The prospect of spending 10 days completely alone in a single small room is not necessarily an inviting one. It certainly wasn’t for Hope College sophomore Anna Janowak, who had to go into quarantine on Thursday, February 4.
“When I first found out that I had to quarantine, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is gonna be the worst thing on earth, I’m not gonna be able to do it,’” Janowak said.
Janowak is completing her 10 day quarantine at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center, which is located on Hope’s campus. This is one of the multiple options for those Hope students who are named as close contacts and for whom it is deemed necessary to quarantine.
Students who are able to drive home can choose to quarantine there. If a student lives in a cottage and their whole house has to quarantine, they also have the option of remaining there. However, if a student does not have the ability to go home or stay in current on-campus housing, or they simply do not want to select one of those options, they can move into the Haworth.
To Janowak’s surprise, quarantine at the hotel has been a lot better than she originally anticipated. For one thing, she has been able to use this time to get caught up on homework. She has also enjoyed doing a bit of reading.
Additionally, Janowak has found the food to be unexpectedly good. Students in quarantine have the option of being provided with three meals every day, free of charge. They simply fill out a Google Sheet each day indicating which meal option they would like, and it is delivered to a designated station in their hallway. Additionally, students can choose to order up to three extra snacks per day through the “Comfort Care” service.
The quality food is just one of the reasons that Janowak believes the college to be handling the quarantine process well.
“I actually think that they’re doing a really good job,” said Janowak. “I was kinda unsure about it, but I feel like the advocate person that we have, I’ve texted her a couple different times, and I think that that was really helpful that they did that. And I like all the emails that they send us. They’re giving us a lot of resources, so I think that they’re doing a really good job.”
The advocates that Janowak referred to are members of the Hope team that get assigned to each student in quarantine and isolation to help them through the process and make sure they are comfortable during that time.
With ample free time, delicious meals and support from the school, Janowak has not minded her stay at the Haworth for the most part. Nevertheless, it is lacking one important thing; the company of other people.
“The most challenging [thing] has been not seeing my friends,” Janowak said. “It was hard, especially on the weekend, because during the week I had stuff to do, but then I was on my phone and I’d see everybody’s stories and they were hanging out and having a good time. I was like, ‘Oof, like I wish I could be there.’”
For this reason, she has used some of her newfound free time to call or FaceTime with those friends she is away from. Additionally, Janowak has not only been able to stay connected with her friends virtually, but she even got an in-person surprise from some of them.
“I live in a cottage, so all of the cottage, they walked by and they were talking to me through the window,” Janowak said.
Still, this brief glimpse was not quite the same as truly being together. Janowak is very eager to be back with her friends, and to be able to hug her roommate.
In the meantime, though, Janowak said that she is happy to be doing her part to help keep the Hope community safe and healthy.
“There have been a couple times where I was like, ‘Okay, I wish I could go and hang out with my friends,’ but at the end of the day, it’s 10 days. I’m just gonna do my part,” Janowak said. “I’d much rather quarantine and try to stop the spread of COVID as much as I can than be sent home.”
Janowak’s experience with being in quarantine has reshaped her views on following COVID-19 precautions. She says that last semester she was less careful than she plans to be from this point forward.
“I feel like I was kind of not as mindful as I should have been when it came to hanging out with people and following protocols off campus,” Janowak said.
Despite her surprisingly positive experience with quarantining, she has no desire to repeat it. She says that she will do everything in her power to avoid having to spend 20 days of her semester in quarantine. She also encourages other students to consider the consequences of their actions before they do anything that could put their health or the health of others at risk.
“I feel like people really just need to consider what they would possibly be giving up if they did get COVID and have to quarantine or get listed as a close contact,” Janowak said.
If you would like to find out more about Hope’s quarantine and isolation policies, information is available on Hope’s website.