Courtesy of Wall Street Journal
By Claire Prudhomme
All students living on campus at the Catholic University of America are required to quarantine until September 6 to maintain campus security from outbreaks of the virus. Students are under strict rules and guidelines created by the school to benefit the health of the student population.
The freshmen at Catholic University will have been under quarantine for two weeks this coming Sunday. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser required anyone arriving from the list of states with a high risk of COVID-19 to be quarantined for two weeks upon arrival.
Quarantine entails that students may be on various parts of campus, but cannot leave the boundaries of campus. Students must stay within the perimeter of campus but are permitted to leave their buildings and access all other outdoor areas on campus. They have access to the mailroom, outdoor seating areas, and, due to a lack of traditional dining and seating, food tents have been provided for students.
As food was not accessible in the Pryzbyla Center, the food tents ensured that students would neither congregate in large groups nor gather in buildings that are not their own. Residence Life came up with an alternative to have tents placed in various spots around campus with accessibility to different buildings so students could obtain their food safely. Students are also allowed to order food from UberEats and other food delivery services.
Quarantine does restrict the freshmen on campus from leaving to go to Starbucks, the Barnes and Noble bookstore, restaurants on Monroe Street, or any other off-campus location. New rules have also been put in place regarding masks being worn around campus, accessibility inside of buildings, and socialization taking place outside of the buildings.
A face-covering policy was instilled on August 20 stating that students, faculty, and all other members of the CUA community are required to wear masks while inside buildings on campus or walking outside around campus. The only time a member of the CUA community is allowed to remove his or her mask in a personal space.
A small number of students have failed to comply with procedures put in place, and Residence Life staff and other staff members have been put in an uncomfortable position of documenting students not abiding by the rules given.
Community Director Jenna Radkins has been heading many of the efforts in Residence Life this year and has been directly involved in the quarantine of the freshmen. She believes that students have been adjusting well to the policies and their new environment.
“For the most part, students are doing incredibly well wearing face coverings. It is really clear that they care and they understand the importance of taking preventative measures during this pandemic,” said Radskins. “It was absolutely a culture shift for some people and we in Residence Life have done our best to be sensitive to that.”
Justina Benvenuto, a freshman living on campus this year, shared that all people on campus are looking forward to the quarantine being lifted, but she is concerned that people may not take this change seriously.
“I would like to think that everyone will still abide by the mask and social distancing rules,” Benvenuto said. “We still have had the opportunity to meet and socialize with people… I just think that people might just think they are free to do whatever they want once quarantine is over.”
The quarantine will be lifted this Sunday and students will be allowed to explore various parts of D.C. with strict guidelines still in place. The restrictions of which the first-year students are currently under will be lessened, but many rules such as wearing masks at all times, social distancing, and washing hands will remain the same.