As of Oct. 10, Pitt-Greensburg has had two positive cases of COVID-19. Throughout the course of contact tracing, some students on campus were put into quarantine.
According to the University’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office, students are placed in quarantine if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Off-campus students quarantine in their place of residence, and residents are permitted to quarantine in their dorm or at their permanent residence.
Two residents from Westmoreland Hall that quarantined during this time had similar experiences.
Finn Caskey, a sophomore communications major, said the notice that they were put into quarantine felt like it came out of nowhere.
“The news came suddenly, and I found out through my roommates well before I was contacted by the University,” Caskey said.
Esther Camick, a sophomore anthropology and history dual major, said they were frustrated with the minimal updates they were given on their quarantine status as well.
“We had to go out of our way to call other students and staff to find out if they had any new information,” Camick said.
The students weren’t originally allowed out of quarantine until the original source’s test came back negative. However, Caskey was tested earlier that day, so his circumstances were different.
“[We were released] thanks to my random test result coming back negative and pestering the university for answers,” Caskey said.
Students like Caskey and Camick raised questions about how the university enacts their quarantine policy, as they both said they needed to call the Health Center multiple times to get clear answers on their quarantine status. They both also said they struggled to get definitive answers to their questions.
“We all were informing each other of what was going on, rather than the official people,” Camick said. “So that was really annoying that we kind of felt like we were being kept in the dark.”
Caskey and his roommates were third-generation contacts. He said he was told that if the second-generation contact above him tested negative for COVID-19, they could get out of quarantine.
He believes if he didn’t continue to follow up with University officials like Nurse Pam Frager, director of the Health Center, he may not have gotten out when he did.
However, Nurse Frager has a lot on her hands as well.
“It is very stressful and frustrating at times. I am used to rolling with the punches,” Nurse Frager said. “Do I sleep as well at night? No.”
Nurse Frager is the first person that learns of students or faculty with symptoms. She then has to trace everyone they’ve been in contact with.
She does this mostly on her own.
“We were told we needed a contact-tracing team. I studied under a John Hopkins contact-tracing course. Then I just put something together,” Frager said.
Nurse Frager is following procedures and protocols given to her from Oakland.
“It is a waiting game. Isolation is ten days, because that’s how long they say it takes to not be contagious anymore. Quarantine is fourteen days, so students feel like they are being punished. However, the CDC says it takes one to fourteen days to develop symptoms,” Frager said.
Caskey and Camick said they feel there is room for improvement in the policy’s implementation, and consistency may help students like them understand the quarantine procedures better.
“The university doesn’t seem to know their own policy on dealing with an outbreak and, not only that, but there was so much backpedaling on deciding when we’d get out,” Caskey said.