Number of students in quarantine hall cannot be provided, WSU official says

McEachern designated as isolation, quarantine zone for students; department conducts daily check-ins

McEachern+Hall+is+used+for+quarantining+students+with+COVID-19.+It+is+unknown+how+many+students+are+currently+housed+in+the+hall.+

OLIVER MCKENNA | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

McEachern Hall is used for quarantining students with COVID-19. It is unknown how many students are currently housed in the hall.

LOREN NEGRON, Evergreen reporter

Students living on campus who test positive for COVID-19 will quarantine at McEachern Hall, but the total number of students living in the hall is unknown.

The number of students currently quarantined in McEachern, and the total number of students who have quarantined in the hall so far, cannot be provided because of student privacy reasons, said Jill Creighton, WSU dean of students and associate vice president of student affairs.

Meg Autrey, associate director of WSU Housing, gave a similar response in an email.

Thirteen outbreaks have been reported as of Oct. 12. Thirty-four cases were linked to WSU dorms, according to a press release that day from the Whitman County Emergency Operations Center.

WSU’s Environmental Health and Safety conducts daily outreach to students in McEachern via text messages and do not meet in person, Creighton said. EHS works with the county’s public health department on contact tracing, as well as other isolation and quarantine activities.

“Nobody really wants to go into isolation or quarantine,” Creighton said. “It’s not exactly the most fun thing folks will do this year, but we want to make it as homey and resourced as possible.”

Students at McEachern have access to food and laundry services within the facility, she said. There is a module on the GET app, specifically designed for students quarantining at McEachern.

Creighton said the residence education director at McEachern assists students during their stay. Students also have Wi-Fi and access to private or semi-private bathrooms. 

Isolation and quarantine housing is a new concept for WSU, she said. However, the university uses student feedback to improve people’s experience at McEachern.

“McEachern Hall is a space where students live alone,” Creighton said. “We are making improvements to the program so that students can have a better experience, but what we are finding is that it’s working pretty well.”

A list of self-quarantine resources is available on WSU’s Student Care Network website.