When all students, faculty and staff were required to get tested a few weeks after Salisbury University began classes, for most, it felt like a one-time inconvenience. However, for some students, it became more than that when they tested positive, despite being asymptomatic.
Senior Jeremy Moxey, a psychology major, was one student who was caught off guard when he tested positive but had no symptoms.
“Yeah [I was shocked,] I’m the only one that’s tested positive out of all my friends, [and] I’m the least likely that they thought would have [it,] and again, I went to campus one time before I tested positive [and] besides that nowhere else, so I just don’t really understand it,” Moxey said.
Since Moxey had no symptoms, his day-to-day life wasn’t affected by feeling sick but instead was affected by the boredom and a lack of routine that accompanies quarantine.
“I don’t have to get up to go anywhere now … [I’ve] been on the computer a lot, playing soccer outside, using the trees as goals since I can’t go anywhere. I mean that’s about it,” Moxey said.
It wasn’t apparent to Moxey at the time that his mental health was being affected by having to quarantine and not being able to go anywhere or see anyone. Toward the end of his quarantine, however, he realized that the ordeal had taken a toll on him.
“At first, I would’ve said no [that it wasn’t affecting me mentally,] but yesterday was the first day I got out to play soccer again, and I can definitely tell you yeah, it felt good to play soccer and actually be able to do things, so I think without me even knowing, yeah [it affected me,]” Moxey said.
Moxey is a commuter who lives at home with his parents and therefore quarantined there, and his family was also affected, evident when his mother tested positive. Unlike Moxey, she had symptoms, including a cough, fever and sore throat.
“My mom’s a nurse [and] she has been around it [COVID-19] kind of a lot, but she hadn’t tested positive for it until I guess I brought it back. My sister and dad are still fine, so I think the only one who has really been affected was my mom,” Moxey said.
While most of Moxey’s classes were already synchronous or asynchronous online, he did have one in-person class that he couldn’t attend due to his quarantine.
“I had one in-person class, which I emailed her [the professor,] and she said it was perfectly fine, and now I’m doing online for it, so it was all good,” Moxey said.
Despite the boredom and isolation, he struggled with, Moxey did feel as though the free time actually helped him improve his overall health habits.
“I’ve been running a lot more often now since I can’t go to the gym; I kind of have a dedicated run time in the morning. I’m [also] actually eating better now that I’m not going to Cook Out every other day. I think habit-wise, it has done me for the better, but I guess that wouldn’t be the same for everybody else,” Moxey said.
Throughout his quarantine, he wasn’t contacted by SU except to be told that he was positive and then cleared.
“I guess after the testing they [the administration] sent me that I was positive [and] that I couldn’t come to campus, and then besides that, the only other email I got was the one saying that I was cleared to come back. Everything else was dealt by the Dorchester County Health Department,” said Moxey.
However, students who live on campus and test positive have the option to quarantine in Dogwood Village, a housing unit on campus.
According to Dr. Dane Foust, vice president of Student Affairs, the number of students in Dogwood Village under quarantine is rather low. He stated that as of Sept. 25, only four students were actively quarantining there.
For students who are staying in Dogwood Village under quarantine, the university is more involved than it is with students who are quarantining at home, such as Moxey. According to Foust, the health center checks on the students three times a week in person, and there is daily virtual contact.
The university also makes sure to provide some snacks prepared for the students when they arrive and works to ensure that they are able to get outside everyday so that they don’t have to stay confined indoors.
While the university was considering partnering with a nearby hotel to potentially have more room to house COVID-19 positive patients, Foust stated that there currently is no need to do so, especially due to the falling positivity rates, which can be seen in the last round of testing. 174 tests were administered, and only two came back positive, which is a 1.1% positivity rate.
While no one wants to contract COVID-19, for students like Moxey, it is more of an inconvenience than anything. Students who do come in contact with the virus should be sure to properly quarantine and take active measure to take care for their mental health during the process.
By LAURA AMRHEIN
Featured Image: WBOC Delmarva News