Missing Luggage, Helicopters, and Dorm Immunity

Jessica Luo '24, Contributor

“So, what’d you do over break?” A common post-break question whose answer is often met with a series of grumbles. Given the nature of the new COVID-19 omicron variant over break, many students were forced to stay at home with their families, wondering how they were going to make it back to campus.
For students traveling via air transportation, the stress of returning to the Island is often escalated by the burden of flight delays, lost baggage, and other traveling challenges.
“My plane got delayed for a while, and the airline booked another flight for the next day. An hour later, I got a notice that they had a flight departing in half an hour, and I needed to sprint to the terminal. Once I got there, the plane was delayed again, so I ran there for nothing. Unfortunately, my luggage hadn’t been switched and was still scheduled to be on the later flight. It had the majority of my clothes in there, so I basically lived out of a backpack for three days,” Sophia Li ’24 said.
Now, put COVID into the equation.
“Dallas Fort Worth was probably the riskiest airport in terms of getting COVID. I had to take an extremely crowded escalator to get to an air train…There were so many people on both sides of the walkways, and it was like you’re swimming through this crazy sea, and you couldn’t go anywhere,” said Katie Fullerton ’24.
Given the state of the pandemic and the school’s requirements for returning to school, some students had to wait in line for hours for a COVID test.
“I went to the Anna M. Cole Community Center outside of Boston, and the lines were very long since the testing was on a walk-in basis. At one point, there were even helicopters and people reporting about the testing situation in Boston,” Jim Le ’23 said.
For those traveling long distances, simply arriving at the airport safely did not guarantee a quick return to campus. One student returned to campus in a rather inconvenient location.
“The taxi left me right at the bridge when I arrived at midnight, and I had to walk all the way from there to Harmon. Then, I had to go to the health center to make sure I was allowed on campus. The person in the health center called campus security for me, and they opened my dorm. The whole process took around 30 minutes,” Kwame Tuva ’24 said.
Even during the break, the omicron variant became a looming concern, canceling travel plans, gatherings, and holiday celebrations.
“We were all supposed to have Christmas dinner together, but my family ended up getting sick. It was a kind of shortened Christmas, but it was still really fun,” Izzy Balise ’23 said.
As students settled into daily life at Loomis, close contacts became the norm and COVID restrictions pursued. Longman dorm dealt with a series of seemingly never-ending cases, leaving its inhabitants to crown themselves one of the first completely immune dorms on campus.
“When we came back from break, a few of us [Longman residents] had tested positive for COVID and had to quarantine. After that, it continued to spread to a couple of people each time until almost the entire dorm and even our dorm head got it. We were joking about how Longman would become the first immune dorm on campus,” said Justin Wu ’22.
As Head’s Holiday approaches, students look forward to another bite-sized break from life on campus, but also dread the prospect of the stressful situations that come with it.