Sheehan Hall floors in Quarantine


Mohammed Islam

Floors 10 and 11 of Sheehan Hall were recently quarantined due to COVID-19. The dorm implemented a no-visitors-at-all policy – whether they were visitors from on- or off-campus. Earlier in the fall semester, Lucas and Haake Halls were the first of the residence halls on Winona State’s campus to implement quarantines.

Sophia Sailer, Editor-in-Chief

On Oct. 21, Winona State University’s Sheehan Hall residents got an email alerting them that floors 10 and 11 had been quarantined.
The email explained that no visitors at all – whether from on- or off-campus – will be allowed in the hall, nor are any persons not residing on those floors allowed to visit.
Paula Scheevel, the director of housing and residence life at Winona State, talked about how and why the quarantine had to be done.
Scheevel said that some students on those floors were in the same club or organization and there were concerns they were “probably more connected in some ways than maybe your average floor might have been.”
“Because of the elevator that they ride together and the connection between the floors on the stairs, it was kind of an abundance of caution that they decided to address both floors instead of just one,” Scheevel said.
In Sheehan Hall, two floors are connected through a staircase. For example, 10 and 11 are connected via staircase, as are 9 and 8, 7 and 6, etc. This allows socialization and for students to be connected with more people.
Malia Hermerding, a first-year student studying criminal justice, said that she is not surprised Sheehan Hall was quarantined.
“I am not surprised that COVID-19 finally shut down some of Sheehan, though I am more hoping that everyone who is having to quarantine is safe and doing better,” Hermerding said. “I have not once this school year yet had to go up to the 10 or 11 floor for anything. The feeling of being unsafe also has not been something I thought about either. I understand that the staff here on campus is doing what is best for everyone in this residence hall.”
With the no-visitor policy coming rather suddenly for residents, some feel that plans to hang out with friends have been taken away.
Liz Perry, a third-year ROTC/geology student disagrees.
“I’d rather wrestle a crock then let anyone in my messy dorm,” Perry said.
Hermerding agreed with Perry, saying that her social anxiety has not made it hard for her to stay indoors and away from others.

“I spend a lot of time alone [because of my] social anxiety and now a pandemic has made it harder to make friends,” Hermerding said. “When we first came to campus, the mayor told us that we were guests in Winona, which is something that I have kept with me through these few months. Keeping the citizens of Winona, the students and staff and myself safe and healthy is what I do every day whenever I leave my room,” Hermerding said.
Hermerding said that she only sees others at dinner and even then, she eats with one person and they wear face masks.
Perry explained that she would be disappointed if she needed to quarantine.
“I hope everyone comes out of this okay but I’d be disappointed if I need to quarantine even though I never interact with anyone on my floor,” Perry said.
Sheehan Hall was not the first residence hall that has been quarantined. Lucas and Haake Halls were the first two residence halls on campus to face quarantine.
Scheevel said that although the chances are low that something like this will happen again, the chance is still there.
“You can do almost everything right and still somehow end up in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Scheevel said. “There are so many people that are asymptomatic. There are so many students we have tested this year that have no symptoms [and have] gotten quite ill. So if you’re feeling fine and you’re walking around and you forget to put your mask on or you take your mask off too soon or whatever the circumstances might be, and then suddenly you’ve infected five to 10 people, depending on where you’re at, that that’s where the problems lie.”
Scheevel said that she believes students are beginning to understand that seeing others while not adhering to COVID guidelines is unsafe.
However, she said that people maintaining caution may be harder as time goes on because of fatigue.
“People are getting tired of it, but it’s because people are really getting fatigued and tired that we really have to work hard to be vigilant,” Scheevel said. “You know, we kind of have to give ourselves a little pep talk.”