Spring semester has begun, and like many other Humboldt State students living on-campus, the lone twin XL mattress in your room has probably been filled with a randomly selected roommate during your last few weeks of the fall semester.
Before I get into any details, this is not some big scheme I have to get my three new roommates out of my apartment or to make anyone feel unwelcome here at HSU. If you’re paying tuition, who am I to say you aren’t welcome in my shared apartment, which is technically school property.
The issue is that I’m scared of my roommates and I think many other students feel the same. I’m not terrified at the fact that three more people in an apartment I already shared between two other girls may cause some bathroom lines, extra dishes in the sink, and more people to be noise-conscious of. I actually am looking forward to the company. I’m terrified of how easy it is to spread COVID-19 or Omicron, or whatever variant has sprung up since this has been published at the rate the virus has been mutating.
My campus apartment is small. It holds one room for our one toilet and one shower. There are three rooms all shared between six of us with a tiny kitchenette. I don’t know much about my new roommates yet. Where they’ve been, who they’ve seen, if they are immunocompromised, or what. I also don’t think I have the right to ask or know. I just have to cross my fingers and hope to God when I move back that they’ve taken the precaution to get tested before they move in so we all don’t end up in isolation our first two weeks of the semester getting late bagged meals delivered to our door.
Still, who am I to be wary when the concern goes both ways. They know nothing about me, where I’ve been, who I’ve seen, if I’ve been tested or not, and they probably assume it may be inappropriate to ask as well. We’re all sleeping with one eye open, peering over at the possible positive COVID-19 test our roommates or myself can easily become.
Soon enough we’ll begin interrogating each other at the door about who we’ve seen and where we’ve been to avoid a repeat of March 2020, where the fateful email to flee our residence halls came because of the lack of isolation rooms on campus and influx of cases.
Sounds pessimistic but could easily be our reality as it has been before. Humboldt State is not being transparent enough to its student body, especially those paying to live on campus and eagerly moving up to Arcata for their first taste of on-campus classes. These are exciting times and I wish my new roommates could experience them COVID-free but the risk is far too high to do so. HSU needs to implement stricter testing for anyone moving back to campus and rethink the possibility of in-person classes soon to make those living on campus and those entering campus for classes feel safer and to avoid another COVID-19 breakout.