As soft quarantine nears its end, students express frustration on heightened restrictions


Alec Klusza

A group of students walk down Boylston Street wearing masks.

By Alec Klusza, Assistant News Editor

Four Emerson students said they felt stifled by the “soft quarantine” instated last week due to a surge in positive COVID-19 tests since March 31

The soft quarantine allowed students to leave their dorms only for essential activities, such as attending in-person classes, participating in mandatory COVID-19 testing, getting food, or going to work.

“It makes sense because cases definitely rose, but it’s weird that we’re still having in-person classes—it feels like it’s like an oxymoron,” said Caroline Davis, a sophomore marketing and communications major. “I’m happy that they took some action, I personally just thought that the classes were going to be on Zoom instead.”

Hannah Flayhan, a first-year journalism major who works at the Piano Row welcome desk, said she thinks the campus restrictions may just push students to gather in private.

“It’s a little frustrating since we only have three weeks left,” Flayhan said. “I feel like closing down the dining areas forces people to find different areas to go to, in some cases the Commons, which can be better. However, a lot of people are going into each other’s rooms, which is a problem.”

Others said the mass exodus to Paramount this week was caused by other students’ laissez-faire attitudes toward COVID-19 restrictions.

John Rioux, a junior visual and media arts major, said he’s noticed some students flouting the safety precautions this semester. 

“It seems like people were following the rules, and it was working,” Rioux said. “The problem is the people that weren’t following the rules. If people are going to go to a party, then they might go regardless, I think otherwise most people have good common sense.”

Rodrigo Mariano, a sophomore business and creative enterprises major who recently got his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, said students should remain vigilant in protecting themselves against the virus despite the urge to let their guard down.  

“We are kind of getting more loose when it comes to everything,” Mariano said. “But vaccinations are going up and I already have my first dosage, I’m not going to risk anything else. ”

“It feels very suffocating,” Mariano continued. “But obviously, things have to be done to ensure the safety of our school community. I personally have been staying in my room throughout the entire thing. While I know other people have been doing things that are against regulations, I feel as though the only way to actually beat this outbreak is to [act] in compliance [with the guidelines].”

As the weather warms and Massachusetts’ vaccine rollout continues, students want to inch their way back toward normalcy, Davis said.

“People want to hang out with friends more, it’s just really tough timing for this to happen,” Davis said. “Especially with so many people getting vaccinated and a lot of places are lifting COVID restrictions, and then for our staff to [say], ‘Follow [the guidelines] more intensely.’ It’s hard because no one else really is having to do that right now. You have to remember we’re still in a pandemic, it’s not over yet.” 

Mariano said the tightened restrictions add to the strain on students’ emotional wellbeing.

“It feels so draining on top of everything else,” Mariano said. “Staying in isolation, and a lack of human connection is massive when it comes to [mental health].”

“I just hope that that’s the bubble and that it’s contained,” he continued.