the great uheights plague

by aj

There is an epidemic plaguing the halls of University Heights. One capable, perhaps, of causing suffering even worse than that of trying to hold a conversation with one of the complex’s HCOL freshman inhabitants.


Now, we here at the Watertower do not wish to come across as alarmist. But sound the fucking alarms, because students are dropping like flies. Just last week, one of my own suitemates stumbled home late at night, visibly disoriented and with his shirt pulled up over his head like a Sith robe. As it turned out, this poor fellow had fallen victim not to the festivities of a particularly thirsty Thursday, but rather to moderately severe symptoms of COVID-19. The student in question (dead sober) texted, “feel like I’m in 3rd-person mode rn shit’s weird asf.” The condolences offered in the groupchat did little to abate his troubles, however, as his mommy had picked him up and driven him back home before the night was over. I have not seen him since, and thus presume him dead.


This case was no horror story, though– merely a statistic. In fact, it marked the fifth case on UHS tower 1’s fourth floor alone in the past two weeks. Worse still, most of the afflicted did not have a parent within driving distance, and were instead loosely encouraged by the university to sit in their dorm rooms with a mask on and rot. UVM’s COVID protocol is fairly simple: after a voluntary positive test report through the school website’s (unnecessarily hard to locate) Microsoft Office form, the school does students the favor of informing their professors of the upcoming 5+ days of absence! Further investigation has led us to speculate that the members of the team responsible for UVM’s COVID protocol were so proud of designing this wonderfully convenient feature that they promptly congratulated themselves for a job well done and hit Three Needs to celebrate, because there is effectively no further support provided.

One UHS student who tested positive on the day of convocation and missed the entire first week of classes was generous enough to share their experience with us, saying, “I had symptoms for one day, I didn’t even have to test,” but that they drew motivation from their “passion for public health.” After enduring five miserable days of self-enforced quarantine sustained by a daily trip to the Skinny Pancake and stolen cereal from Grundle, the student reflected that it did strike them as a bit odd to be ‘isolating’ in their suite of five roommates. Nonetheless, they had an upbeat attitude: “I was glad to realize that the uneasy feeling I had felt during orientation was just sickness (…) and after five days in my room, I was excited to go to class!”


A different student who was less full of shit described their isolation experience in UHN: “That shit was pointless. I definitely gave it to my roommate but he just never tested for it.” A third anonymous student confessed to having tested positive after becoming asymptomatic and simply not reporting the test and going to class anyway, reflecting the widely varying levels of responsibility to the community felt by students. In principle, the Watertower recommends being as cautious as possible regarding possible cases and making an effort to stop contagion, but we will provide no resources or incentive to do so. This makes us equally as useful as UVM’s administrative team.


If you think you may have contracted COVID-19, visit Student Health Services or ask your on-duty RA for a rapid test. Or run to CVS if you would prefer to avoid human interaction. The Office form for positive tests is available on under the page “What to do if your COVID-19 test is positive.”

Categories: around town, sept. 19, Vol 27

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