With covid surging, many college students are confined in isolation and quarantine

With a highly transmissible new variant, college officials are scrambling to separate infected or exposed students from others

“Everyone went into a frenzy,” the first-year student from Virginia said. He was the second person in his group of friends at Columbia University to test positive. He called his parents and some other friends he had just been with. His roommate called his parents. Several people called to get flights moved up to the following day — it was just days before the end of the semester, and they didn’t want to get stuck on campus in quarantine.

Thousands of college students ended 2021 and will begin 2022 in isolation and quarantine as the omicron variant surges in the United States. For school administrators, the sudden outbreaks sparked logistical scrambles to get students swiftly and safely housed away from others.

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