Ongoing survey of those in quarantine/isolation helps improve the experience

March 29, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – During this spring semester students that completed quarantine and isolation at University Park are still being surveyed to collect feedback about their experiences. Results are helping to inform ongoing improvements in services and processes.

Processes for student quarantine and isolation, part of the University’s layered approach to mitigate the spread of coronavirus on its campuses, have received generally positive survey feedback for the fall 2020 semester. The preliminary spring semester results, with a 16% response rate, also indicate overall satisfaction with quarantine and isolation.

The Quarantine/Isolation Experience Survey is sent weekly to all students at University Park after they complete their on-campus quarantine or isolation requirement, which remains part of Penn State’s protocols for those who contract COVID-19 or have been in close contact with another person with COVID-19. 

“We understand that quarantine and isolation are difficult situations for anyone, and we are glad to see that, so far, there seems to be higher overall satisfaction from students during their time,” said Adam Christensen, director of Student Affairs Research and Assessment. “The team will continue to use this feedback to improve the student experience. We want our students to feel more comfortable while they are dealing with quarantine and isolation.”

The previous fall 2020 survey helped to inform the University’s efforts for spring 2021. Staff from across the University, including Housing and Food Services, Student Affairs, Student Support Services, Residence Life, and more, meet to analyze survey data, discuss student feedback and generate new ways to make the students more comfortable during their quarantine or isolation on-campus. While the survey captures data about the on-campus experience, support services and resources also are available for students who quarantine or isolate off campus.

The group reviews feedback on meals and snacks, delivery and concierge services, laundry services, check-ins with support staff, academic support, and access to virtual wellness and mental health services. 

Student feedback

The confidential survey asks students a variety of questions about levels of satisfaction (on a scale of “very satisfied” to “very dissatisfied”). Certain numbers vary by week as new initiatives are put in place.

  • Accommodations (“very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied”):
    • Cleanliness upon arrival: 92.1%
    • Comfort of the room: 83.8% 
    • Availability of supplies like toiletries and linens: 88.9% 
    • Cleanliness of linens and bedding: 84.2%
  • Food services (“very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied”):
    • Meal delivery times each day: 73.7%
    • Quantity of food per meal: 81.6%
    • Overall quality of food: 55.3%
    • Accommodations for dietary restrictions: 90% 
    • Communication of meal delivery schedule: 73.7%
  • Experience before beginning quarantine/isolation (“very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied”):
    • Instructions on how to get to their quarantine/isolation room on campus: 84.2%
    • Communication/instructions for the overall quarantine/isolation process: 76.3%
    • Travel assistance to their quarantine/isolation room: 63.1% 
    • Communication of available support/resources for physical needs: 89.2% 
    • Communication of available support/resources for their mental health and emotional needs: 89.2%
  • Experience during quarantine/isolation ("very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied"):
    • Speediness of staff in responding to needs: 94.6%
    • Helpfulness of staff: 100%
    • Availability of resources for their overall health: 94.6% 

"This is still a challenging time, and the virus's threat remains,” said Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs. “Among those most deeply affected by these circumstances are the students who are infected or have been exposed to the virus, and I am glad that our efforts to provide for their needs have benefited from steady improvement.  Meanwhile, we all must persist with our commitment to do what we must to minimize this threat and keep our community safe, and I am confident we shall."

Further resources

For those who need support, the full range of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) services are available to students remotely, including individual counseling through telehealth appointments, and the following:

  • YOU@PSU: Sign up to manage your mental health and personal development goals in a personalized, confidential environment
  • WellTrack: Interactive, self-help therapy
  • Online Mental Health Screening: An anonymous, online screening that provides key information about factors of your mental health
  • CAPS Chat: Free, virtual consultations with CAPS counselors
  • CAPS Virtual Library: A video library that offers support on a variety of health topics
  • Life Hacks at Home: Presentations led by CAPS clinicians about coping strategies for decreasing stress and increasing well-being
Last Updated March 29, 2021