Unofficial guide to COVID exile housing options

Illustration of person asleep on a bookshelf
Emma Ford / The Mossy Log

LC’s updated quarantine policy incentivizes resourcefulness, student-led solutions, best campus squats

As students might know, Lewis & Clark revised their COVID-19 housing policy this year. When my roommate contracted COVID during the post-winter break surge, after testing negative, I turned to my school for answers like the naive freshman I am.

According to LC’s updated policy, students with COVID are still required to isolate, and therefore miss classes for five days and continue masking for 10. Roommates of those students, meanwhile, are conveniently instructed on their options by the school’s COVID-19 response webpage: 

“If you are not at risk of severe disease from COVID, you may have several options for your housing situation while your roommate completes their five-day isolation period: If you have off-campus friends or family nearby you are welcome to live with them,” the school helpfully suggests.

I truly feel welcome.

“If you have friends on campus who are willing for you to temporarily move in with them, you are welcome to make that move.” 

However, if you happen to find yourself with a dearth of familial connections in the most expensive city on the West Coast after Anchorage, Alaska – do not fret! In what some might describe as a passive aggressive tone, the school provides you with more options.

“If you prefer to obtain a hotel off campus, you may do that. All costs associated with this choice are your responsibility,” the page states. “You may stay in the room with your infected roommate while they complete their isolation period,” it continues. “If you choose this option refer to CDC guidance on how to care for yourself.” 

Linked following this statement is the CDC webpage on what to do if you are COVID positive. It is reassuring to know that LC provides students with such a variety of great, practical, options during this stressful time. 

So, I was left with the decision: Where to sleep for the 10-day period when my roommate would likely be infectious? Now, after experiencing various less-than-official on-campus accommodations, I decided to share my first-hand reviews to guide for students in a similar situation. Without further ado, here they are: The best (and worst) places to sleep on campus. 

Aubrey R. Watzek Library

A classic. The armchairs between stacks are surprisingly comfortable. If you push two of them together, take your shoes off and prop those feet up, you can almost pretend you are in bed, or back in the comfort of the womb. The stacks slightly block the blindingly bright white lights which stay on 24 hours a day, and impressively penetrate right though eyelids. 

Your best friend’s floor

This is ideal. Start working on those codependent friendships now, because you will be glad to have them. If you are lucky enough to have a friend who will lay their mattress topper on the floor and lend you a blanket while their roommate is gone for the weekend. This conveniently resolves this issue of the library closing overnight on Fridays and Saturdays. I highly recommend this setup – barely distinguishable from a real Twin XL dorm bed.

Downsides include sleeping in two sweaters and your Carhartt jacket and still waking up freezing in the middle of the night because your friend sleeps with the window open in January. Just gaze at his roommate’s wall-sized “NOBODY CARES, WORK HARDER” poster in a daze until you are lulled back into an uneasy slumber. Alternatively, take this opportunity to suggest that a true friend would spoon you to sleep.

Your overenthusiastic acquaintance’s empty dorm room

Both of her roommates left for reasons she cannot figure out, so now she has two empty bunk beds and a triple room to herself. Sounds ideal, right? Brace yourself for being psychoanalyzed at 11 p.m. while you wait for your mutual friend to get back with a pillow, and then finding out that friend and your host (who have only known each other a week) are dating, by watching them make out in front of you. You will go back to the library after one night. Be grateful it was only making out.

Agnes Flanagan Chapel

Ah, blissful darkness. Do not tell anyone, but the doors stay unlocked all night, and the light switches are to the left of the entrance. Pick a pew and spread 

out – the wooden backs even lend an illusion of privacy. 

Unfortunately, this proves to be the most disappointing accommodation yet. You never realize how narrow pews are until you are trying to cram your entire body onto one at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday night. Something always ends up hanging off. Take your pick of which body part you want to bring to the chiropractor when you are in your forties.

The Tunnels

If you want the full experience, this is an essential. You are already sleep deprived, so who even cares. Note that Olin closes at 8 p.m., so you will have to make an early night of it, which works out since you are incapable of holding an intelligible conversation anymore. Lay down on the wet concrete floor, down an entire bottle of melatonin and hope for the best.

Well, there you have it. Our school’s mission to encourage creativity and perseverance shines through the new COVID-19 housing policy. Thanks, LC! Good night, and good luck, pios.

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