GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — In addition to daily COVID-19 symptom screening and testing every three weeks, Georgetown College set aside a dorm for students who tested positive or may have been exposed to the virus.
The college is finishing its third week of school on Friday. In those three weeks, about 85 students were asked to quarantine, many choosing to spend their two weeks in the “quarantine dorm.”
"We wanted to make sure that there was at least a possibility because it's just not possible for every student to go home,” Georgetown College Vice President of Enrollment Management Dr. Jonathan Sands Wise said. “There may be someone at home who's greatly a risk ... or maybe they're from abroad. They can't go home. So we needed to have a place on campus where students could be cared for, quarantined appropriately and continue to do classes online."
He added that the old, offline dorm made seemed like the perfect option for a quarantine area.
“It's an older dorm that doesn't have central air conditioning, so it's been offline for a while,” Wise said. “We were able to air-condition individual rooms within that dorm. So that gave us some rooms that we could use when we needed them to isolate and quarantine students there, and they can't possibly be around other students so it really gives them a space where they can be separated out."
Inside the dorm, students are asked to stay in their rooms as much as possible. For those who tested positive, their rooms are in a locked hallway. Those who may have been exposed are allowed to go to a small outdoor area as long as they stay six feet apart. They are also allowed in the hallway to use the restroom and collect food from the front lobby.
"Obviously like the living like circumstances aren't what everybody wants them to be, but it's not like it's not livable and it's not like harmful to our health,” freshman Alyssa Adams said on her 13th day of quarantine. “But they're trying their best to make sure that everybody is mentally OK and they have everything they need."
Adams said she contracted the virus from a friend who had recently been to an “unmasked party” who briefly visited her room for about 10 minutes.
“She just came in and was talking to me like she always does,” Adams said. “She wasn't right in my face, but I mean, she was in there. She was close to me.”
Adams said she has not been tested for COVID since she entered the 'quarantine dorm' and was told she would not need to test negative before she leaves Thursday night.
Wise said three weeks into the start of school, students are better-versed on the coronavirus rules of the campus.
"(We are) really seeing that quarantine number flatten out,” he said. “And that's great for our campus and for our chances of being together for the entire semester."