The university will allow student residents to quarantine on campus if they meet specific circumstances, according to university administration.
“Each situation is unique but UNT will allow for the possibility of students to isolate or quarantine in their residence hall room when the circumstances allow,” said Elizabeth With, vice president for Student Affairs, who oversees the Student Health and Wellness Center department.
Students are required to isolate for at least 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19, regardless of where they are isolating. Those who have been exposed to a person who tested positive must quarantine for at least 14 days.
With provided some examples of approved on-campus quarantine situations. These include a student with a private room and bathroom or someone who has come in contact with their asymptomatic roommate. If a student is approved to quarantine on campus and has a meal plan, they will be able to pick up meals from a designated campus location.
If an on-campus resident tests positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone who tests positive, the university’s contact tracing team will reach out to the student and guide them through the appropriate procedure. A close contact is defined as a person who has been within six feet of a COVID-19 patient for at least 15 minutes, starting two days before the patient developed symptoms.
If a student does not meet the right requirements set by the university to quarantine on campus, the school will not provide the student a quarantine location or cover any related expenses.
“We are very happy to be able to offer our students the full campus experience that so many missed this past year,” With said. “To do that, we can’t provide isolation [or] quarantine space for students living on campus.”
Students who lived on campus last year were given the option to quarantine in McConnell Hall, home to the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science. While TAMS did not offer an in-person experience last year, the early college program has resumed normal operations this semester, housing its own residents in the building.
Students living on campus were previously instructed by the university to develop a plan of action if they need to quarantine due to a positive COVID-19 test or exposure to the virus, With said. An official announcement from President Neal Smatresk with this message was sent out to students on Aug. 13.
“This plan should include a location to complete the self-isolation [or] quarantine period, access to groceries [or] meal delivery, access to necessary medications, numbers of emergency contacts and contact information for their preferred healthcare provider,” With said.
Some students feel prepared to quarantine this semester without help from the university.
“I plan on going home and I have a car here to drive myself,” event design freshman Kaycee Griffith said. “I understand why we can’t quarantine in the dorm, but I think most people will have a place to go.”
Other students expressed that they were unsure of what to do and are ultimately hoping for the best.
“I don’t really have a plan but hopefully I will be safe and not expose myself to COVID,” geography freshman Ariana Lopez said. “I do not plan on going to a hotel [because] it’s too expensive. Worst case scenario, my parents will have to come pick me up.”
Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas