By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado…The resilience of Campion Academy was tested in the last few weeks after a spike among students quarantined due to mild symptoms and COVID policies.

Out of an abundance of caution, any student experiencing possible COVID symptoms is put on the “sick list”. Close contacts, such as roommates, are restricted from attending classes even if they are not symptomatic.

When placed on the sick list, students who can’t return home are restricted to their dorm room or moved to a guest room to be isolated. The deans and school nurse check on them regularly and bring them meals. Symptomatic students continue to attend classes virtually unless they have severe symptoms.

“At first, I was excited because I would be in my warm room, have my food delivered to me, and be in my bed during class. After the second day, my excitement was gone,” a Campion student commented when they had to isolate after their roommate showed symptoms.

“I missed my friends. It was difficult to understand class [lectures] because of the Zoom audio quality, and there was nothing to do in my room. I spent most of my day working out and finishing homework. I also texted and called my family and friends to keep myself from dying of boredom,” the student added.

Any student with symptoms is tested for COVID. Some twenty students have been tested in the month of October, all of them negative. After a negative test result, the student and any close contacts can return to classes as long as they are no longer symptomatic.

With the negative test results and mild illnesses, the isolation time for students has generally been a few days. However, those few days stuck in a room have been a good reminder to students that in-person school with COVID policies is preferable to Zoom in quarantine.

“Being on the list can make you lonely for sure, but I’m just thankful we have the opportunity to be here and not go online,” reflected another student. “Being on sick list isn’t everyone’s dream, but it’s better than being sent home.”

Upon receiving negative test results, students are heard shouting for joy, knowing they can return to normal school life. Teachers and other staff members are just as relieved.

Michael Gann, Campion men’s dean, says that even though caring for students isolated in their rooms can create extra work, he takes it in stride. “For me, it’s just another aspect of the job to embrace. Our role is to take care of and provide for these students and give them a safe and healthy place to live. When they are sick, we take care of them; it’s just part of our role. No one wants to be stuck in a room for a couple of days, but it reminds us that we are all vulnerable, and we need to keep doing our part with hand washing, social distancing, and mask wearing.”

Jill Harlow is Campion Academy communication director; photo supplied