Professors react to campus quarantine


Contributed by Tom Grier

Tom Grier, a professor of mass communication, is hopeful that Winona State’s two-week quarantine will lower the COVID case numbers.

Sophia Sailer, Editor-in-Chief

On Sept. 22 Winona State University’s campus-wide two-week quarantine was completed.

Winona State President Scott Olson announced the quarantine in an all-campus email the morning of Sept. 8, the same day the quarantine was put in place.

Olson said the decision to implement the quarantine came after the university recognized an increase in COVID-19 transmission and wanted to slow the spread.

Tom Grier, a Mass Communication professor, said that he believes the quarantine helped slow the spread of the virus.

“The two-week self-imposed quarantine just completed at Winona State probably did help slow the spread of the virus because it helped limit contact and breathing in the same, confined spaces,”  Grier said. “Plus, it had the added effect of emphasizing how serious the situation is and reminded faculty, staff and students to continually be smart and safe.”

On Oct. 2, Winona State sent out an email to all students stating the quarantine has seemingly reduced the number of COVID cases.

“For the third week in a row, our positive cases are down,” the    email said.

The email said that the current data for the week of Oct. 2 showed 49 active positive COVID cases, down from 76 cases in the          previous report.

Paul Johnson, an English and Film Studies professor, said the quarantine was a quick decision that should have been told to the community members before campus closed.

“I heard about the quarantine about noon on Tuesday and that afternoon I had planned a complex shoot involving the Rochester production team and a truck full of production gear on campus; that all had to be rescheduled as we met on Zoom instead and spent the following weeks in small groups and livestreaming to others,” Johnson said. “It was difficult but manageable and I’m glad we could still be productive even during                  the quarantine.”

Sara Nordgren, a recreation, tourism and therapeutic recreation adjunct professor and yoga instructor, reminded students to be mindful on campus.

“I would say the most important thing is for people to be mindful during each and every day, especially when it comes to hanging out with other people,” Nordgren said. “I know it has been stressed so much to wash hands, mask-up, distance and things like that, but also hanging out with less people is something to consider during this unique time.”

Grier said social distancing and mask wearing is important, even though it isn’t what is preferred.

“As much as I prefer face-to-face classes and the social, collegial aspect of being together with students and colleagues, it makes sense to keep the social distancing protocols in place awhile longer until a vaccine is widely available,” Grier said.

Johnson said being safe is very important for those who could be affected by the virus.

“We all need to be vigilant about the virus,” Johnson said. “Even one whose symptoms are not severe can easily transmit it to someone else who may be immunocompromised or otherwise at risk.”

Nordgren expresses how we all need to be selfless and hopeful in this time of hopelessness.

“We are all being pushed in new ways and experiencing new challenges along the way.  Right now, this period of time calls for us to be selfless.,” Nordgren said. “Be kind, love one another, be patient with others and each day and know that you are strong. You’ve got this!”


The opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of Winona State University, the Minnesota State Colleges and University system, or the Winona State University student body.