Gettysburg College Students, Ending Their Arrival Quarantines, Are Optimistic for a Safe Spring Semester

As Gettysburg College begins the second week of its 2021 spring semester, students who have received two negative COVID-19 tests have been allowed to break their “arrival quarantine” with permission to leave campus.

Students, who will be tested twice-weekly throughout the semester, will wear color-coded wristbands to mark their testing status.

“Last week was pretty brutal.  We were in our room and could not see or do anything for the whole week,” said second-year student and Gettysburg Connection intern Katie Graham. “We’re still not allowed to have anyone else in our room.”

“I think the general consensus is that students should stay on campus as much as possible, but we do know that they have to go to the grocery store, CVS, or Target, those kind of places as needed,” said Associate Director of Employer Relations Jamie Guilford.

Students said the dining halls will remain closed for the near future, and meals are still being picked up and eaten in their dorm rooms.

Meanwhile first-year students are spending the semester at home. “I went home early in the fall, said Gettysburg Connection intern Maya Bisram. Bisram said she was making friends online, but “it’s a little bit harder because you don’t know what to talk about.”

First-year intern Chas Phillips said he had not yet studied on campus, having stayed home during the fall semester for safety reasons. “It’s not too difficult.  Just a lot of hours.  But it’s hard to not come to campus.”   

Graham said all students had single rooms and all large gatherings have been suspended. “I don’t think we’ll be sent home as soon [as students were last semester], but I definitely see it as a possibility. We’ll wear our face masks of course, but people aren’t walking six feet apart.” [Campus rules require students to wear face masks in almost all situations when they are outside of their rooms]

Graham said there was more enforcement of campus rules this semester. “Right now they’re patrolling a lot more than they were last semester. I hear the security guards walking by at night.  I think people have been a lot more careful. Last year people didn’t care and weren’t listening.  It’s a lot safer now. It’s been really good.  We haven’t yet received any ‘more cases’ emails.”

According to its opening status dashboard, since January 25 the campus has reported 9 positive COVID-19 results in students, out of a total of 2,738 tests.  The campus also reported 27 violations of campus policies during that time.  Of these, 6 students have been removed from campus and returned to remote study.

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Maya is a Gettysburg College freshman who has not yet declared a major. She is a graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens NY where she edited the school magazine, The Mercury. Maya is a member of the Arista honor society and the Red Cross, and has held jobs working with emotionally-disturbed children and adults and with service horses.

Peter is a Junior at Gettysburg College and is currently the Gettysburg Connection media editor. He is a Cinema and Media studies major with a minor in Theater Arts. He has recorded, edited, and produced short films on winter sports and skateboarding. He is also currently writing and producing a film analysis podcast with the department chair of Cinema and Media studies at Gettysburg College, where they discuss themes, directing styles, and cinematography of films and TV shows. He has worked as a teaching assistant for Cinema and Media Studies classes and has shot, recorded, and edited film and footage of sporting and student club events. Peter is also an active community volunteer.

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Katie is a Junior at Gettysburg College majoring in sociology. She has worked as a tennis coordinator, camp counselor, and elementary school intern. Katie has participated in the Gettysburg College Model UN Club and the Emergency Medical Service Club. She has also assisted the college public relations vice president and is chairwoman of the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. Katie has also played on the college field hockey team.

Chas helped launch and then served as vice president of his high school's first-ever mock trial club and also worked on the school newspaper and debate club. Chas has volunteered as referee in children’s sports and served as an assistant high school basketball coach. He founded the sports journalism website Unbiased Basketball. He has had many stories published in local news websites. Chas is interested in a variety of subjects including American History, Constitutional Law, and Sports Studies.

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Ruffner is the Connection's Community Editor, reaching out to sponsors and subscribers across Adams County. She is a sophomore at Gettysburg College majoring in English and Japanese and hopes to study in Japan.

Ruffner has been on the college deans' list and is part of the Garthway Leadership Program at the College. She excels in leadership and interacting with the public.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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