The recent Norovirus outbreak, which sickened over 140 students and cost the University roughly $30,000 a day on cleaning and supplies, has inconvenienced an already disgruntled student body as the semester comes to an end.
In an effort to prevent contamination, University Health Service (UHS) has mandated that Dining Services suspend self-serve stations, including the salad bar in Wilson Commons and the lunch buffet at the Faculty Club, leaving some students feeling that their options are limited.
“I normally use the salad bar every day, but now all the salads come packaged, so you lose the ability to customize it,” sophomore Josh Veronica said.
Junior Taylor McEachon agreed with Veronica, saying, “I miss the salad bar. I don’t usually like prepackaged salads.”
Alice Bandeian, another junior, said that “after practice every morning, some members of the rowing team, including myself, go and get breakfast in Douglass, but now everything is packaged and served out by the workers, so it takes a longer time to get food and eat.”
Despite the efforts made to provide students with uncontaminated food on campus, some have decided simply to not buy campus food at all.
“I definitely stopped eating food on campus and started making meals to bring for lunch,” junior Stephanie Chen said.
Junior Makenzie Gabriel didn’t eat anything in the Commons “for a week after the first announcement.”
Additionally, UHS has instructed Dining Services to switch to plastic-wrapped utensils and napkins—another change that some students hope will not last much longer.
“The other day, I was eating [Danforth] pasta with a plastic fork, and the fork bent and the noodle fell off and stained my shirt and pants,” Veronica lamented.
Regardless of students’ displeasure with the precautions Dining Services has taken, they have been vigilant about staying away from those who are contaminated and compliant with UHS’ hygiene suggestions.
“I’ve been washing my hands probably 10 times more a day than I’m used to,” senior Hannah Slavin said. “I’ve also started doing two rounds of soap instead of just one since the CDC recommended washing for 20 seconds.”
Junior Darius Colson also washed his hands more diligently.
“I bite my nails, so I was more aware about things I’d come in contact with during my daily activities on campus,” Colson said. “If I touched a door, a railing, anything, I’d immediately go wash my hands.”
Some student workers have also changed their routines to accommodate UHS’ preventative measures.
“I work at the campus post office, so we’ve just been sanitizing the desk every hour,” junior Shaquana Reade said. “At the height of it, most of the employees wore gloves when interacting with students.”
UHS reports “continued progress” in their response to the Norovirus outbreak, and a third round of sanitization will be carried out by ServPro on April 21.