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What Goes on in Polis House?

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Polis House, the quarantine housing location for Wittenberg students, is seen on Aug. 23, 2020. Wittenberg is using the residence hall to house quarantined students until testing results return from the Clark County Combined Health District. (Trent Sprague/The Wittenberg Torch)
Polis House, the quarantine housing location for Wittenberg students, is seen on Aug. 23, 2020. Wittenberg is using the residence hall to house quarantined students until testing results return from the Clark County Combined Health District. (Trent Sprague/The Wittenberg Torch)

After managing to escape COVID-19 for the entire summer, I found myself here at Wittenberg. A friend of a friend of a friend tested positive, and I thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, that’s not how this disease works. 

Within a week of hearing about the distant friend’s positive result, there was a spike in cases on campus. My roommate and I shared our anxious thoughts and reassured each other that our likelihood of getting it was slim. Then, our close friend tested positive. That same day, I received a call from a contact tracer and an email instructing my roommate and me to meet outside of Polis House at 5:15 pm with our bags. 

At first, the move was admittedly a bit exciting. We were put in a double room together and had not yet tested positive ourselves, so we were ready for the small break in our daily lives. We saw this as our very own, on-campus corona-cation. If we were going to be sick anyway, why not attempt to make the best of it? We packed quickly, leaving our dorm room in its very occupied state. The next week was sure to pass by quickly. 

Just two days after beginning our quarantine, we received our positive results. It was no surprise, as we had already begun to show symptoms. The realization that we had the same disease that is currently causing a worldwide pandemic slowly set in after we broke the news to our families, and our outlook on the future worsened. We tried to focus on our classes and keep a positive mindset while new symptoms began to appear.

We quickly realized that life in Polis House is not very desirable. I love my roommate, but being shoved into a room for a week with one other person with whatever you were able to pack in two hours is not my definition of a fun time. My first official full day there, I failed to order my CDR meal two hours ahead of time, finding out the hard way that this means you don’t receive food until the next meal time. Luckily, I had brought snacks and kept myself satisfied until my pre-ordered dinner arrived downstairs. These always arrived in grocery bags with your name and room number attached, and contained one of three courses the CDR offered that day. Those who graciously volunteered to deliver them would also include a drink, fruit or desert of your choice.

For some reason, I was convinced that all the symptoms of COVID-19 wouldn’t apply to me. The most shocking one was the loss of smell and taste. This was helpful when I wasn’t interested in any of CDR’s choices of the day but it completely caught me off guard. Food tasted like water, and I became used to nothing having an aroma. Other major symptoms included extreme fatigue, inability to focus, a stuffy nose, chest pains and body aches. Sleep was a thing of the past, and the mere thought of writing an essay I’d usually be enthusiastic about brought yet another wave of anxiety. 

As the days begrudgingly went by, we became accustomed to living in Polis House. We missed our fish and worried about the health of our succulents. Our nights in Polis consisted of us observing campus through an open window, watching others interact and drive past. Occasionally, a friend would stop by and have a conversation through the window in a Rapunzel/Romeo and Juliet type fashion.

It was great to be back in our dorm. I really missed my Keurig. Although having COVID-19 is no fun, my quarantine allowed me to reflect. My experience in Polis reminded me of the strength in Wittenberg’s community, and how important it is that we’re in this together.

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