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‘Isolation rooms’ set aside for COVID-19-positive students at NDSU, MSUM

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Local colleges say despite the Coronavirus pandemic, most students living on campus have opted to live with a roommate this school year.

Both MSUM and NDSU say although every precaution is being put in place to keep students and staff safe and healthy this year, they also know it’s inevitable that some will still contract or be exposed to the virus. If those students live on campus, NDSU says they have an entire building, North Weible Hall, dedicated to isolating those students with a total of 84 rooms. They say they also have two floors in other buildings that are empty which can house 85 more students if needed.

“If after 10 days of having a positive test, and you’ve had 24 hours without a fever, then you’re considered non-contagious and then they can go back to their existing room,” Rian Nostrum, NDSU’s Residence Life Director said. Nostrum adds the roommate of the student who tested positive is able to do their 14-day quarantine in their original dorm room.

Meanwhile, MSUM says they have two designated floors in Nelson Hall. 40 of the rooms will be for COVID-19 exposed students, while the other 40 rooms will be for those who tested positive.

NDSU says the isolation hall has a stove, oven, microwave, as well as fridge and freezer where students are able to make their own meals, as dining services will replenish the pantry daily.

“They can take what they would like, and make food as they need it because that’s what they’ve been doing in the dining center all along. They don’t just eat at eight o’clock and noon, they eat all the time,” Nostrum said.

MSUM says their isolation students will be able to order from the dining services website what they’d like to eat that day.

“And then twice a day our staff will deliver food to students so they’ll still have hot meal options, and their dinner will include a continental breakfast for the next morning.” MSUM’s Housing and Residence Life Director Heather Phillips said.

Both schools say each COVID-positive student will be housed individually in separate rooms, and say the general public will not have access to the isolation units. They also say the isolation units are only for students who are living on campus in the dorms.

Nostrum and Phillips say on top of speaking with public health officials, housing and university staff will also virtually talk with the students each day for both physical and mental health check-ins.

“When they’re in isolation we don’t want them to feel isolated,” Nostrum said.

“We also want to make sure we have that face-to-face contact to make sure they’re doing okay and we continuously provide support to them,” Phillips said.

Copyright 2020 KVLY. All rights reserved.

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