My roommate tested positive. Here’s what I did.

Robert Whitehead in his student apartment. Photo courtesy: Whitehead

With the fall semester now under way for Florida A&M, Florida State and Tallahassee Community College, student apartment complexes are not taking necessary precautions against COVID-19.

After 17 months away from campus, students returned to classes in August. Move-in day for the Players Club apartment complex was Aug. 23. With clubs, bars, and lounges opening back up for the return of students, I knew not to venture out to huge spreader events.

Township, a bar in CollegeTown, hosted a party. Many students from both schools were in attendance. It was a huge week for CollegeTown, because students were excited to be back.

During that weekend of fun, my roommate, Nick Hernandez, was exposed to COVID-19. He texted our roommate group chat informing our other roommates and me.

“I am sorry to inform you boys of the news, but I was tested for COVID-19 today after feeling ill, and I am positive,” he wrote.

My immediate reaction was, Are you OK? Does this mean I am going to catch COVID-19 now?

I had been speaking to Nick in the kitchen just a day prior. Although I am vaccinated, I still wanted to be safe. After class on Monday, I immediately went to our apartment complex management office, voicing my concerns.

I wanted to know if any protocols were in place for instances such as this one, being that we had taken an entire year off from in-person classes because of COVID-19.

“Tenants who were exposed to COVID-19 do not even have to tell you that they have the virus,” the Players Club property manager told me. “We do not have anything in place for students who have tested positive. However, we will send out an email encouraging everyone to be considerate of their roommates.”

Searching further for more information, I visited the home page for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC.gov, and read that “becoming vaccinated is the leading public health prevention strategy to end COVID-19.”

It was clear to me that the best option for me to prevent the spread was to stay in my room, wipe down everything I touched, wear a mask in common areas, and Lysol my space. It was frustrating to know that Florida is not prepared for such instances, but not very surprising because of the governor not mandating masks.