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Concerns Arise as Covid Cases Relocate to Populated Residence Halls

Covid-positive students were placed in isolation throughout Welch Hall the week of January 30, causing discomfort for Covid-free residents.

Although OWU policy was co-created with the Delaware Public Health District and follows guidelines from the CDC, students would prefer a different plan.

After a positive and reported test to the OWU Covid-19 Response Group, students receive the option to go home, isolate off campus, stay in their room if they live alone, or relocate to other spaces to quarantine.

Doug Koyle, Associate Dean and liaison to the Student Health Center, said “There is no enhanced risk to other students in the building isolated students are staying in because the infected students have their own bathrooms and have food being delivered to them”.

When asked about the use of empty residence halls, Koyle said, “Using other residence hall buildings would require significant coordination and costs”.

Alyssa Back, Welch Hall resident, said she understands the university’s perspective but feels the health of students on campus should be prioritized. “I understand the policy if Covid-students are staying in their rooms, but there is nothing making them do that.”

Back’s concern was sparked after seeing Covid-positive students in her hallway when the date of their positive test was unknown.

Sydney Good, Welch Hall resident, emphasized her concern. “I have an autoimmune disease and a heart condition and am at high risk for Covid. I would prefer if positive cases were not on my floor, so I do not have to walk past their rooms and be at a higher exposure”.

McKenna Tuttle, member of the OWU softball team, worries for her 10 teammates living in rooms near quarantined students. “If my teammates get sick it puts me at risk as well as my roommates on the women’s basketball team and one roommate on the field hockey team.” Tuttle believes the current policy is counteractive to the previous year’s policy.

OWU Student and fraternity room advisor, Ben Warden, declined the option of relocation to Welch after his contraction of the virus. He preferred to quarantine at home for convenience and to decrease exposure for healthy Welch residents.

Warden thinks the university should adapt the relocation option to an empty residence hall such as Bashford. Warden accounted for human error and mentioned how Covid-positive students may not always follow in-room protocol.

The students emphasized the prioritization of student health over cost and coordination difficulties and would prefer to use the unoccupied residences.

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