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Quarantined Colby students speak out anonymously

NEWS CENTER Maine has spoken with three Colby College students who are being quarantined at a Waterville hotel as a precaution against Coronavirus

WATERVILLE, Maine — Quarantined Colby College students say approximately 30 students are being quarantined at the Best Western in Waterville. 

The three students have asked to remain anonymous, but all share similar details of their experience with the quarantining. 

The students tell NEWS CENTER Maine's Hannah Dineen that the approximately 30 students are all Chinese nationals. All of them spent winter break in China. 

The students say none of the quarantined are sick or showing symptoms of Coronavirus at this point in time. Regimented health checks have become a part of their daily routines. The students say they're taking their temperatures twice a day and reporting those numbers to health officials at Colby College. 

The students are being quarantined for 14 days, the incubation period of the virus.

The students say they are all in separate hotel rooms and have not had any physical contact with each other. They say they're keeping in touch through a group chat using a Chinese app. 

One student (let's call him Student A) says he has already been in quarantine for ten days, as of Friday, February 7. 

Student A says, "We don't see each other. We're all isolated in our rooms. We don't step out of our rooms. Every time we get a knock on our door, they leave food in front of our door. We wear masks, then open the door and get the food. It's minimal human contact."

Colby College has been in close contact and actively monitoring the well-being of the students. 

Student A says, "School officials come in and check on us, but it's always with a mask. It's just a precautionary thing to ensure minimal contact."

Asked whether he agrees with how the college is handling the situation, Student A says he does.

"I think it's completely fair and I have no objection to this decision," says Student A. "I really think it's for the betterment of all the people around us... We're not only trying to protect ourselves but protect the whole Colby community and Waterville community." 

Not all of the quarantined students agree with Student A's assessment of the college's handling of the situation. 

Other students NEWS CENTER Maine's Hannah Dineen spoke with say the school could have improved communication about the situation, specifically saying they wish they'd known about the quarantine before coming back to the United States.  

Colby College issued a statement about the situation on Thursday, it reads: 

"Colby College is not aware of any cases of the Coronavirus in the Colby community or anywhere in Maine. None of the individuals in isolation have any symptoms of the virus, and they are being monitored per CDC guidelines. They were isolated based on public health guidance for those returning from mainland China and out of an abundance of caution for the safety and wellbeing of the Colby and local communities.

Colby is offering a high level of support for anyone who is impacted, including allowing students to continue their coursework without interruption.

We will continue to closely monitor the health of all community members who have traveled to China and follow the guidelines provided by the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

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