Students decide to return home for the rest of the semester as the second wave of COVID hits Grove City College.
According to the Vice President of Student Life and Learning, Larry Hardesty, no more students have traveled home due to quarantine now than compared to any other time in the semester. However, the difference this time is that for those who have traveled home, they are not coming back.
Sophomore Zach Allen was placed into quarantine on Oct. 31 after his friend tested positive for COVID. Allen is from Roswell, New Mexico and decided that staying in a hotel for two weeks while only three weeks of the semester remained was not worth it. “It’s a 24-hour car ride home and I just didn’t want to make that journey back to school for only a few days,” he said.
On the other hand, Allen’s friends, Katherine and Michaela Kolker, who are also in quarantine in Roswell, New Mexico, decided they will be returning to campus. According to Katherine, the only reason she quarantined at home is because her parents asked her to. “It’s my senior year and I want to spend as much time on campus as I can,” Katherine said explaining that she will be returning for the last week of classes.
Some students have expressed concern that those in quarantine are being forced to go home, however, this is not true. According to Hardesty, students have never been forced to return home. “Students have always had the option to stay on campus or return home,” he said, “many happen to opt for the latter option.”
Senior Reilly Diggins, however, felt she had no other option. “I went home because I didn’t want to spend 2 weeks in a hotel room by myself where my mental health would suffer,” she said. Since her home is in Pittsburgh, she will be taking the journey back to campus for the last week of school as well. “My friend is graduating this semester,” she said, “and I want to see her before she does.”
Not everyone, however, is choosing to go home. Junior Addison Bennet was placed into quarantine on Nov. 7 after a member of the men’s lacrosse team tested positive. As the rest of the team travelled home, Bennet and one of his friends decided to stay at the Holiday Inn. “I decided to stay in town,” he said, “because I bought tickets to an Eagles vs. Browns game and want to see that assuming I won’t test positive.”
All of these early departures make students wonder what may occur with moving out procedures over Christmas break. According to the Director of Residence Life, Jonathan DiBenedetto, moving out over Christmas break will proceed as normal. “If anyone moves out early, just check in with your RA as you usually would and take everything with you that you’ll need,” he said.
Getting so close to the end of the semester just to go home has been disappointing for a number of students. Allen states, “I’m definitely disappointed, but I’m grateful I got to spend as much time as I did on campus this semester.” Diggins also states, “I’m very frustrated about the situation, but I’m glad I can at least come back.”
According to Resident Director Tori Wright, the college staff has been working tirelessly to keep students on campus. “We are not shutting down the school and sending everyone home,” she said as McNulty’s email has indicated. “Please know that you are not alone in expectations being different and its okay to acknowledge that we as a campus have been walking in a difficult season. You are loved and we are in your corner.”