A Student Reflection On Our Recent Quarantine

Cora Partridge, Campus Reporter

These past two weeks have been an incredible challenge for students and faculty alike. While necessary to ‘rip the bandaid off,’ so to speak, and to achieve some semblance of normality, quarantine has been quite taxing on the members of our community. Planning to tackle this challenge began over half a year ago, in the summer of 2020, with the formation of Kent’s COVID taskforce. I was able to interview several members of that team, made up of faculty and administrators from all areas of the school.

As the new Director of Residential Life, Mrs. Clarke’s work has been central to supporting the student experience during this quarantine. In my interview with her, she stated: “I think the most important thing to me as a Director is student wellness, so that was really what my motivation was: to be sure that our students were well, physically, mentally and emotionally.” She has been working for months with other members of the Task Force to put plans in place. According to her, “Our biggest hurdle was the snowstorm, which meant that we were onboarding kids for three days as opposed to one day…That made things difficult.”

The snowstorm was quite unexpected, and added several days to an already trying isolation period. In his role as Director of the Clubs Program, Mr.Wells took up the task of keeping the student body active in quarantine. “Working with Mrs. Clarke, the Director of Residential Life, Mr. Reinhardt, the Dean of Students, and Ms. Gualtieri, the Head of Blue Key… together [we tried] to come up with some fun activities and incentives for students to stay busy during this time.”

The opportunity to be active and engage with others, if only virtually, has been incredibly important for many isolated students. For Ivy Hillman, a new fourth former, exercising has been a way to keep her mind off of the situation and to feel productive. “I’ve been doing homework, doing workouts and just kind of… organizing.” she said. “Obviously we [couldn’t] see anyone… so just taking that time to myself.”

Quarantine has given us all time for reflection. While the experience has certainly been a challenge, it has also brought us closer together as a community. “There’s a lot of ways you could look at it,” said Senior Prefect Miki Sauska. “I think that people unite in times where it’s a little bit more difficult to get through things. I think that roommates have gotten closer. I think that dorms have gotten closer… We’ve realized how important friends are and I’m excited to see how people react and how much time people are going to be spending together once things get lifted.”

To say these past two weeks have been difficult would be a serious understatement. Reopening our campus has been a true test of patience and resilience for the Kent community. This quarantine has revealed many surprising insights for students and faculty alike.

We have all felt numerous moments of frustration and exhaustion, but we have risen to overcome our challenges and are stronger for it.