Isolation and quarantine are two of the unfortunate consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals must isolate if they test positive for COVID-19, and must quarantine if they are determined to be a close contact to someone with the virus. At Hamilton College, those who are isolating may be moved to a nearby hotel.

Make Preparations Now

You can take action now to ensure you are ready to be moved into quarantine or isolation (Q/I), and to lessen the stress or anxiety it might cause.

Know that it might happen. Students who admitted to themselves before coming to campus that Q/I was a possibility and who considered what it would look like fared far better during their Q/I than those who didn’t. Taking a “this-won’t-happen-to-me” approach will only cause more stress if it does. Talk to your parents or guardians about the possibility of this happening and plan for what you would need if you are placed in Q/I.

  1. Have a Go-Bag ready. Keep a duffle bag or suitcase ready to go in the event you have to move to Q/I. It can include extra undergarments, socks, clothes, menstruation products, and other items you will need and might have extras of (e.g., phone chargers). If you are informed that you must move to Q/I, you can simply grab that bag and add a few remaining essential items.
  2. Create a “Go-Bag List” to keep with the Go-Bag. This list will help you stay calm and not forget things, because you will make it now! Put everything on the list that you will want to bring with you for an approximate 10-day stay (most Q/I should last 5 days, but may run longer in certain cases). If you are informed you need to move, you will be able to calmly go through that list and pack everything without forgetting anything. Make sure to put medications, school supplies, textbooks, and your computer on that list. You can also put important phone numbers or other information you will need on the list. (A sample Go-Bag List is below!).

Understand the Process: Knowing what to do and expect in the first few hours after being informed you need to move to Q/I can be very important as well.

  1. You will be informed via telephone that you need to move to Q/I. Once you get that call, you will have 30 to 45 minutes to gather your belongings and prepare to move. Use this time to gather your belongings and prepare to move! You will have plenty of time to call your friends and family after you get to your room, so take this time to focus on packing everything you need to ensure you don't forget something.
  2. You will receive a lot of information from staff members during the first couple of hours (don’t hesitate to ask people to repeat instructions or ask questions!), as well as a packet of printed information. Once you are settled in your room, take the time to read the printed packet. It will explain everything you will need to know about your time in Q/I.
  3. Health Center staff will not notify anyone of your health status. They will only provide appropriate notifications to those people essential to assisting you in transitioning to Q/I. Once you have settled in, take time to inform your professors that you are in Q/I so that they can help you plan to continue your education during that time. You can also notify any on-campus support resources you use so they may provide assistance during this time. For example, think about your academic advisor, HEOP counselor, athletic coaches, counseling center therapists, and Dean of Students Office support staff.
  4. A Hamilton staff member will be assigned to be your “contact” while you are in Q/I. This person is part of a team of volunteers from the Hamilton community who received extensive training to become contact tracers. Use this person as a resource. You may want to keep a list of questions that you want to ask.
  5. After you have settled in, be sure to call your family to let them know what is happening and set regular times to talk to them throughout your stay.

Below is a sample of a real Go-Bag List that one student developed. Her Go-Bag has the following: undergarments, socks, leggings, shirts, pjs, menstruation products, snacks like Pop-Tarts and Easy Mac, and extra chargers for her phone and laptop.

This list is also printed and in her Go-Bag:

  1. Don’t panic, you will be fine.
  2. Grab your Go-Bag.
  3. Also, pack the following to bring with you:
    1. Everything you need for your classes (textbooks, computer, notebooks, pens, headphones, chargers, etc.)
    2. Any perishable foods that are in your room or fridge that you want to take with you (you will have a fridge and microwave in your Q/I room)
    3. All medications and vitamins
    4. From your first aid kit: ibuprofen, all of the cold and cough medicine, your thermometer, Band-Aids
    5. A bathroom bag (make sure you bring an extra toothbrush, your shower shoes, etc., and that you have enough shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. for a couple of weeks)
    6. Your Q/I location will have bedding and towels, but if you want to feel more comfortable, grab your own pillow and stuff one or two of your throw blankets (or your bed blanket if it will fit) into it
    7. Slippers
    8. A microwaveable bowl, a fork and spoon, and a water bottle
    9. Whatever you might want to grab, if you have time, for entertainment (small Nintendo, puzzles, etc.)
  4. Before you leave your room, put on your most comfortable clothes, in layers, so that you will have a sweatshirt with you and warm sweatpants.
  5. Make sure you don't have any wet clothes piled up in your room. Hang used towels and other wet clothing on a hook or on the back of a chair so they will dry and not get moldy. You can wash them when you return.
  6. Make sure you don't have any critter bait (e.g., perishable food) sitting out. Put it away, pack it, or throw it away in the hall trash.
  7. Be sure to close and lock your door and windows.
  8. Make certain you have your keys and phone when you leave.
  9. After you get to your Q/I space, call Mom and let her know what is going on. You will get through this and be fine, just stay calm and breathe

If you know that you are the type of person who might panic if you receive a call telling you isolate or quarantine, find a family member or friend who can be your support during those first few hours. Include them in your preparation process (making the Go-Bag List, etc.) and then plan to call them and talk about what to do and pack. Give them a copy of your packing list so they can help you run through it! Knowing you have this support system already in place can help you feel more calm in the moment.

Being moved to quarantine or isolation is an unfortunate consequence of the pandemic. Take the time now to plan and organize yourself, and all will go well.

Additional Health & Wellness Resources

Health Center, 315-859-4111

Campus Safety (number for medical emergencies), 315-859-4000

Counseling Center, 315-859-4340

Be sure to check the Hamilton Daily Calendar of Events for other Wellness opportunities throughout the semester!

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