Uni students discuss the impact of getting COVID


The Uni community has seen a recent uptick in COVID cases, most likely caused by the Omicron variant. Although the majority of Uni’s students and faculty are vaccinated, Omicron is still significantly transmissible among fully vaccinated populations. 

According to Uni’s COVID policies, students who contract COVID must quarantine for ten days to avoid infecting others. Still, these students are expected to manage school work from home or make up missed work once they return to school. 

According to Uni’s 2021-2022 Student and Parent Handbook, students have “the number of days missed plus one to make up missed work.” 

Freshman Heidi Wang contracted COVID in November of 2021 and lost her sense of smell while sick. When Wang emailed her teachers, they were all supportive and encouraged her to focus on resting. “I just tried to do school work when I felt pretty good about my health,” Wang said. 

Sophomore Josie Stierwalt tested positive at the end of winter break, a few days before school resumed. She was asymptomatic, but felt that she didn’t manage school work very well from home, even with her assignments available online. When Stierwalt returned to school, she says she was “definitely behind,” but found her teachers “super understanding.”

Freshman Richi Gomez contracted COVID following winter break and experienced a cough and felt lightheaded. He says that making up school work after getting COVID is “kind of stressful because [he has] a lot of things on top of each other.” Despite contacting teachers about missing class while he was sick, Gomez says that not all of his teachers responded to his email. 

Students who get COVID are stuck at home, unable to interact with friends or participate in class discussions throughout the day. 

Gomez says that when he returned to school, “a lot of people were asking [him] if he got sick,” which he thought was “a bit invasive.”

Wang says that getting COVID “definitely helped [her] realize what type of people were in [her] community.” Although she felt closer to her family during her quarantine, she also expressed that she “felt a little disconnected with her friends” because “everyone was just going on and I was stuck at home.”

Wang, who contracted COVID from her little brother, also said that she felt some stigma surrounding her infection, especially by those who had come in contact with her prior to her positive test. 

Stierwalt, who got the virus from family as well, felt that she “created the stigma around [getting COVID herself].” She said that it went away as more people in the school community tested positive. “The worst thing was just that feeling of ‘I’ve tried so hard to keep this thing away and now I have it,’” Stierwalt says. 

All three are now fully recovered and appreciated being able to take the time to slow down, relax at home, and have a slower start to the new semester.