TCU has designated isolation rooms in several residence halls set aside for students who test positive for COVID-19 but are unable to be in their own room.
This month’s spike in COVID-19 cases put a strain on this segment of TCU’s COVID-19 strategy as the availability of isolation rooms fell to between 65% to 30% within a matter of days. The university says isolation is the separation of an individual who is positive for COVID-19 from others who are not sick. Students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms. Last month, TCU reported just over 600 cases, most in the last week of August.
“The isolation rooms are designed for students who don’t have their own bedroom and bathroom in their own room,” said Sarah Kwidzinski, a junior accounting and finance double major and a resident assistant on the third floor of King Hall. “Our job hasn’t changed much, we still focus on making sure students are happy and comfortable in their dorms.”
According to the TCU housing website, the university provides students in isolation rooms with clean sheets and blankets for the bed. During the isolation period, the university provides two meals a day, laundry service, trash pick-up and an on-call system in case students need anything. Students bring their own towels, pillows and enough belongings for about 10 days.
Craig Allen, director of Housing & Residence Life, said a housing employee updates the list of isolation rooms daily and sends it to TCU dining, which prepares the meals. This includes addressing special dietary needs such as vegan and vegetarian options.
“On a typical day we deliver between 180-210 meals twice a day,” said Allen. “We have our coordinator who schedules our meal delivery crew made up of students and professional staff in order to get the meals delivered on time.”
“TCU” actually stands for Texas Covid University
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Allen said after the 10 days of isolation, the health center staff evaluates students to determine if they should continue to isolate.
“It’s impossible for us to ‘watch’ all of the students in isolation, so we are trusting that they will follow our guidelines and do the right thing,” said Allen. “If we hear of a student not following our guidelines, we speak to them.”
With students moving in and out of isolation rooms daily, Allen said, “it is an extraordinary effort from everyone to make this work.”
With COVID-19 case numbers dropping at TCU, availability of isolation rooms is now back above 65%.