For students isolated in off-campus hotel rooms, it costs $30 a day to eat. 

Returning to on-campus from winter break resulted in a sudden omicron spike among Cal Poly students, leading to the administration moving students who tested positive to off-campus hotel rooms for isolation.

To add to the list of struggles of being isolated –– the symptoms of COVID-19 or deteriorating mental health from lack of human contact –– meals were also not appetizing or always served cold, according to architecture freshman Dominic Giang.

“I was just so over it. It did not look good,” Giang said while describing a sausage cheese biscuit. “I guess part of me expects the worst, but holy guacamole, I did not realize how bad. There was a point where I was eating just to be alive. That’s how bad it was.”

For their 10 days of quarantine, isolated students must fill out a Google Form daily if they want meals for the next day. However, with the chaos of moving in on the first day, many students don’t fill out the form and are left with no food by the second day. 

“The biggest issue is when the student first arrives and doesn’t know that they need to place orders each for the following day,” Cal Poly Corporation communications specialist Aaron M. Lambert wrote in an email to Mustang News. “But once they figure that out it is a pretty easy web-based process.” 

Additionally, the form gives a preview menu of the following day’s breakfast, lunch and dinner, according to Lambert.

However, Giang said that the form only has options for requesting breakfast, lunch and dinner, not what they will be serving. Cal Poly does not give those isolated a choice in their meals.

“I feel like there should be a menu to see what we’re expecting or giving us options of what we want to order but the food is hit-or-miss,” Giang said. “Most of the time it’s a miss.” 

On top of that, if the delivery team fails to send the meal, the isolated student must “figure out having food delivered.”

However, architecture freshman Sam Almoney said she has found that her expectations exceeded the rumors and the horror stories of quarantine. 

“You still get some like snacks that they give you here and there, but it’s kind of like you’re eating the same thing every day,” Almoney said. 

Despite the mixed reviews on the satisfaction of the provided meals, there is a set agreement that the meals are expensive. 

“I’m not willing to spend 12 dollars where I’m most likely not going to eat it,” Giang said.

A photo submitted to the Instagram account @calpolyfoodfails with the caption, “This is what Cal Poly feeds quarantined people for breakfast. Not only that, but you have to pay $8 for it.”

“Why are they charging me $2 for a super small bottle of water and I can only get six of them at a time,” Almoney said. “I can just Instacart stuff from Target and pay $2 for a gallon of water instead of $2 for this small bottle.”

Like Almoney, to avoid spending on expensive meals or supplies, some resort to other delivery methods. 

“Some of us, in this off-campus hotel, we would order like DoorDash to get some real food you know,” Giang said. 

Even though the food situation has raised complaints from the Cal Poly community, there is an appreciation for quarantine off-campus and moving COVID-positive students elsewhere. 

“I appreciate what SLO is doing, having us isolated,” Giang added. “But c’mon food –– all of the food is cold. That’s just ridiculous to me.” 

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