Students exposed to COVID-19 enter quarantine housing after Winter move-in


Illustration by Hank Yang

Students who have either been contact traced or tested positive for COVID-19 are put into Quarantine and Isolation Housing.

Hank Yang, Reporter

At Northwestern, both students who test positive and students contacted through contact tracing are placed in Quarantine and Isolation Housing to contain potential infections.

On-campus Q/I Housing is located at the Foster-Walker Complex. Students who test positive are placed in Foster-Walker East in isolation, while those who have been in close contact with COVID-positive students and test negative are quarantined in Foster-Walker West.

Five days after moving into NU, Medill freshman Liam Warin was contacted by Q/I Housing to notify him that his roommate tested positive. Within a few hours, Warin was transported to Foster-Walker West. During his ten days in quarantine, he said the isolation made maintaining his mental health difficult.

“You’re not seeing anyone. Sometimes on the weekends when you don’t have class you’re just not speaking out loud (for) long, long hours,” Warin said. “It’s definitely very frustrating, not being able to go outside and walk and get fresh air.”

Every day, students in quarantine receive a wellbeing call from Q/I Housing Coordinators to help ensure every need is provided for.

Cecilia Taylor has been working as a Q/I Housing Coordinator since the beginning of Fall Quarter. She said the calls help her connect with students and allow her to quickly respond to students’ needs and questions.

“Outside of informational conversations, I love to chat with students about their interests, hobbies and studies,” Taylor said. “Being able to have a fun conversation with students restores a sense of normalcy and always makes my day so much brighter.”

Counseling and Psychological Services also offers a Q/I Housing support space for students who can join a bi-weekly informal chat on Zoom with other students and CAPS professionals. In addition, students can check out exercise equipment during their stay.

“The number of students in Q/I Housing tends to correlate with the number of students living on campus. With the highest number of students now living on campus since Q/I Housing started last March, we currently have our highest population in Q/I Housing,” said Carlos Gonzalez, the executive director of residential services at NU.

Each student is provided with a personal bathroom, basic toiletries, towels and sheets. Students choose food from the Quarantine and Isolation menu and get it delivered to their doors twice a day.

Weinberg freshman George Graham, tested positive and stayed in isolation housing for ten days.

“Towards the end of my stay in isolation, I received a fun care package with a Bob Ross coloring book, some markers, some extra snacks and a Rubix cube, which gave me something to do,” Graham said.

Warin’s advice for students who are placed in contact tracing?

“Bring your own fitted sheets. Certainly bring your own snacks if you have any,” he said. “Bring a towel because the towels they give you are a little small… Bring a litany of clothes. I would honestly pack for 11 or 12 days.”

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Twitter: @hankyang22

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