Due to a suspicion that a rash potentially could have been chickenpox, Health Services requested that Maya Norman ’17 voluntarily isolate herself from October 28-30.

“They didn’t really know what it was, but they thought it might be chicken pox—even though I was vaccinated twice when I was younger and I had been very much exposed [to chickenpox as a child],” said Norman.

On Monday, October 27, Norman developed a rash and went to the Health Center where they made an appointment for the next day.

Norman received an evaluation Tuesday morning, was called back several hours later to take a blood test to diagnose her rash, and then was visited later in the day by Director of Health Services Birgit Pols and Lisa Rendall, associate director of housing operations

Pols explained to Norman that while they were not sure if she had chickenpox, the potential for it was serious enough that she would have to temporarily live alone in a crash room in Coles Tower.

“They told me it would take a couple days to get the results back,” said Norman.

Once it had been determined that she did not have chickenpox, Norman was assured that she could move back to her residence immediately.

“They worded it very perfectly I think,” said Norman. “They were like, ‘We don’t want you to leave, but there’s no lock on the door.’”

In an email to the Orient, Pols explained that the College does not quarantine students, but it frequently asks them to “voluntarily isolate themselves,” and will occasionally work with the Office of Residential Life to relocate students so that they do not use a shared bathroom.
Norman did not leave her crash room in Coles Tower for three days, and Pols advised her to only allow visitors who had been vaccinated against chickenpox or had previously had the disease.

Once blood test results determined that Norman did not have chickenpox, Pols informed Norman that she could move back to her Ladd House residence.  

The next day, Norman went to the Mid Coast Walk-In clinic where she was prescribed medication for her rash, as the College’s Health Center had only provided her over-the-counter prescription medication. The Health Center has since made appointments for Norman with a local dermatologist.

Regarding the process and treatment by the College for her temporary relocation, Norman only had one qualm.

“I definitely feel like they weren’t really investigating a plan B when I was quarantined,” said Norman. “I felt like they could’ve been looking into what else it could be, because the likelihood of it being chickenpox given my medical history wasn’t incredibly high.”