This photo taken on November 21, 2019, shows the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok displayed on a tablet screen…
This photo taken on Nov. 21, 2019, shows the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok displayed on a tablet screen in Paris.

Canned goods.

Video games.

Recreational substances.

In case they are restricted from classes or campus due to the coronavirus, many students have been preparing to be quarantined for a couple weeks.“

I’m stockpiling on ramen,” says Mason Sell, a grad student at George Washington University.

When he found out that at few cases of coronavirus had broken out in Washington, D.C., Sell decided to stockpile on food and cleaning supplies to get him through both a coronavirus outbreak and midterms, which happen to coincide. 

“I decided to drive far away from D.C. to get supplies," he said, after seeing people on social media complaining about empty shelves and lines out the doors at some stores.

He drove more than an hour to find a grocery store that was well-stocked.

Armed with laptops, tablets, game consoles and smartphones, millennials and Gen Zers living in quarantine, while physically isolated, continue to be engaged with the outside world.

Students in quarantine are keeping up with their assignments online and continuing their internships remotely. Others, have passed the time watching Netflix, shopping on Amazon, and scrolling through social media.

Leighton Douglas is a third-year architecture student at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. She is now one of the 106 students from her school who have been sent home from their study-abroad programs in Italy to spend two weeks in self-quarantine.

Her study abroad program in Rome ended abruptly after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the country a Level 3 Travel Health Notice, indicating that transmission of coronavirus there is ongoing and widespread.

Within 12 hours of the CDC issuing a travel notice, the University of Notre Dame bought a flight home for all of their students in Rome, including Douglas.

While she was still in Rome, Douglas said travelers arriving at city's airport were having their temperatures taken.

However, her experience flying into the United States was quite different.

FILE - The logo of the TikTok application seen on a mobile phone, Feb. 21, 2019.

“We were expecting to have a health screening when we got back, but that just didn't happen," Douglas said. She found that surprising, especially because she noticed “there were definitely people coughing and sneezing on my flight and no one followed up with them.”

Along with her classmates, Douglas has to spend 14 days in self-quarantine and will need to be cleared by a doctor before she is allowed to return to campus. She has spent her time in quarantine in isolation in her room in her parents' home, mostly watching Netflix, building puzzles and patiently waiting for the two weeks to pass. 

“Quarantine is a lot of sitting and waiting,” she said.

As the number of quarantined students increases on campuses across the country, some students, particularly those with a higher likelihood of infection compared to others in their age group, would rather be safe than sorry.

Anthea Johnson is a student at the California State University-Long Beach, where 10 students are self-quarantined over fears of COVID-19.

Johnson has circulated a petition asking her school to temporarily change their policies to allow students and faculty members to stay at home without a doctor's note and face no academic consequences.

“Students and faculty who identify as immune-suppressed, or have a household member who is, should be allowed to file for either temporary leave or excused absences for a period of time until the spread calms down,” Johnson wrote on her petition.

In two days, more than 2,500 students signed her petition.

Many in quarantine, especially students in the midst of midterm season, have little to do, so they have found creative ways to pass the time, leading to COVID-19 to go viral on thousands of memes, tweets and TikToks, documenting the virus' spread.

Student Mackenzie Britt has used TikTok -- a popular video app -- to pass the time and document her quarantine.

Britt, student at Loyola University in Baltimore, is studying abroad at the American University of Paris.

After her roommates returned from a trip to Northern Italy, they were placed in quarantine. Because she was in close quarters with her roommates, she joined them.

This led to Britt making a video documenting each day of her quarantine so far. Her TikTok shows her and her roommates checking their temperatures, getting groceries in facemasks, but mostly, just it shows them sitting around. 

“I look forward to putting things on TikTok as I don't have much else to do.” Britt said.

Her videos have gone viral online, with her first racking up more than 50,000 likes. Some of her other videos were featured on the widely watched "Good Morning America" television show. 


Day 5 of quarantine: I’m allowed to quickly go to the grocery store/pharmacy, no public transport, class, or crowds #got2bStyled #coronavirus

♬ Don't be suspicious - dumbbishsauce

Swiss business student Gaia Pennissi entered quarantine after attending Fashion Week in Milan, which has been hard-hit by COVID-19. Upon returning to Switzerland, she has not been able to attend classes and has placed herself in quarantine.

“I am the type of person who likes to be out and about with other people,” she said. She spends time Facetiming with friends and family. She, too, has used TikTok to document her experience in quarantine, which she has described as more boring than it is hectic. 

Madeline Joung contributed to this story.