Lourdes Hall under quarantine, COVID testing required

Mitchell Prosser, news reporter

The second floor of Lourdes Hall at Winona State University was forced into quarantine after an outbreak of COVID-19.
Brenna Andres, a first-year student majoring in recreation and tourism, resides on the second floor in Lourdes Hall.
Andres was alerted about the quarantine via email, which said her floor was required to go into a two-week quarantine immediately, as well as mandatory testing.
“It really sucks, my life plans shouldn’t have been put on hold just because I might have been in contact with someone who tested positive,” Andres said. “Can Winona State prove that I was officially in contact with an individual who tested positive, or is it all just assumptions?”
Andres said she refused to report for mandatory testing, choosing to quarantine at home rather than Lourdes Hall.
“I don’t want to be subjected to mandatory testing. I shouldn’t be forced against my right to get tested by the university if they can’t for sure prove I was in contact with the individual who tested positive,” Andres said.
Andres said the Winona State Ask-a-Nurse hotline explained that a quarantine was required due to two or more positive cases on her floor.
“This quarantine was very inconvenient; my whole life was put on hold. I understand it is what’s best for students, but it is not fair,” Andres said. “If I was made aware of these policies regarding mandated testing and quarantining, I wouldn’t have chosen to live in a residence hall on campus.”
Xao Vang is the Hall Director of Lourdes and Prentiss/Lucas.

“The idea of making students quarantine came directly from the Minnesota Department of Health’s guidelines, where it states if two or more students in a communal style living test positive, the whole floor of the living facility is required to quarantine,” Vang said. “We are required to follow these multiple layers to these mandates that are given to us by the state health department to ensure a safe community.”
While not ideal, Vang believes the quarantine is an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID.
“I personally get that this virus can be transmitted very easy, and that this style of community living isn’t ideal when dealing with a virus like COVID,” Vang said. “This situation is not ideal but we have to focus on the overall picture and the greater good.”
Vang said that although students may have not been in direct contact with the infected person, transmission can still occur by daily activities, such as walking by a floormate.
“We really didn’t want to put students into quarantine, but it’s what had to happen, to protect all individuals living in our community and especially the ones that are immunocompromised and are at higher risk of being infected with COVID,” Vang said.
Lourdes Hall’s quarantine is still underway, with students anticipating a return to daily activities after the two-week period.