A member of the Education City Male Student Housing, Janoubi Village, tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email sent to residents today by Matthew Nelson, head of residence life. A member of the Female Student Housing, Shamali Village, also tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email sent on March 10. As a result, non-compliance with Qatar Foundation’s rules and regulations regarding COVID-19 will now be regarded as a breach of the Community Living Standards and result in notification to the students’ university, sanctions for which can include removal from QF Student Housing.
“We are writing to notify you that a member of the Shamali Student Housing community has tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, we are taking a series of precautionary measures out of an abundance of caution,” the emails stated.
The emails then listed three-tier precautionary measures that will be taken to avoid the spread of the virus.
The first of these measures is Contact Tracing. “This is underway and all identified individuals who have come in close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual will be contacted,” the emails explained.
After the individuals have been identified and contacted, “they will be required to quarantine in the designated quarantine facility for up to 14 days. These residents may also be tested,” the emails added.
Lastly, all affected areas will be sterilized thoroughly based on the contact tracing results.
This is the third and fourth time that residents and staff of the QF Student Housing have tested positive for COVID-19. Last November, several residents of the Male Housing tested positive. A staff member of the Female Student Housing tested positive in January this year.
Nelson encouraged housing residents to adhere to precautionary measures for their safety and that of others while cooperating with the Student Housing and Residence Life Staff and Security team as instructed.
Current residents have encouraged their fellow students to follow the rules.
“They [housing staff] are doing it for our safety. It is a bit uncomfortable for us because our [patience] level is low. We are a bit irritated by it [but] the regulations are justified because they just want to create a safe environment for us,” said Adeena Yaqoob, an international economics junior at Georgetown University in Qatar.
Antonella Sansalone, a journalism sophomore at Northwestern University in Qatar, agrees. “I was worried about the positive cases happening in female housing in the beginning. However, since we follow the rules and safety expectations they told us to respect, I feel less frightened because they notify us which comes as a reminder for us to be more cautious,” she said.
Student Affairs at NU-Q and HSSE were contacted for a statement regarding their role in students’ COVID safety protocols, but The Daily Q has not yet received a reply.
“We want to take this opportunity to reiterate the expectations for maintaining a safe environment in QF Student Housing. Everyone in Student Housing has the responsibility for contributing to the health and wellbeing of our community,” Nelson stated in the email.
Moreover, the emails reiterated the social distancing guidelines that require individuals to keep a minimum distance of two meters at all times and wear masks in all areas of Student Housing, except for when residents are in their assigned rooms. Furthermore, in-person gatherings inside Student Housing, including the residential common areas and residents’ rooms, are strictly prohibited.
Yesterday, Qatar announced additional restrictive guidelines to be implemented on education, business and leisure activities starting Friday. The circulation of the UK variant is contributed to a second wave spread of COVID-19 in the country, resulting in a high number of cases being reported over the past few months.
Student Housing sent out an email this morning, encouraging residents to adhere to the new guidelines and reiterating safety expectations within the housing.
“We urge all members of our community to continue observing the public health guidelines outlined by the State of Qatar, in the interests of your own safety and that of others,” the email stated.