Grace Carter ‘23
With the return of students to campus after a virtual start to winter term, there’s been one question on our minds. Has the quarantine in the spring been more enjoyable than in the fall?
At the beginning of the fall term, students arrived on campus and quarantined in their rooms for about three days before virtual classes began. Meals were delivered to students by faculty and recess time was spent walking around or playing socially distanced games with roommates. While the school did its best to make sure everyone was safe, it was tough at times. Limited socialization and time outdoors were particularly difficult on students. To improve this for the spring term, the faculty and administration worked hard to improve the upcoming quarantine experience. These changes included students being escorted to pick up meals at the dining hall and the introduction of more eco-friendly containers.
Emily Parsons, Fowle Hall dorm dean, said, “Being able to go up to the dining hall and getting some fresh air on the way” was a great addition to the quarantine experience. For every meal, students gathered by circle group to head over to the dining hall which was a great opportunity for students to socialize and stretch their legs as they got meals. This way the food was warmer and students had more options and better control over their portion sizes.
Another focus was on the trash the faculty and student body were producing. Newly implemented, the Bento Boxes are plastic containers that hold the food picked up from the dining hall. They are then returned and cleaned to be reused at every meal. Coleman Weibley, assistant dean of students said, “In addition to being more environmentally friendly, the reusable bento boxes are more aesthetically pleasing.” The boxes are very different from the paper bags, tin containers, and lids of the fall. They are more convenient for students to transport and reduce the trash production from the dining hall.
One negative that students found during spring quarantine was the rush into classes. Charli McInturff ‘23 said, “I missed not having classes because the homework in quarantine made it stressful.” In the fall students had more of a break once they arrived to settle in and relax in quarantine. This term, instead of having a few days to adjust, classes began on Monday after students arrived on Saturday and Sunday. Most students felt like they needed more of a period of adjustment to life back on campus without classes and homework adding to the stress.
When asked what changes could be made to this new quarantine, most students and faculty responded with the simple answer, “None.” Harriet Brown ‘22 worded it perfectly: “I feel like this is as good as you can get while still being a safe quarantine.” With more outdoor time including recess each day and walking to the dining hall as well as a more environmentally-friendly dining hall, it seems that students and faculty prefer the new spring quarantine.