The COVID-19 worldwide pandemic continues to hit all parts of the United States. The state of Ohio has been hit hard the past few weeks, including some members of the Gilmour community.
As part of Gilmour’s plan to keep everyone on campus as safe as possible during this pandemic, many resident students were placed under quarantine during October after exposure to students in the dorm who tested positive. A quarantine is a measure required by the Ohio Department of Health and Safety.
Ethan Henry (‘21) said, “Mentally, it’s been really taxing and stressful to be quarantined, especially here in the dorms. I’ve had trouble sleeping. Almost every night I wonder why this had to happen.”
Thomas Delisle (‘21) said, “It got boring to be in the dorms for almost all of October. So it was really a challenge to enjoy the little things and hard to see the positive in that situation.”
According to Henry and Delisle, students need to do their best to prevent the need for quarantines. When resident students usually get to enjoy time in the Great Room or the game room, those in quarantine have to stay on their floor and mostly in their bedrooms. Quarantined students cannot go anywhere on or off campus. While this measure may ensure utmost safety for the larger school community, some resident students who were quarantined during October said that boredom and restlessness are definite downsides.
As time goes on, resident students under quarantine begin to feel disconnected from others. They are unable to move freely around and visit with friends. They also are not allowed to practice their sports or meet with their teachers in person. While Zoom and other virtual tools are available to supplement their educational needs, social needs become more prominent.
Nick Larrabee (’21) said, “Students actually need to see each other and interact. Quarantining can be extremely difficult for our mental and physical health.”
Head of School Ms. Kathy Kenny strongly encourages students to continue with mask-wearing, hand-sanitizing, and daily temperature checks. Ms. Kenny also stresses the need for increased social distancing. All students are encouraged to keep a “firewall” around them at all times. Ms. Kenny and Dean of Residence Life Mr. Ryan have looked at ways to increase time for socially distant physical exercise for the students in the residence hall, including supervised time to skate in the evening after the rink is closed.
Henry, Delisle, and Larrabee agree that if consistent social distancing can help to reduce if not eliminate the need for quarantines, so be it. Henry said, “Maybe we’re six to ten feet apart, but at least we can see each other and talk together.”