Ella Ruehsen, a UVM sophomore and assistant news editor for the Cynic stands at the center window of Slade Hall Feb. 13. Slade Hall is a residence hall on Redstone Campus which has been reserved for COVID positive students. (Kate Vanni)
Ella Ruehsen, a UVM sophomore and assistant news editor for the Cynic stands at the center window of Slade Hall Feb. 13. Slade Hall is a residence hall on Redstone Campus which has been reserved for COVID positive students.

Kate Vanni

Inside COVID isolation at UVM: reporter recounts surreal stay with no masks and limited supervision

February 23, 2021

Editor’s note: This piece takes on a different form of journalism Cynic readers may not be accustomed to. Read the letter from the Editor-in-Chief here to learn more. 

 

Since this past fall semester, I’ve been reporting and documenting COVID-19 on UVM’s campus as my area of focus for coverage as a news writer for the Cynic. 

Up until two weeks ago, I was on the outside looking in, reporting on how COVID-19 was impacting my community. 

Then I started to feel a little sick. 

On the afternoon of Feb. 4, as I scrambled to pack up my things, I looked out my window and saw that a big black van had pulled up to my dorm, Coolidge Hall. The van was waiting for me. 

Being contact traced felt surreal and scary, but I also knew this would be an interesting way to get first-hand insight into the way things are run inside the pandemic housing facilities. 

I had other Cynic staff drop off a digital camera to take with me right before getting picked up by Student Health Services. 

My friends and I walked down the hall and into the van. A piece of plexiglass separated us from the nurse who drove us. 

The nurse was Dana Braunegg. I knew who Braunegg was because I had tried to reach her in early November by email for a story I was writing about what it was like in the quarantine facility, but I received no reply.

This time though, as a student on the inside, I had the opportunity to hear from her directly about how things were run.

We had been contact traced earlier that same day and were on our way to UVM’s quarantine building, Jeanne Mance. 

By the time we arrived at Jeanne Mance, I was certain I had the virus. Throughout that day I had developed a sore throat, a bit of a cough and body aches. My eyes hurt when I turned them. 

When we moved into Jeanne Mance, Braunegg gave us the run-down on how things would work in quarantine. We were to stay in our rooms, only leaving to use the bathroom and get meals, which we were to eat alone in our rooms. 

Everyone was given either a single or the option to live with the person who was already their roommate if two roommates were contact traced. 

However, Braunegg warned folks that if one roommate was positive at the beginning of their stay, the other could get COVID-19 eventually and would be forced to have their stay extended. 

“I’ve had people who have been in here for upwards of 25-27 days,” she said. 

You may see other people who are choosing not to follow those rules—that is on them. They are not a risk to you if you are doing as I’m asking and I can only do something about that if I am visually seeing it.”

— SHS Nurse Dana Braunegg

However, when I followed up with UVM spokesperson Enrique Corredera about this, he said the University is not aware of any circumstances that would result in quarantine or isolation stays of nearly a month.

Braunegg assured us of our little risk to exposure.

“I like to give the ‘you’re an adult, I’m an adult’ conversation,” she said. “Which leads me to my next conversation of the ‘stay-in-your-lane’ conversation… If you are doing exactly as I’m asking… you have no risk of exposure.” 

She also said there is no use in reporting rule-breaking to her. 

“You may see other people who are choosing not to follow those rules—that is on them,” she said. “They are not a risk to you if you are doing as I’m asking and I can only do something about that if I am visually seeing it.”    

I heard several voices yelling and laughing in the hall outside my bedroom door that night. 

The next day, we got tested at a trailer right outside of the Student Health Center, which was a short walk down the sidewalk and across the street. 

Despite the trailer’s proximity to Jeanne Mance, when I went there it felt strange to be out in public walking down the road past unknowing strangers with nothing but a thin piece of fabric separating me from them. I tried to hold my breath. 

A nurse from SHS gave me a rapid antigen test, a PCR test and then an additional test for the new coronavirus variant. 

The nurse who administered these tests told me on Feb. 5 that this was the first day they started swabbing students for the variant. They do so selectively, based on a set of criteria, Braunegg said. 

However, when I contacted SHS in an attempt to obtain my results, they said they tossed that swab because it was not selected for analysis. 

“The department of health is allotted a limited number of samples to send to Massachusetts each week for a whole genomic sequencing and opted not to send samples from the cluster that you were a part of,’” stated an SHS nurse, Anne Desmond, in a UVM MyWellbeing secure message to me. 

She was passing along this quote from her Medical Director, she said. 

Only a few minutes after getting back to my room, after all three swabs, I got a call confirming my suspicions that I had the virus. 

My rapid antigen test was positive, and a few days after being moved to isolation housing, I got a confirmation that my PCR test was positive too. 

Once again, I packed my things and got into the big black van. They took me to Slade Hall, where students who have tested positive go until 10 days after symptom onset, at which point they are deemed no longer contagious. 

Braunegg is the Jeanne Mance live-in nurse, and the official from SHS who is the most involved in staffing and nursing at all three facilities: for students in quarantine at Jeanne Mance, and students in isolation at Slade on the other side of campus and the Trinity Cottages. 

“We honestly weren’t expecting to be using this building so quick,” Braunegg said, about Slade. 

Five days later, on Feb. 10, we discovered the building had filled up. A new person was standing in the hallway with his things that afternoon, waiting on someone else to move out. 

I took a lap around Slade and realized that there really were no rooms left available. 

At that point, new cases were being sent to the Cottages, which serve as additional housing for students who test positive, according to Nancy, an SHS official. 

“To be honest, we’re expecting a higher volume of positives [this semester],” Braunegg said. “I think that people are having COVID fatigue.” 

Already on Feb. 4, Jeanne Mance was close to capacity, Braunegg said. 

“More than half—actually more than three quarters [full],” she said. 

When I asked Corredera about this, he said UVM has never reached capacity in isolation and quarantine facilities, but out of an abundance of caution has increased the number of rooms available.

The day I was moved to Slade, Braunegg gave me a breakdown of the rules and where the school had experienced issues over the course of the fall semester– like students in isolation housing leaving to go back to their dining halls and residence halls, Braunegg said.

“We have experienced a high volume of students trying to go back to their rooms, you could check swiped cards, people were swiping into their dining hall when they’re supposed to be here, that sort of thing,” she said. 

However, she told me she is unable to do anything about rule-breaking unless she sees it.

We have experienced a high volume of students trying to go back to their rooms, you could check swiped cards, people were swiping into their dining hall when they’re supposed to be here, that sort of thing.”

— SHS Nurse Dana Braunegg

“I will say that the highest person at ResLife’s office window literally looks right out at this building, they’ve already noted an issue of students coming in and out of it, not students in here,” she said. “Again, I can only do something if I see it happening, but you guys are young adults and you are choosing to do that decision.” 

Corredera said UVM changed its procedures this semester to address this, by preventing students in isolation and quarantine from being able to access facilities with their CatCard.

Although our official contracts and the UVM website stipulate that students in isolation should “wear a mask whenever you open your door or go to the bathroom,” and “not leave your designated space for any reason,” Braunegg told us all that it was not necessary for us to mask or distance in Slade. 

“The consolation prize to a COVID diagnosis is that the worst has happened,” Braunegg said. “You can’t get COVID worse during the time that you have it so you are allowed to hang out, you do not need to wear a mask unless there is staff present in the building.” 

I asked her if we should be worried about how effective our antibodies are against getting the virus a second time. 

“The medical director has indicated to me that there is no concern surrounding the possibility of [cyclically infecting one another],” she said. “But you have to do whatever you feel comfortable with.” 

I also asked if we should be worried about taking precautions against infecting students who received false-positive tests. 

The consolation prize to a COVID diagnosis is that the worst has happened. You can’t get COVID worse during the time that you have it so you are allowed to hang out, you do not need to wear a mask unless there is staff present in the building.”

— SHS Nurse Dana Braunegg

“When we do the PCR test, that is so effective that the lab would literally have to admit that they damaged the sample or there was an equipment error for it to be falsely positive,” she said. “We did have an issue with it last semester, it happened in one unit of testing.”

During the fall, there was a batch of seven positives that was later that night declared invalid, she said. But she held firm in the sentiment that it was okay not to mask in Slade. 

There were two students I met in Slade during my stay, who suspected they had been false positives. One of them got a call midway through his stay from SHS saying his suspicions might be true. 

He told several of us this information, as we all stood with him in the hall, not one mask insight. Everyone but him was, for certain, infected. He later took a new COVID-19 test and was moved to the Cottages.  

A week later on Feb. 11, two other SHS employees, Nancy and Morgan, held a meeting for all Slade residents, during which they said they would need to change the rule: masking and distancing were once again required. 

This announcement was made on the same day that news broke of the variant strain being detected in Vermont wastewater. Nancy and Morgan did not mention this to us, but they did express concerns over whether or not antibodies from one strain can defend against the other. 

“I just think going forward we just had to rethink this because we just don’t know what’s going on out there,” she said. “This semester compared to last semester, we’re having a lot more symptomatics and obviously a lot more positives with symptoms versus last semester, very few had symptoms.” 

Corredera emphasized to me in the Feb. 22 email that the school’s public health response will not change as a result of emerging more contagious variants.

I had a few friends from the same round of contact tracing who also tested positive, two of whom are roommates. One of them received a call from SHS that day to say that they had both tested positive, asking her to pass the message along to her roommate.

We were confused as to why the roommate was not directly contacted; based on the protocols outlined in HIPAA, it should be illegal for SHS to release her medical information to someone else. 

Another person in my group of exposure was not picked up by SHS after being contact-traced. 

The van was supposed to get her the day she was traced, but she said it never showed up. She was not contacted again by SHS until the second to last day of what should have been her stay in Jeanne Mance. 

During my stay in Slade, I recalled another piece of information that Braunegg had given me. 

“You will see Rich the cleaner, he wears a spacesuit. I think you might’ve seen him over at Jeanne Mance, anyway, he wears a suit that literally covers his entire face – if you see him you could courteously put on a mask but to be honest, he’s very very safe.”

It was true. The only person aside from SHS staff I ever saw in the building was a man in what looked like a spacesuit. 

The scene felt apocalyptic as if I were a specimen in a sci-fi movie. 

“Isn’t it crazy that we are literally the reason he’s wearing that thing,” a friend said to me one day when he walked by us on the stairwell. 

On Feb. 14, after days of living a life that felt surreal at best, the big black van pulled up to get me for a third and final time. I got in, gladly this time, ready to go home and go back to my real life once again.

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  • A

    AlexMar 5, 2021 at 10:39 am

    I am absolutely appalled at the commenters of this article. Ella is obviously trying to shed light on infrastructural deficiencies that underlie problems that she and others have experienced in quarantine. At no part in reading this did I sense that she harbored any resentment or ill-intent towards the nurse, and it was not until I reached the comment section that I had any reason to think that this article was written maliciously. Dana is clearly not asked to be “babysat” or “spoon-fed.” She is asking only for the safety and security that EVERY OTHER NON-QUARANTINE DORM has. Why are those in quarantine dorms so unsupervised, when every other dorm has strict guidelines for interaction and COVID safety? I don’t think that having repercussions for students who do not take quarantine seriously is a lot to ask, considering that those in normal dorms who break these rules are subject to expulsion. No student should be held accountable for the actions of others. No student with a false positive should have to be subjected to rule-breaking and carelessness. I don’t understand how so many people can excuse the actions of the students in these dorms as well as UVM’s blatant disregard for actual COVID safety. Again, not the fault of the nurse (nor was it implied to be) but a problem with the university itself. To Ella, I am truly sorry that people are misinterpreting your words. This article was beautifully written, and comprehensive for a student living off campus to gain insight into the inner workings of dorm quarantine. Please do not let these people get you down.

    Reply
  • M

    MeganMar 4, 2021 at 8:52 am

    It should be the students’ responsibility not to mingle in public spaces. Wear your mask. Did the author really state that students’ congregated maskless in spaces because no one told them “No” or enforced action to limit gathering? You are adults, act like them. Wear your mask for the sake of the janitor. Stay in your room. Follow the simple guidelines that keep everyone safe. The actions of the students described in the article clearly exemplify why there continue to be cases. The nurse deserved anonymity, and I am deeply sorry for her family. This article is completely unprofessional.

    Reply
  • K

    K. MicheleMar 1, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    Somewhere in that kitchen must be a box of trash bags. How about taking it upon yourself to help out by first sorting the recycling (cans seemed to be separated but there were plastic bottles in the trash) and then bagging the trash, setting it aside, and putting a clean bag in the barrel? Be part of the solution, not the problem.

    Reply
  • T

    TaylorFeb 27, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    When potential employers of nurse Dana run her name through Google and see this article, I doubt they will pick up on the “first person narrative” or take the time to realize that it’s a “different form of journalism.” What they will see are the grabbing pull quotes that were most likely obtained without the nurse’s consent, and which taken out of context can make her look unprofessional. Ella and the Cynic should be ashamed of this piece, and the selfless nurse’s name needs to be taken out. I agree that it sheds important light onto UVM’s wild negligence of handling Covid, but to drag the nurse’s name through the mud when she is putting herself at risk, her life on hold, and personally financing student happiness is a disgrace. She is NOT a babysitter, NOT a rent-a-cop, and should NOT be taking the fall for UVM’s mismanagement when she is one of the few people on the front lines handling the situation!!! She is a health care professional and essential worker, all of whom need to be supported, respected, and celebrated during these awful times. If Ella and the Cynic had any sense of journalistic integrity they would take her name out of the piece NOW!

    Reply
  • J

    JasperFeb 25, 2021 at 10:05 am

    I believe that what this article was meant to do was to be an eye opener to the conditions and lack of support for BOTH those in quarantine and for the staff taking care of those in quarantine. It is a SUBJECTIVE piece by someone who was there and really did have COVID, contrary to the belief of some of the commenters both here and on Instagram. (Many reading this might need to look up the term SUBJECTIVE to understand its proper meaning). This article does not bash or slander the SHS, it is providing a clear picture of what limited resources the SHS have to support those in quarantine. It also shows how irresponsible students can be because most are at the age of “nothing can happen to me” mentality. Those in quarantine need to take responsibility for their actions, and accept consequences for their actions. There clearly need to be consequences for those who are not following the rules; however there also needs to be more ample university provided oversight within the quarantine dorms.
    The editor clearly stated, IF anyone actually read that, that this was a “different form of journalism”. Further, it is based upon the “first-person, narrative-driven story”. Many of those commenting seem to overlook this, and jump all over both the author and the editor for being “slanderous” and portraying the SHS in a poor light. This was personal experience, in a way an opinion piece, however not once did the author overtly express her opinion of what took place. She clearly and simply provided what she experienced.
    If those reading the article, and the editor’s note, also read the comments; they will see that there are other commenters who are expressing that they too experienced a similar situation while in quarantine housing. Those comments do not condemn the SHS staff, or the author, but show that the experience seems to be consistent among those who have actually been there.
    It seems that this is a very solid piece that both the author and the Cynic should be proud of! If this “first-person narrative” had not touched so many nerves, it would have simply been overlooked.
    Also, just a reminder that The Cynic is a newspaper for and by the students. They are editorially independent from UVM. Their job is NOT to make UVM look good, or bad for that matter. Their purpose is to clearly present information about what is happening at UVM and in the community that these students live in.

    Reply
  • B

    Bernie CordesFeb 25, 2021 at 12:06 am

    As a student who stayed in Jeanne Mance for 10 days, and had met and gotten to know nurse Dana, I would like to express how absolutely unfair this article is. Dana is one of the most caring, personable, and committed people I have ever met. That woman is stretched way too thin and her efforts as a nurse have been and continue to be overlooked and taken for granted. We must realize and appreciate that she is only one person, and she has taken on a VERY difficult and exhausting task. We must also remember that we are all college students, and therefore, adults. Dana is not a babysitter, she is a nurse, and a great one at that.
    I would also like to share a few of the countless nice things Dana had done for me during my stay at Jeanne Mance:
    1. I have dietary restrictions, so I would get a special meal that had my name on it. One night, someone quite literally stole my meal. Dana, using groceries that she paid for, with her own money, made me a meal herself.
    2. Dana would give me and others ice cream sandwiches everyday. One of the other girls in isolation was vegan; she specially bought Italian ice for that girl so she could have a nice treat as well.
    3. Dana bought us “emotional support succulents”

    Finally, I do appreciate how difficult isolation can be, trust me. However, that has nothing to do with Dana’s negligence that the author of this article alluded to her having (she is anything but negligent). The shortcomings of the isolation dorms here at UVM are NOT nurse Dana’s fault, it is the university’s, and I refuse to let anyone say otherwise.

    Reply
  • B

    Brendan LombardFeb 24, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    All of Dana’s quotes seem honest and policy driven yet the way they’re framed make her sound ignorant and uninformed. Why not take this opportunity to learn from Dana and explicitly call out the university’s policies and ignorance of the dire situation instead of just leaving it unresolved in your article? There really was an opportunity to galvanize staff and students to call for more attention.

    Maybe another cynic writer needs to be contract traced?

    Reply
  • J

    Julia P.Feb 24, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    This article is very consistent with my experience in Jeanne Mance last semester. However contrary to prior comments, I don’t think the intention of this article was to bash the staff, what Ella explained is exactly what I experienced. I went through this process first hand. The problem with the quarantine housing has nothing to do with Dana and everything to do with the lack of staffing. I completely agree that Dana should not be responsible for watching an entire building 24/7, but the university should hire more staff to offer Dana and her husband support.

    Reply
  • J

    JustinFeb 24, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    There is one nurse, who is working at three different locations, living at the University instead of being at home with her family. Thanking this person should be your one and only prerogative. Instead though, you’ve decided to complain that this HERO isn’t taking out your garbage (not her job), isn’t packing you your favorite lunch (not her job), and hasn’t caught every code-of-conduct infraction in your building. Next time, take out your trash or call someone, instead of letting it pile up. Next time, if you don’t get something you like for food in your lunch, order some take-out, or simply be grateful that they are bringing you meals at all. I’m sure you will somehow find a way to survive for a few days on bagels and melons without succumbing to starvation. And someone outside your door is being loud? Give me a break! Did you ask them to be quiet, or to go back to their room? Just because the nurse has given you tissues, doesn’t mean she has to wipe your nose too.

    Reply
  • S

    siobhanFeb 24, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    UVM quarantine housing is not perfect; it has its fair share of issues. But the issue with UVM quarantine housing does not lie in the quarantine nurses, Dana, and her husband, who constantly put their health at risk to provide housing for you while you’re sick, it does not lie in inconsistent trash pickup or the two-minute walk to the testing facility across the street. The issue with UVM quarantine housing lies in privileged college kids who act as though the virus can’t affect them until they’re sent to said housing, it lies in kids who are put in quarantine and continue to act as though their actions can’t affect others and it lies in the university’s lack of transparency when it comes to Covid planning and protocol. Writing an exposé that largely focuses on an essential worker whose current position is to make sure those with Covid have a place to quarantine, rather than focusing on the student population who are risking their own lives and the lives of others, is completely tone-deaf.

    Reply
  • P

    PatFeb 23, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Vermont Cynic,

    I found this article to be both unnecessarily harsh and vehemently biased. This article is undoubtedly a hit piece: a failed attempt to disguise your own misplaced anger. Rather than beckon the administration to make changes, you chose to attack student health employees who are both overworked and underpaid. They deserve respect for the jobs that they were hired to do. Let me make this clear: it is no one’s job to babysit you. You are a college student—not a toddler. This article displays absolutely no journalistic integrity. The “facts” presented here, while they may be true, have been taken out of context and manipulated. The only purpose that this article serves is to monger fear among the UVM student body. I am mortified that this piece was published, and the only thing that it deserves is to be removed and retracted.

    Reply
  • M

    MarlFeb 23, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    Ella and Sawyer should be removed from the Cynic for publishing this slanderous piece of garbage. Putting the blame and responsibility on one healthcare professional and potentially ruining her name and career is highly unprofessional. The SHS staff have given up their personal lives to work around the clock to take care of students who clearly are not abiding by the Green and Gold standard. As a resident of the Burlington area, I need to question why many students are contracting Covid-19; it would be interesting to know how Ella managed to get this first-hand experience, as she made clear in her article – an experience she desired.

    Reply
  • G

    GregFeb 23, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    The fact that you include the first and last name of the nurse is outrageous and unnecessary. Someone who was selflessly trying to help students has her privacy invaded and is now open to harassment. Shame on you.

    Reply
  • P

    PatrickFeb 23, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    Sophie Regina and Rachel Smith,

    My interpretation of Ella’s article was not that she thought the nurses were doing a bad job, but that the nurses were very clear about UVM’s policy that states what the nurses can and can’t do. The fact that there are obvious problems at the facility does not fall on the nurses, but on UVM administrators. If the nurses can’t enforce the rules, there should still be a staff member there who can enforce them and there should be consequences for students that break quarantine.

    Reply
  • E

    EricFeb 23, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    For those criticizing the writer, I’d suggest you consider rethinking your premise that the writer’s goal is to bash on SHS staff. I would imagine that they agree that SHS doesn’t have the resources from the university to manage quarantine properly, especially with the sudden recent uptick in cases. I would hope that the point of this article is to truthfully represent the writer’s experience in quarantine at UVM, and to shine a light on the need for the university to devote more resources to this. I for one don’t actually believe that adults always have the wisdom and maturity to make correct decisions, and if students aren’t following policies that they’ve agreed to follow, for their benefit and the benefit of the wider public, then it should be addressed instead of ignored.

    Reply
  • L

    LindaFeb 23, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    A lot of rumor and hearsay was getting discussed on the FB UVM parent Group about whether or not students were allowed to mingle unmasked in the covid positive dorms and students violating the “rules for quarantine” and isolation as well as the conditions in the dorms. This piece seems to provide further evidence the rumors and hearsay to be true. I would love to hear a followup piece from medical professionals about whether or not covid positive students mingling unmasked is a factor for the virus mutating (ie covid strains comingling). Could Burlington get its own strain? I don’t know the science, but it seems like a lege number of symptomatic students spending time together unmasked may allow the virus to mutate.

    Reply
  • R

    Rachel SmithFeb 23, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    As someone who stayed in Jean Mance in November, I find this article an extreme misrepresentation of how UVM is handling COVID quarantine. The logistics outlined in the artifice were similar to my experience, but the lack of respect toward the nurses and UVM staff is extremely disappointing. Dana LIVES in the lobby of Jean Mance. She is there as a health resource, not a babysitter. Upon arrival she gave me and every person I was with her personal phone number to call or text with any issue during the stay. Any issues with students not staying in their room or breaking isolation rules is the students fault. Dana can not monitor multiple dorm building 24/7. If someone is in isolation, it is their responsibility to follow the rules. Instead of bashing UVM for taking care of you for a week while you were sick, we should be asking for more staffing in the isolation dorms. UVM students are the ones spreading COVID right now and putting themselves and others in isolation. Rather write an article on how to better follow the green and gold to lower capacity in isolation or an article advocating for better conditions for the UVM staff putting their health at risk.

    Reply
  • J

    Jack O.Feb 23, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    Ella,

    What a window into the student experience. I can attest to all of it, exactly how you describe. The uncertainty, the haphazard-ry, the whiplash… I’ve experienced it all too. To be fair – not at UVM, though. In fact, I’m not even close to UVM – I’m at North Carolina State university. But it’s you wouldn’t believe just how similar things are.

    In your story I found the same disappointment, surreality, and absurdity as I have where I am. Your organization’s communication was full of both forgivable human mistakes as well as avoidably short-sighted incompetence. Your description of the outside-the-reslife-window student behavior is somehow both absurd yet mirrored where I am. The repeated emphasis of staff’s frustration with student behavior, combined with the clockwork pivot to the spiel about student’s own personal autonomy in their choices, is so universal you wouldn’t believe it. (At my school it was the invocation of “scout’s honor.”) And I resonated most with your description of your experience in the Jeanne maskless-moonbase because that’s exactly how it feels – as a student you feel as distant as if you were on the moon while the rest of the world seems to just continue to orbit, and no one really knows the rules.

    And it’s all people. It’s all flawed. It’s a situation that must end with both strict accountability for those who make ridiculous decisions as well as compassion and understanding at every level. I disagree with Sophie that this piece lacks perspective on the staff, instead seeing in your story a picture of these people (by little fault of their own) having predictable human reactions.

    At the same time, predictable human reactions are no reason not to see them described and investigated with accountability. Realities like this must be brought to light with *both* uncomfortable accuracy and compassion/gratitude. In fact, it’s the only way for it to result in anything better.

    This is the real experience from the perspective of a student moving through a surreal moment in a surreal time. I find comfort as well as appreciation for how this moment is captured so accurately in your piece.

    Best to you and your school,
    Jack O.

    (Shoutout to @BhRenton for upping your story.)

    Reply
  • E

    Elliot WalshFeb 23, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    I was in quarantine in Jean Mance for a week in early November, and this report is consistent with my experience. Dana repeatedly said that “if we followed the rules we had zero risk of exposure” but at the same time “we’re adults and if we want to break the rules she can’t stop us.” There we’re regularly people in the hallways without masks, and a few floors above me you could hear shouting and parties every night. According to Dana the nurses at uvm aren’t unionized, which is why they are so understaffed (she was practically the only one running things at Jean Mance). It is unconscionable for the sake of both students in quarantine and the nurses staffing the building) that uvm hasn’t provided more staff and resources for the quarantine housing, and is consistant with their inexcusable lack of transparency when it comes to covid.

    Reply
  • S

    Sophie ReginaFeb 23, 2021 at 11:01 am

    I find it completely inappropriate to suggest the nurses should be “supervising” students in quarantine. Nurses are nurses, not babysitters for college students, and it is up to students to take responsibility and make the right choices in quarantine. Dana and the other staff in charge of running the quarantine buildings are overworked and probably overwhelmed at the COVID situation right now. I was a student in quarantine last semester that Ella interviewed, and I have nothing but gratitude for the sacrifices SHS staff have made to make college in a pandemic as safe as possible. It is SO disrespectful to the people that took care of you while you had COVID to write an article that puts them in this light. Instead of complaining about how often trash is being taken out, maybe use your platform to ask the university to increase staffing and help with the growing COVID cases? And have GRATITUDE for student health for looking out for you while you had COVID.

    Reply