Madison Seti knew when her vegetarian meal from WVU Dining Services included ham, eating in quarantine was not going to be enjoyable.
Seti, a freshman mechanical and aerospace engineering student, had been quarantined in Honors Hall because of a COVID-19 exposure for nine days at the time she spoke to the Daily Athenaeum.
“A lot of the food I’m getting has actually not been what I ordered,” Seti said. “It’s kind of frustrating when they offer something that’s not what I ordered.”
Although Seti herself is not a vegetarian, she feels bad for those in quarantine with actual dietary restrictions. Though getting something is better than nothing, which is what she said happened to another one of her friends in quarantine: no dinner.
“I get that it’s an unprecedented situation, but I think the food quality could definitely be improved,” Seti said. “It’s kind of been all over the place. The portion control is a little bit — not there. It’ll be like, one day a massive amount of the protein, and the next day very scant servings. Today, I got French toast and hash browns for lunch.”
Paislee Adlington, who is also a freshman mechanical and aerospace engineering student and quarantining alongside Seti, agreed that the meal services were problematic.
“To order the food, we’re given a form that we’re able to fill out and choose from four separate categories on what type of food we want for the day,” Adlington said. “Recently, they started giving us what each category actually entailed for the meal. At the beginning of my quarantine, they didn’t actually tell us what was in those categories, so we were just blindly picking without knowing what we were ordering.”
Corey Farris, dean of students at WVU, addressed the issues with quarantine meals.
“Are we perfect 100% of the time? No,” he said. “But there’s a dining hotline [operating from] 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., so if a student wants additional food or if we make an error or something like that, all they need to do is call. They just call that number and while the dining hall is open; we’ll make it right.”
Despite this, Seti and Adlington said they never received new meals, even though their meals were wrong at least half of the time.
Adlington said she would normally use around ten meal swipes per week on food. The Go 10 meal plan, which Adlington is on, costs $2,092 for the fall 2020 semester, and offers 10 meals each week, according to WVU. With 17 full weeks in the semester — not subtracting breaks or days off — this equals about $123 per week, meaning Adlington pays somewhere around $12.30 for each meal swipe.
“Since I have not had the opportunity to use those 10 meal swipes all of quarantine, I am essentially losing them,” Adlington said.
Farris said a student like Adlington would actually be at an advantage financially with regards to meals.
“She may not be using her meal swipes, but she’s eating,” Ferris said. “So, we’re certainly tracking and know that she is using her meals, and she’s not being penalized for eating, I’ll say, extra meals, so if she only had ten meals a week, for example, and we’re delivering 14 or 15 meals a week, she’s getting more value for her money, if that makes sense.”