This is ridiculous.”

Colby Guy is the Features Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thatguycolbs.