By Muera Hajli ’23
On March 11, 2020, all members of the Holy Cross community were called to congregate close together on the Dinand Steps for an announcement about social distancing by the administration. Students, faculty and staff were required to attend so that, obviously, they could comply with the social distancing guidelines. Once a two-hour roll call was taken of all the names to ensure each and every person was present, it was announced that, instead of sending students home amid the coronavirus outbreak, like nearly all other colleges, they would “quarantine all students, infected or not, into forced quintuples, effective immediately.”
The announcement received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Nobody raised any complaints about the procedure, and everyone happily skipped back to Easy Street, despite having inordinate hours of unfinished homework, singing “O, Holy Cross.” One student, Docil Obedien, voiced her support for the decision, “I am so, so happy that I will be placed into a forced quintuple with other students, infected or not, during quarantine. I really did not want to return to the safety and cleanliness of my own home with my own family, because roughing it out on Mount Saint James with four roommates is just so much better! Oh boy, I just can’t wait to share one king-sized mattress in Healy 105 with all four of my roommates! I bet we’ll stay healthy and be best friends!”
Even parents were fairly outspoken about how happy they felt knowing their own children would be placed into a forced quintuple with students who tested either positive or negative for COVID-19. One parent said, “Gee, I really am very content with the procedure. It would have been such a drag to have my children pack up all their belongings and travel home for several months. I know they will be safe on The Hill purely by the grace of God. I will be able to sleep so soundly at night knowing that my children are sleeping comfortably in close quarters with four other students!”
Many other students voiced support for the decision, often quoting the Holy Cross mission statement. In fact, if someone were roaming the halls of Hanselman and Lehy, he or she would be able to hear students reciting the mission by heart, 24/7, and using it to justify the quarantine housing. One spectator mentioned they heard some students reciting, “‘Holy Cross endeavors to create an environment in which integrated learning is a shared responsibility, pursued in classroom and laboratory, studio and theater, residence and chapel.’ And that’s exactly what we’re doing right now, in the residence halls!”
Overall, the entire Holy Cross community was very pleased by the administration’s decision to place all students into forced quintuples during quarantine, instead of them returning to the safety and familiarity of their homes.