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Meske Misadventures

Meske Misadventures

What Happened to the Former Resident of the New Quarantine Hall

By Eli Haynal

At the end of fall quarter, Walla Walla University administration laid out their COVID-19 policy for the winter, including the conversion of Meske Hall into a dedicated quarantine building—thus, Meske residents were required to find alternate housing arrangements for winter quarter. 

Last quarter, students who tested positive for COVID-19 were required to quarantine for 10 days, and students who had been in contact with someone who tested positive quarantined for 14 days. These periods of isolation were conducted in a student’s normal room of residence or specially-designated quarantine rooms within the same dorm. 

However, this quarter all students that require isolation will be temporarily relocated to Meske Hall. These rooms must be free of residents so that they are open and ready to be used at any time, so all the students residing in Meske Hall during fall quarter were required to live elsewhere this quarter. 

The front entrance of Meske Hall, WWU’s dedicated quarantine building. Photo from WWU. 

One fall quarter Meske resident, undecided freshman McKenna MacLachlan, described her experience moving out of Meske last quarter. “We weren’t allowed to move at the same time as everyone else,” said MacLachlan. [1] While other residents in other halls were moving in with their new roommates, Meske residents were still waiting. 

“We had to wait because we couldn’t move into the rooms if people hadn’t moved out of them yet . . . so we moved in the Friday before finals and then also on Sunday of finals,” MacLachlan continued. [2] She now lives in Conard Hall, close to her old room in Meske. [3] 

A living space inside Meske Hall. Quarantined students could potentially stay in a room such as this. Photo by McKenna MacLachlan.

The relocation of Meske students went smoothly. Since the students living in the other halls moved in with roommates, more than half the rooms in Sittner, Conard, and Foreman Halls were available for new residents. This created sufficient space for both the Meske students and upperclassmen returning to campus. 

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It is not yet clear when Meske will be reopened for normal residents. Presumably, this will occur at the same time campus returns to normal, as there will then no longer be any need for a dedicated quarantine hall. It is also unknown whether previous residents will get to move back into Meske upon its reopening or whether new requests for residence will have to be submitted. 

Meske Hall is the oldest of the residence halls. It was originally built in 1934 as a fully-incorporated section of Conard Hall, sharing its name. In the 1980s, it was reformatted into a men’s residence hall, and it was renamed in honor of Dean Walter Meske in 1996. [4]  


  1. Interview with McKenna MacLachlan, 1/14/2021. 
  1. Ibid. 
  1. Ibid. 
  1. Walla Walla University. Residence hall history. Retrieved from
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