Students report concerns over Fall 2022 quarantine-in-place policy, quarantine food access

Students who test positive for COVID-19 are not required to relocate for isolation and do not receive GrubHub credit for quarantine meals as they did in previous years.


Arianna Santiago

Isolation meal pick-up location sign, as photographed on Nov. 7, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Arianna Santiago)

Danni Chacon and Jack Pressgrove

Students report concerns with Vanderbilt’s quarantine-in-place policy and removal of its vaccination requirement during the Fall 2022 semester. Some who tested positive during Fall 2022 also reported issues with food access in quarantine. 

Specific issues about quarantines included a lack of communication about precautions for roommates and suitemates, as well as the lack of a post-quarantine testing requirement. Some students with food allergies also reported difficulties obtaining appropriate food options. 


Students who test positive for COVID-19 will quarantine in their dorms for five days, and their roommates are not required to quarantine unless they also test positive. During the 2021-22 academic year, students who reported a positive COVID-19 test were relocated to Blakemore House for the duration of their 10-day quarantine. Quarantine housing—four Mayfield Lodges—is now reserved for immunocompromised roommates of students who test positive for COVID-19. 

“Given its transmissibility and mutation, it is now clear that COVID-19 has become one of many viruses that we must contend with going forward,” a representative from the Office of Health and Wellness and Student Affairs said in a September 15 message to The Hustler. “Fortunately, the availability of vaccines and boosters has significantly decreased the extent of severe illnesses and hospitalizations.”

Sophomore Alisa Hill tested positive for COVID-19 in August and self-isolated in her room, as instructed by the university. Hill said she would have felt safer quarantining in a separate isolation dorm, such as in Blakemore per last year’s quarantine procedures. 

“I would say going to Blakemore—having a car carry you there and take you back, having food there—was pretty seamless,” Hill said.

Hill said she felt uncomfortable sharing a room with her roommate while she had COVID-19 and made accommodations for her roommates.

“My roommate was able to move out of my room and had the privilege to stay in a friend’s room for a week,” Hill said. “I would have made accommodations for my roommate to live somewhere else because I didn’t feel comfortable, and anyone who has a basic respect for the person living next to them would do the same. Vanderbilt has to do better than giving students no other option than to mask up in their room.”

After isolating for five days, students no longer experiencing symptoms are able to rejoin on-campus activities, as long as they wear a mask for five additional days. 

“I find it weird that Vandy doesn’t require you to take a COVID-19 test again after the five days of isolation,” Hill said. “I was still having symptoms. There was no way I was going to continue as normal—I was feeling better, but my body was still getting rid of the virus.”

Individuals exposed to COVID-19 can now continue to participate in on-campus activities as long as they are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status.

Junior Lexi von der Lieth also tested positive for COVID-19 during the Fall 2022 semester and lives in a Chaffin Place apartment. Von Der Lieth chose to live in the living room of her Chaffin Place apartment for the duration of her five-day quarantine to limit her roommates’ exposure to the virus. 

“I just lived on the couch for the entire quarantine time,” Von Der Lieth said in a message to the Hustler. “It was weird how they [the university] didn’t really offer up any suggestions.”

One of Von Der Lieth’s suitemates, junior Shelby Dye, said she did not feel like the University placed enough attention on the quarantine experience of students. 

“[The] vibe was that they didn’t care,” Dye said in a message to The Hustler. “I think it’s really up to how serious the student is about taking the right precautions.” 

Dye added that the university did not contact her throughout her quarantine. In the past, the university would make daily calls to students.

“No one checked on her [Von Der Lieth] or anything,” Dye said in a message to the Hustler. “[The university] gave no instruction about roommates.”

Food access 

During the 2021-22 academic year, quarantined students were allocated $50 daily in GrubHub Cash for the duration of their 10-day quarantine, which they could use to order food from the app. For the Fall 2022 semester, students were told to order food from Munchie Marts using the GET app. 

According to first-year Jessyca Foster, quarantine students can choose from four pre-made breakfasts – including cereal – and 16 pre-made lunch and dinner options. Due to the meals being pre-made, senior Kathryn Lee said she found it difficult to order food because of her dietary restrictions. Lee tested positive for COVID-19 during the Fall 2022 semester.

“I could only eat one sandwich on the entire breakfast menu and one salad on the entire lunch and dinner menu, which I even had to modify myself to remove allergens,” senior Kathryn Lee said. 

Students that require special dietary accommodations are referred to the Registered Dietitian for Vanderbilt Campus Dining for further assistance.

“Campus Dining has gone to great lengths to ensure students with unique dietary needs are taken care of, up to and including preparing special meals designed to meet the student’s specific needs,” a university representative said in a Sept. 15 message to The Hustler.  

There are designated pick-up spots in dining halls across campus for quarantined students to pick up their meals ordered from the GET app. Hill said she didn’t feel comfortable entering public spaces while being infected and asked her friends to pick up meals for her and leave them at her door.

“I never went to the pick-up spots because I was so congested,” Hill said. “I felt more comfortable continuing to isolate.”

Hill added that the food they ordered was sometimes not delivered to its designated spot.

“On the first day, I ordered on the GET app and didn’t receive my meal,” Hill said. “So, I had to rely on my friends to get me food despite the fact that Vanderbilt was supposed to provide me food.”