Testing positive: An imperfect return to dorm life

Kasey Moulton, Podcast Editor

Since the start of the 2021-2022 school year, Whitman’s COVID-19 protocols have made it clear that “on-campus housing is available to students regardless of whether their regular residence is on-campus or off-campus.” During mid-April, more isolation spaces were occupied than at any other point in the school year.

This week, the Whitman Wire Podcast interviewed students who made the decision to isolate on-campus instead of in their regular residences. One of those students is Aidan Schutter, a junior BBMB major who spent 11 days in Marcus House following a positive COVID-19 test. 

Schutter was part of a larger group of athletes who tested positive around the same time, and he chose to isolate in Marcus instead of off-campus to best protect his housemates. 

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

The Wire: How long did it take between your positive test and for them to move you in?

Aidan Schutter: It took about an hour and a half because I tested positive on a weekend. It was through athletic testing rather than the health center. We had to go through security rather than the health center because the health center’s closed on the weekends.

The Wire: You get your positive test back [and] you’re talking to security. What did they tell you to expect? What did the logistics look like?

AS: I was lucky enough that most of my logistics went through Nathan [Fry] who’s serving as our main athletic trainer right now. He asked me, “Do you want to stay? Do you want to move?” I was like, if you guys can, move me. 

He called security for me and basically told me, bring bedding, bring some clothes. I only brought one big bag, I didn’t overpack and just walked over there.

The Wire: The college has that space put together for people who need it. Do you think that it’s an environment that is allowing people to get better? How do you think they’re doing at creating a space that helps people no longer be sick?

AS: I think with the uptake in cases, it was a little difficult communicating since there’s not someone in the house. There’s not any sort of supervision. Having the Health Center not be open on the weekends, especially like it was my freshman year, definitely stressed us out.

I helped someone get to the ER, and I think that part… could have been dealt with better. There could have been a little bit more support. I got there and I got a call and they were like, okay, we’re going to test you on the seventh day and hung up. And that was about it.

I get it, they were swamped with COVID-19 on campus but helping students get better, like physically, probably could have been improved.

The Wire: Is there anything else about your time at Marcus that you think is particularly notable? 

AS: Acknowledg[ing] the fact that I think my experience might’ve been slightly different, since I did know a fair amount of people in the house and on both tennis teams. [It] definitely was nice to go in with established friends, and I got to meet a few people too, once we all kind of started feeling better. 

I think it was a little stressful at the beginning, just having a fever and being sick and moving back on to campus for a week and a half. At the end of the day, it wasn’t a horrible experience.

This is only part of Schutter’s interview with The Wire. To hear the rest, and more from another student who made the decision to return to campus, listen to this week’s episode of the Whitman Wire Podcast, releasing at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 6. Full episodes of the podcast can be found here.