Student video criticizing University of Michigan’s ‘quarantine housing’ goes viral

U-M student goes viral on Tik Tok after testing positive for COVID-19, quarantining at university

A student’s social media video went viral this weekend criticizing the University of Michigan’s “quarantine housing” designated for students who test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A student’s social media video went viral this weekend criticizing the University of Michigan’s “quarantine housing” designated for students who test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Sam Burnstein posted a video to Tik Tok on Saturday, claiming that U-M students were required to use empty apartments that the school turned into quarantine zones for those who test positive for the virus.

“We were given almost no supplies -- no food, no masks, no gloves, no microwave and no bed sheets,” Burnstein said in the video. “No soap, no cleaning supplies, nothing -- except we were given one roll of toilet paper, single ply.”

Burnstein said he was receiving food donations from graduate students in Ann Arbor since the university allegedly did not provide any. The student also claimed that his designated apartment was infested with cockroaches.

Burnstein initially agreed to an interview with Local 4 News on Sunday, but later declined saying U-M had provided him with sheets and toiletries since the video was posted. He did add, however, that there are others in the quarantine apartments that are still without necessary supplies.

Burnstein said that he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week. The video posted to Tik Tok Saturday received more than 77,000 likes and was shared nearly 6,000 times.

The viral video comes as U-M graduate student instructors are on strike, protesting the university’s return to in-person learning amid the pandemic.

About 2100 members of the university’s Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) launched a strike last week to demand better protections against COVID-19, in addition to new anti-policing measures.

The video also comes as the university’s in-state rival Michigan State University is asking all students to self-quarantine after nearly 350 COVID-19 cases were reported on its campus.

According to the University of Michigan’s digital COVID-19 tracker, 74 cases were reported since students returned to campus on Aug. 24. In a statement, U-M says students with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are checked on daily and aren’t required to move into the designated quarantine housing.

“Students are not required to use the university’s quarantine housing and some prefer to return to their permanent residences for quarantine,” said U-M Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Rick Fitzgerald. “If students need transportation to quarantine housing, the university provides transportation through our Division of Public Safety & Security. Students are able to bring with them what they need to be comfortable during their stay in quarantine. Each single-occupancy apartment includes a furnished bedroom, including sheets, blankets, and pillowcases. Each kitchen has a refrigerator and oven. Microwaves are being procured for each apartment. Michigan Dining, which delivers meals by request for those with a meal plan, will soon be delivering all meals in microwavable packaging. Student Life staff members check in with students every day by phone or email and are asked to share any concerns they may have.”

Fitzgerald also said students have the number for the university’s health service, which they can call “day or night.”

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About the Authors:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.