Students Say FSU's Quarantine Dorm Is Filthy, Infested With Flies
Students staying in one of Florida State University's quarantine dorms are raising concerns about the building's age and cleanliness.
When Emma Andrews tested positive for COVID-19, she moved her belongings into Rogers Hall. It's one of two dorms designated for quarantining students. But Andrews says the 60-year-old building looks like no one's touched it in a year.
"The floors are really dirty. My bathtub was full of some sort of black debris," Andrews says.
When she asked, a staff member cleaned the tub for her. Andrews ended up making a TikTok video documenting what she saw. It shows a hardened mustard-like substance, rust, in her bathtub and flies congregating on the first floor's walls and ceilings.
"We kind of had to fan our arms and literally run out of the hallway," Andrews says.
"Flies everywhere and I mean everywhere. It was disgusting and there's dead roaches on the floor. There was mold in Emma's shower," Angelina Perera says.
Perara is a friend of Andrews' who is also quarantining in Rogers Hall. Perera says they expected the university to provide water, so they didn't bring any with them. But unless students have a meal plan, FSU isn't giving out water or food.
"The first day we had a friend with a Brita, so we each had a glass of water each, and then the next day we got water delivered by Publix by 4 p.m., so that was the first time we had bottled water on our second day," Andrews says.
The university has cut off water fountains in the dorms and public areas in an effort to stem the spread of the virus.
Andrews and Perara have sorority meal plans, but those don't provide food on weekends, which is when they moved into Rogers Hall. Vending and ice machines are also empty.
Shannon Staten heads FSU's housing office. She says the college's quarantine dorms—Rogers Hall and Salley Hall were cleaned over the summer. But Staten says some of the rooms in Rogers Hall sat empty for a few weeks.
"So when a room sits empty, anything can happen. There could be some flies. There could be some other insects that get in and penetrate the area," Staten says.
She explains that bugs getting into empty rooms can happen in any residence hall.
"It's just if we're using the building every day, and we're in it every day, we might be able to notice something like that's going on and taking care of it quicker, but when we're not in a building until we get a report on it, there's not much we can do," Staten says.
According to Staten, FSU wants to address the fly problem in Rogers Hall, but because its full of infectious students, maintenance workers only go in for emergencies.
"Having an insect here and there, or even having some flies on the wall, are not necessarily considered [an] emergency," Staten says.
She explains that the university is monitoring the situation and has asked the cleaning company it has hired to keep an eye on the flies.
"We'll respond as we feel we can appropriately," Staten says.
The university is working with an extermination company to determine what's causing the flies to congregate. Staten says students have complained about having dirty bathrooms, and the staff cleaned that up.
"So we don't know if there was something that if a drain backed up into the tub or what would have caused the dirt, but we did take care of it," Staten says.
The university also gave some cleaning supplies to students. As for providing food and water, Staten says FSU told students they would have to bring their own.
"To keep up with it, to be able to have it in the unit for [students] before they move in, to be able to enter the building, and do that with each unit is really going to be hard to sustain, and the students again, are told as they get ready to move that they need to take that with you if you want it," Staten says.
Students can order food from FSU's dining service or other places. Rogers Hall is currently full with about 84 students living there. About 15 students who have tested positive are now residing in Salley Hall. FSU does not have a third dorm to quarantine students. The university reports more than 830 students have become infected with COVID-19. But a university spokesman says that number does not include students who have tested positive at off-campus testing centers.