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Priest: Mask up and stay safe

By Danny Priest
@dpriest3

Two weeks ago, I became one of some 28 million Americans who have contracted the Coronavirus.

Two of my roommates tested positive and two days later, I followed suit. Somehow, our fourth roommate remained negative the whole time.

I’ll start by saying this was a reminder that COVID is incredibly unpredictable. We all wore masks, washed our hands and we didn’t come into close contact with any confirmed positive COVID cases.

On top of that, we hadn’t really been anywhere since coming back to school. Our trips off-campus were to the grocery store. No bars, no dinners in a restaurant, no going home, but we still came down with it.

It’s weird, but I would use that as a reminder to just continue taking as many precautions as you can. We’re never truly going to be “safe” from COVID at this point.

I wanted to write this piece now to give some insight into the COVID process at Springfield College and talk a bit about how it functioned.

First and foremost, neither myself nor my roommates got very sick and for that I am grateful. The best way I can describe COVID is that it felt like having a cold.

I had a cough, I had congestion and I felt fatigued for a few days. 

I also lost my sense of taste and smell and let me tell you, that is not pleasant. As I write this, it is day number eight without those senses and I miss them dearly.

Eating is super weird. I know that there is something in my mouth, but there is absolutely no way I can identify what it is unless I saw it before I ate it.

I’ve found that eating foods where I already know the flavor helps a bit because I can imagine the sensation of the taste.

I am definitely hoping that those come back soon and if you’re reading this, appreciate those senses right now because you don’t want to lose them.

Aside from that, I haven’t noticed much else. My wind and breathing are definitely not at the level they were pre-COVID as I noticed in my first trip back to the gym, but that too I am hoping returns with time.

Overall, I was certainly lucky. Now, for a bit about the actual process of COVID at school. The experience as a whole was positive and I think Springfield College did a nice job of handling the quarantine situation.

I’ll get my one and only gripe out of the way first here. I think the speed at which the College moves confirmed positive cases out of their dorm is a bit slow.

For both myself and my roommate, it was roughly 4-hours between the time we knew we were positive and the time we actually moved out of the dorm and into an isolation space.

I think speeding that up is important. It’s especially nerve-wracking to have a sick person linger in the room for that long if another roommate is still negative.

Aside from that, everything else ran smooth. I was set up in a house over on Middlesex St. and it was quite comfortable.

My meals got dropped off every day from the people over at Cheney, who I would like to express my gratitude towards.

I couldn’t taste the food, but there is plenty to eat for a 24-hour span until your next food box gets dropped off. 

Classes were about the same for me, and professors are accommodating knowing that you are in isolation, which is always nice.

I also had a few people from the school call or text me every day to check-in and make sure I was doing OK. That is a small thing, but it makes a difference and I think it is nice that the school does that for those of us who have to isolate.

Other than that, it’s a lot of time to kill on your own. I FaceTimed with family, watched the Celtics struggle to a 2-4 record during my quarantine period, and played a lot of video games with friends.

The school also provides you with coloring books as a form of entertainment for your stay. While I found this a bit gimmicky at first, it turned into an intense coloring competition with my roommate that provided us some great entertainment.

Also, if you’re curious, I won the series and he will be doing a punishment, not me.

All things considered, I think the way Springfield College handles isolation and COVID is solid. The process is smart, practical and there are minor changes I can see that would improve it.

While I would never want to experience this again, I appreciate the efforts of everyone to help make those 10-days go by as fast as possible. Mask up and stay safe.

Photo: Jack Margaros

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