By Grace Ferguson
Follow the rules, so you don’t end up in quarantine. That’s the advice of one student currently in quarantine housing at Boston University.
“I’m kind of introverted, so I was like, ‘Ooh, you know, two weeks, my own room, my own bathroom, completely alone, yay!’” she said. “I’m dying after a few days.”
Amanda, who asked that WTBU not use her real name, has been quarantined since Friday. She’s there because, before she came to Boston, she had contact with someone who later tested positive for the virus. She reported it to Healthway, and BU staff decided that she would need to quarantine for 14 days.
Amanda said she was only with her close contact for a short time outdoors, and she had already tested negative once when she reported it to Healthway. As unpleasant as quarantine is, Amanda said she appreciated BU’s abundance of caution.
“It definitely makes me feel a lot more like they do care, and like they are actively trying,” she said.
Amanda had about an hour to pack after Healthway officially notified her she was going into quarantine. When asked what she wished she had brought, she had an answer right away.
“Better bedding,” she said.
BU provides all of the basics, but Amanda said she’s been sleeping on the floor because the bed is so hard to sleep on.
“They give a set of sheets a week. However, these sheets are so uncomfortable. They feel like when you iron press a button up shirt. That’s like the best way to describe it—they’re very stiff.”
Under the sheets, there’s no mattress topper, just the hard dorm room mattress. Amanda said her pillow is really flat, and it seems to be made of some kind of disposable plastic material.
“Bring your own pillow. They said they provided [that] stuff so I was like, ‘OK, I’m not going to bring a bunch of things then’—absolutely not,” Amanda said. “You have to sleep on their mattresses, so if you have a mattress topper and you’re not embarrassed on dragging that down the street, bring it, ‘cause it’s horrible.”
She recommends bringing blankets too. BU provided some thin fleece blankets, but she said the air conditioning makes the room really cold. She regrets not bringing warmer clothes.
“It is freezing in here at all times. I shiver to sleep. It is absolutely horrible,” Amanda said.
Amanda does get plenty of food delivered to her room by BU Dining Services, though she doesn’t have much say in what she gets.
“They had a lot of snacks. Most of the stuff was name-brand stuff,” Amanda said. “It was all more healthy alternatives, though. Like, they gave me bagged popcorn but it was Skinny Pop. They gave me potato chips but they were organic.”
Amanda’s room came with some non-perishable foods, plus two cases of water and a case of gatorade. Every few days, she gets a delivery of fresh food she can put in her minifridge—some dairy products, sandwiches, and salads. She also gets frozen meals she can heat up in her microwave.
“They gave me a lot of yogurt. They gave me some fruit. They gave me some fruit cups,” Amanda said. “They’re really obsessed with peaches, for some reason. Like, it’s peach yogurt, a bunch of little things of peaches—I don’t know why they’re obsessed with peaches.”
Quarantine can be isolating, but Amanda said that there’s a student activities director who’s made sure she and the other quarantined students don’t feel forgotten.
“He contacts you on the very first day, and his goal is just to make you feel happy and just not crazy,” Amanda said. “He set up this thing called Club I.Q., where all the isolation and quarantine kids, we do a Zoom Monday through Friday at four o’clock, so we can all talk to each other and have some social interaction. And if you don’t attend those—they’re completely optional—he does call every few days to check up on you and make sure everything’s OK.”
But Zoom meetings are no substitute for campus life.
“You really take for granted just how much you can actually walk around and just leave and have the tiniest bit of social interaction,” Amanda said. “So I would definitely recommend that people stick to what they’re doing so that way they don’t have to come in here, because this is definitely not as fun as I thought it was going to be, and it gets pretty old pretty fast.”