Andrea has all the time in the world, but nothing to do. She looks out the window of her room, at the top of the Penyafort residence hall, in Barcelona, where she is confined after an outbreak has paralyzed the center. The young woman is one of approximately 200 residents who are quarantined in their rooms. Another 150 students are waiting in their private homes. “Now I will dedicate more time to the university,” he explains in a telephone conversation from his bedroom.
Life at the Penyafort changed last week. On Tuesday, October 6, the first positive was reported in the center. Subsequent scanning uncovered other infected residents. “As I wrote the emails to the families, they notified me more cases,” recalls Montse Lavado, director of the center. The Health Department activated a device on Friday to carry out more tests there and the results were devastating: fifty positives in the absence of further tests. Salud confined all the residents and from the bustle of the corridors to the silence of the bedrooms. “The boys are doing well,” thanks the director.
Lavado and three residents consulted deny that the origin of the outbreak was a massive party. “We don’t know where the virus comes from,” confesses Sofía, also from her room. “We have not had parties, meetings or hazing.” Young people, however, admit that university life and this type of center invite coexistence, and they assume that it is difficult to maintain bubble groups. “Sometimes you go down to smoke with your fellow students, then you see the people from the university… it’s easy for people to interact with different groups. Here at Penyafort, sanitary measures are always respected, but sometimes there is someone who does not comply somewhere, ”says Andrea. The management of the center highlights the type of coexistence in the college. “This is a community, not a hotel. And feelings of belonging are created ”, specified Lavado.
Lluc arrived from Mallorca on October 1, began university on the 6th and was confined on Friday the 9th. “I’ve been in my room for almost more days than I was,” he regrets. It is one of the positives. He had a fever and lost his smell and taste. “I’m better now”. He is 18 years old and assures that he suffers more from what may happen to his family than to him. “If I think of myself, I feel calm,” he explains; “I was more anxious about transmitting the virus to my family. Now, away from home, it is different ”. The young man admits that the feeling of invulnerability to the virus, typical of age, can lead in some cases to individualism. “Sometimes we do not meet some sanitary requirements,” he admits. According to the student, the outbreak was a possibility of the pandemic. “This is like a house of 200 people. Sometimes you eat with some and sometimes with others. It’s like the subway, that you get together with different people ”. Sofía agrees: “We are like a family. It is a bit inevitable to share spaces ”.
The confinement has changed the habits of the residents and the logistics of the center. Cleaning service has “quadrupled,” according to the director, and meals are distributed from room to room. “They leave it for us at the door, and when we finish we leave things there again”, Lluc explains. Young people live with their screens in their rooms. Most do not have a television, but the computer and mobile are practically always active. “I have a lot of class projects, and I don’t have much time left over,” explains Sofía, a design student at the European Institute of Design. Andrea seems to take it more calmly: “I do sports with a guided session, I do my homework at the university, I look The island of temptations… What can be ”. And when boredom catches up with him, he sticks his head out his window.
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