Students in quarantine express concerns over housing, access to food

When students are suspected of having or test positive for COVID-19, they are required to quarantine. Several students have expressed concern over access to food and mixed messages from MU.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 have trouble quarantining whether it's on or off campus. Many students have taken to Twitter and TikTok to expose the conditions they’re living in. Some have reported lack of food and dirty rooms, while others report living in expensive hotels.

Residential Adviser Brandy Williams was never knowingly exposed to a person with COVID-19, yet she still contracted the virus. The 48 hours following her positive result were filled with unanswered questions.

When Williams first got to the hotel room, everything seemed alright until she found that she had a mini fridge but no microwave. When she called the hotel to request one, they told her she would have to pay $20 per week. Williams knew it wasn’t fair for her to have to pay for it out of pocket, so she contacted Residential Life who told her they wouldn’t cover the cost.

After several phone calls, Residential Life agreed to supply a microwave.

“We were getting hot meals but by the time they got to us they were cold and we couldn’t reheat them,” Williams said.

Once she received a microwave, Williams had to solve the next problem: meals.

The number she was provided to contact for meal ordering was incorrect, she said. She was redirected to MU Catering. She said the quality of the food “was not the best.”

Williams expressed her frustration: “I know that whoever made this wouldn’t eat this so for them to send it over here [is unacceptable],” Williams said.

Those in quarantine housing through the university receive one hot meal per day and the same breakfast every day, Williams said.

In terms of housing arrangements, Williams got lucky. She said her bathroom is probably the size of her dorm room. When she calculated the cost of her hotel room, the total was over $2000 for her whole two week stay.

There isn’t a consistent standard for students who quarantine through the university. Some students, like Williams, were placed in clean hotel rooms while others found dirty sheets and broken glass.

“I want there to be uniformity in all of the quarantine housing,” Williams said.

Being an RA, she thought her experience in quarantine housing would be beneficial.

“I see it as a positive to see this experience from the other side so I can help out my residents if they do end up having to come here,” she said.

For students living off-campus, quarantining isn’t necessarily easier.

Senior Ellie Snoke came into contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. She was notified of this by a contact tracer. Though that call was supposed to count as a referral to get tested, she was turned away when she arrived at the site.

After she went through MU Health to get a referral, she was able to get tested. The test came back negative.

Prior to getting tested and while awaiting the results, Snoke self-isolated in her off-campus apartment. Since she lived off-campus, she didn’t order food through the university like students in campus housing did. She said various friends went grocery shopping for her and left food outside her door.

Students both on and off campus are having to figure out quarantine arrangements with minimal and confusing support from MU. Both Snoke and Williams expressed disappointment that MU wasn’t better prepared to accommodate students’ needs during quarantine.

Overall, Williams said she isn’t upset with the entire experience, but she has higher hopes for the university.

“I’ve been here for four years. I hold multiple positions here at Mizzou,” Williams said. “I know what we’re capable of and I know we're capable of doing better. I just want them to do better.”

Edited by Joy Mazur | jmazur@themaneater.com

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