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The Antelope

The Antelope

UNK fights COVID-19 with ‘peaceful’ accommodations

UNK Louie Loper

Jadyn Horner returned to campus two weeks ago with allergies, but then, she struggled to breathe at Nebraskat swing choir rehearsal. As her symptoms intensified, the Campus Clear app and a coronavirus test revealed the truth.

It was time to take action.

“I got tested on Tuesday and got my results on Wednesday, so I called Student Health on Wednesday, and just told them that I had tested positive,” Horner said. “And they went through this whole procedure with me, asked me when my symptoms had started and told me that my quarantine was 10 days.”

While collaborating with UNK Student Health, the Public Health Center gave the instructions for self-isolation.

“It depends on what the scenario is, but we send them a temperature symptom log and ask them to monitor their symptoms twice a day, and then assign them the appropriate response,” said Sue Pedersen, the assistant director of Student Health. “And then (the Public Health Center) will monitor their symptoms as we check in with them to see how they’re doing, and then clear them when their quarantine or isolation period is over.”

Horner self-isolated in her house off-campus, but that wasn’t the case with the exposed swing choir members living on campus.

Phoebe Dunbar, a wildlife biology sophomore, quarantined elsewhere.

“My RA and a woman from Residence Life came to my door and told me I needed to quarantine, and they brought a big cart that we moved out to a different room,” Dunbar said. “Since my roommate wasn’t here yet, they moved me into Mantor with another girl, whose roommate also wasn’t there yet.”

Dunbar said the exposed Nebraskats received emails with guidelines for a 14-day quarantine period ending Aug. 30. The quarantine guidelines asked students to stay in their rooms, unless seeking medical help or picking up food from UNK Dining Services.

If students are transferred to a self-isolation room, their meal preferences are recorded in a survey, so meals can be delivered directly to them.

This is one of many ways UNK Residence Life is trying to make students as comfortable as possible during the pandemic.

“We tried to gear up as much as we can,” said George Holman, the associate dean of Student Affairs. “We have toiletries on hand, we have snacks, we have water and we have Gatorade. And then we’re also trying to check in on each student over the phone, every day, so that they’re not just alone and isolated.”

Along with mental health resources, UNK Residence Life will be providing linens and laundry and trash pick-up services for students in isolation. Self-isolating students will have personal bathrooms, while quarantining students will disinfect frequently after using community bathrooms.

George Holman said Residence Life is keeping the location of the rooms secure, so students do not try to interact with the people in quarantine or isolation.

Alongside Residence Life officials, professors are also accommodating students who are unable to attend in-person classes.

“I emailed my professors saying, ‘Hey, I won’t be in class the first day,” Horner said. “And they were like, ‘Okay, I hope you feel better soon. Let me know if you need anything. If you have any questions, let me know.’

After her self-isolation period ended, Horner submitted her temperature logs and a campus clearance form signed by her doctor.

She was welcomed back to UNK last Wednesday.

“The important thing is to let students know we’re not trying to throw them in a room and forget,” said Holman. “We’re trying to take care of them.”

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