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The Experiences of BU Students in Isolation

by Grace Hawkins

In order for BU students to return to campus this year with less of the restrictions that have dominated the last year and a half, a vaccine mandate has been put into place for all students and faculty. While this has helped drastically reduce the number of cases amongst BU’s community, some unlucky students were diagnosed with a breakthrough case of COVID-19, even if they were vaccinated.

BU has set aside various residential halls on campus to serve as isolation housing for students who test positive, and this is offered to both students who live on-campus and off.

Following a positive diagnosis and being sent into quarantine, students are provided with a list of what to bring, given bedding and towels, and are sent food every day.

With all of this information given to us by BU, what has the isolation experience been like for the students who have actually gone through it? For many, quarantine was less than pleasant.

Ryan Cosgrove (CAS ‘25) got a call one day saying she had tested positive and had to pack her things and enter isolation, which she was ultimately in for eight days.

“It was nice at first to be alone,” said Cosgrove, “but then it got depressing.”

For a first-year student like Cosgrove, going into isolation was a harsh adjustment after just becoming accustomed to college life in general.

“I was put into this new place and I almost immediately had to go away and be apart from everyone,” said Cosgrove, “It also didn’t help that it was in the middle of my midterms,”.

She said that being able to get an hour outside every day helped, alongside the understanding health worker that visited her each day, but other than that it was an unpleasant experience. For her, isolation was uncomfortable in many ways, including the odd food she was given and sleeping accommodations.

“The sheets and pillows were really uncomfortable,” said Cosgrove, “I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t sleep.”

Another student who experienced isolation was Cosette Benjamin (COM ‘25), who was in isolation for ten days. She noted having a shower with high water pressure after being in communal bathrooms was one of her highlights, alongside ordering food every Friday. But her experience was also largely unpleasant.

Benjamin, who tested positive earlier in the school year than Cosgrove, was not able to go outside at all during her isolation period. She had suggested adding that break as part of the program upon her departure, which could have influenced the addition to the isolation routine.

She emphasized how hard it was to keep up with schoolwork during quarantine, especially with the school policy that students are not allowed to Zoom into their classes, meaning they could miss days of material.

“They need to fix the rule of not being able to Zoom into classes,” said Benjamin, “I had to teach myself the material while dealing with Covid.”

Both Cosgrove and Benjamin’s experiences in quarantine indicate that there are possible changes that need to be made to isolation accommodations. For students that are diagnosed with Covid, they deserve the best possible conditions, as they are both dealing with the sickness and the loneliness that comes with being away from their classes, friends, and everyday lives.


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