The day on-campus students had been waiting for since moving in finally arrived — their two-week quarantine is over.
Since moving in mid-January, all students living in residence halls were required to participate in a two-week mandatory quarantine, The Phoenix reported.
First-year marketing major Alex Sullivan, 18, said the simple pleasure of walking along the lakefront is what he missed most in his 336 hours of quarantine.
“My time in quarantine allowed me to reflect on the responsibility we all hold — to keep our Loyola community safe,” Sullivan said.
Students’ two-week quarantine ended between Jan. 27 and Jan. 31 — depending on when they moved in — and they’re now free to explore campus, eat in the dining halls, go to the Information Commons (IC), make appointments at Halas Recreation Center and have one person in their dorm room from the same hall wearing masks and socially distanced. Though students are now able to leave their rooms, there are still COVID-19 rules and restrictions they must follow.
After quarantine, people are permitted to use the common spaces while wearing masks and remaining distanced. If students are caught breaking the rules, residence hall common space privileges may be revoked, according to Residence Life Director Deb Schmidt-Rogers.
First-year Madi Palmquist, a 19-year-old environmental science major, said she was really looking forward to going out with her friends and exploring campus at the end of her quarantine.
“My first day out of quarantine I couldn’t wait to go study in the IC because I’d heard people say that it’s such a gorgeous spot to study,” Palmquist said. “I also couldn’t wait to get food from Damen.”
Students are prohibited from mingling in residence halls other than their own, but students from all dorms are still able to meet-up in public buildings such as the Damen Student Center. Non-Loyola students and parents are also not allowed to be in the dorms.
Teresa Herring, 18, a first-year forensic science major, said she’s been filling her post-quarantine days doing lots of school, spending as much time as possible with friends and going on runs around campus.
“For the most part I agree with the rules that Loyola has put in place for COVID-19,” Herring said. “I find it a little ridiculous that we can’t see people from other buildings and I wish there were more seatings in the dining halls but I understand why there aren’t.”
If a student living in a residence hall with a private bathroom tests positive for COVID-19, they must complete a two-week quarantine in their room with meals delivered by the university. If they share a bathroom with another person, the student who tested positive will be moved to another hall to complete their quarantine, according to Schmidt-Rogers.
“We will be looking at all data from the Wellness Center, the City of Chicago and the State of IL as we make decisions about loosening the guest policy,” Schmidt-Rogers said in an email to the Phoenix.
Students who are exposed to COVID-19 should call Dial-a-Nurse at (773) 508-8883, Loyola spokesperson Anna Shymanski Zach said in an email to The Phoenix. The Wellness Center will assist in setting up a diagnostic COVID-19 test, different from the spit surveillance testing system Loyola has been administering through SHIELD Illinois.
After the student has gone through the Wellness Center, they’ll quarantine in their dorm rooms until their results come back. Students are still asked to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days, even if they are off quarantine or if they tested negative, according to Shymanski Zach.
Schmidt-Rogers said even after the two-week move-in quarantine is complete, students who are living in residence halls or attending classes on-campus are still required to get tested through the university twice per week.
It isn’t yet clear if and when Loyola might be able to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to students. Loyola is currently not a distribution site for the vaccine, according to Shymanski Zach.
“The COVID-19 vaccines on the market are new, and we aren’t yet certain how their distribution will impact our campus operations or procedures around quarantine and isolation,” Shymanski Zach said. “We encourage all students, faculty, and staff that are offered the vaccine to receive it.”