PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Wednesday was the first full day of Bradley University’s campus-wide quarantine, meaning students could only leave their dorm room, apartment, or Greek house for essential purposes.
Large and social gatherings are in part to blame, according to the university’s president Steven Standifird.
“We are seeing both large and small gatherings where masks and physical distancing are not observed. Many of our positive cases can be traced back to these gatherings,” Standifird said.
Some students WMBD talked to weren’t too surprised, though others were.
“It was kind of an inevitability at this point. I’m kind of glad we’re all doing it together, so that means we all get out at the same point,” said freshman William Bennington.
“It was definitely a shock. But it’s not as intense as we thought it was going to be, so that kind of relaxed us a bit,” said freshman Hallie Federowicz.
Everyone said they hope it will be a fresh start for students after this two-week quarantine.
“It’s kind of like here’s your chance, make a change, do the right thing,” said Bradley spokesperson Renee Charles.
Bradley University students are moving to fully remote learning under the quarantine.
“We expect all students to limit their in-person interactions to only the most essential activities. All classes will be virtual for the next two weeks and all students are expected to stay in their current housing during this two-week period unless instructed otherwise,” Standifird said.
Bennington, a freshman, said it all started as rumors.
“At first it was like “Oh, this is happening for real,” Bennington said.
“There had been rumors because individual floors were going down, half of my building was down. The fact we’re going full-on is almost an inevitability,” Bennington said.
“I found out on my way to band. I was walking with some of my friends and we were all like ‘this is really happening. We heard rumors about it,'” Federowicz said.
While Bennington believes there was no way around the quarantine, he said it’s still a huge bummer.
“It is frustrating, freshman year, we come in expecting this grand new adventure, then we’re stuck in our rooms,” Bennington said.
Federowicz, also a freshman at Bradley, said she appreciates the attempt to contain the virus so students don’t have to go home.
“I still wanna be on campus, so if this is what we need to do to get through the semester, then I’m for it,” Federowicz said.
Right next door to the university is the Fieldhouse, a bar and restaurant as well as a common hangout spot for students. Co-owner Ryan Hunt said while students won’t be able to come into the restaurant, his bottom line will be just fine.
“I don’t believe it will have a big impact. It’ll have a small impact obviously because they can’t come into the restaurant. But we have a very good to-go and curbside pickup following that we’ve built up throughout the years that’s really helped us get through this time,” Hunt said.
Hunt said he hasn’t heard from university officials on what he should do if students come into the building for food and drinks.
“What if students do come in? What should we do? we don’t want to get them in trouble, we don’t want to be in trouble for serving someone that we shouldn’t be serving,” Hunt said.
Standifird said luckily most cases have been asymptomatic. He said violations of the quarantine will result in disciplinary action.
The quarantine ends at 7:00 a.m. on Sept. 23.