The Office of Student Life has a plan to succeed where other universities have failed. So far, with everyone’s cooperation, it’s working and creating goodwill locally.
Though the 2020 pandemic continues, people long for a return to normal life. In response, many universities have tried to reopen. Most failed. Currently, only 21% of continental U.S. universities are holding classes in person according to the College Crisis Initiative (C2i). Outbreaks, caused by irresponsible behavior, forced students back into quarantine and virtual classrooms. This summer, Julia Marcus, a professor at Harvard Medical School, and Jessica Gold, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, wrote in The Atlantic: “Relying on the self-control of young adults, rather than deploying the public-health infrastructure needed to control a disease that spreads easily among people who live, eat, study, and socialize together, is not a safe reopening strategy.”
Franklin knows that extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. On our campus, over 100 students from high-risk countries were in quarantine when the fall semester began; some still are, and later arrivals will be quarantined in mid-September. But quarantine doesn’t need to feel like a hardship.
We reached out to local vendors and designed procedures to allow for some normalcy, never forgetting that most of our students are living away from home for the first time, in a foreign country. We wanted our students to be as comfortable as possible. Also, students come to Switzerland for its beauty and the one-on-one interactions with peers from multicultural backgrounds that expand their understanding of the world. We don’t want to lose that. We had to strike a balance between the need for safety and making the most of being here, in Lugano.
The Office of Student Life has worked tirelessly to adapt every aspect of daily living to this quarantine period, anticipating and considering everything from food and supplies delivery to how to handle trash disposal. A big part of making quarantine easier is enabling safe deliveries, so that students can have the things they like as well as the things they need.
Dean Deborah Knaust of Student Life and Engagement summarizes: “In the past few weeks, we reached out to all the local vendors listed in the Franklin App. We informed them about the student quarantine situation and to let them know about our protocol to keep them and our community safe. Their support and cooperation are appreciated!”
Students have also been given clear instructions to protect themselves and delivery personnel, such as reminders to wash hands and wear masks before leaving their rooms, and how to announce their quarantine status in Italian. (It’s “quarantena” if you are curious.)
"I have been hearing positive reviews of the meals being delivered to students by Franklin Food Service,” says Carisa Villela ’21, Head of CDIC for the SGA. “Some students have been ordering online, getting sandwiches from That’s Amore, as well as pizza and sushi delivery from other places. Roberto, who runs That's Amore, started offering a delivery service for groceries and sandwiches the students love. He made a lot of adjustments to keep students safe! Franklin has made it easier by providing suggestions on how to order in a safe way, to protect the delivery workers and support the local businesses.”
These are the kinds of things that make Franklin special, and that make our quarantine a success. Our procedures are working because our students and staff are terrific; everyone has taken The Pledge to work together. We are showing that we accept the responsibility placed on each of us to protect ourselves and our neighbors. As a global community, it is important to understand this lesson from the beginning.
Review the student resources available and more on our Coronavirus Information and Updates page.