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UTSA student copes with new changes while under self-quarantine

A mental health said it’s not uncommon for people to stress out under a crisis

SAN ANTONIO – University of Texas at San Antonio student Josefina Fernandez remains quarantined states away, but she said she has anxiety after UTSA announced campus residents must move out by the end of the month.

The university announced the change as a precaution against COVID-19, but many are left with questions on how to proceed.

Fernandez was on a school-related spring break trip to Puerto Rico. She and a group of students were there to help with disaster relief. However, she said the trip ended in a nightmare after a school advisor informed the group they needed to self-quarantine away from campus.

“Being in three different time zones has been exhausting,” said Fernandez.

Fernandez said she is a campus resident, but because of the new changes, she is unsure what to do.

“A lot of students live on campus and I don’t have a place to go,” she said.

She said she is six days into her quarantine and has not shown any symptoms. However, she has not been able to hug her mother while at home.

Most of her belongings are back in her dorm, and Fernandez said she is anxious to get back.

“I’m trying to be as patient as possible, but part of it is like, I need to know now,” she said.

Marian Sokol, executive director of the Children’s Bereavement Center, said reactions like Fernandez’s are common during times of crisis.

“The world is not what they thought it was and the rug has really been pulled out from under them,” she said.

Sokol also serves as a mental health expert. She said “uncertainty really breeds stress" and advised anyone who is under self-quarantine not to fall into despair.

Sokol suggested they listen to music, exercise, surround themselves with things that bring them joy. She also offered a message of hope.

“You don’t get over it, you get through it,” she said.

UTSA is developing a plan to refund students on a pro-rated basis. The refund would include campus housing, dining and specific services.

Students who meet a certain criteria are allowed to remain on campus with staff support.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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