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.