Let’s state the obvious: being a student in any capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult.
There have been many unforeseen hurdles that we have faced this year. My school, Purdue University, has adapted well, albeit extremely, to the virus this semester. To keep students safe, class sizes were shrunk, strict social distancing and masking measures were put in place and student gatherings have been all but forbidden. I thought surely the University was prepared for any contingency, but when students like myself started testing positive, the University’s specialized ‘Protect Purdue’ task force lacked the answers we needed.
The first Protect Purdue representative I spoke with told me they had no idea what this meant for my academics; their only job was to take down my information and ask me about my symptoms. They couldn’t even tell me how long I needed to quarantine. When I found someone who could, I received conflicting information for how long the quarantine period was. My roommates, who tested negative, both contacted the University. One of them was told to quarantine. The other was told they didn’t need to do anything. The inconsistency of Purdue University staff was incredibly disappointing.
I admire the work my school has done, especially compared to others across the country, but I beg them to do more. We didn’t just need precautionary measures this semester: we needed a support system and guiding force for when things go wrong, and in my experience that is sorely lacking.
Update: I have been told by my peers that since my experiences at the beginning of the semester, University staff have improved. This is just my experience.
– Donelle Birch, junior in the College of Liberal Arts