When an ASU student is exposed or tests positive for COVID-19, they are expected to spend 10 to 14 days in isolation or quarantine, sometimes in a new dorm room away from their friends, family and most — if not all — in-person contact.
After hearing of students' struggles with boredom and loneliness in isolation and quarantine, a group of ASU moms got together to try to ease the stress of isolation by creating care packages for those students.
The idea came from Sue Rigler, an ASU alumna and mom to three ASU students. Her daughter, Lucy Rigler, an ASU sophomore studying communication, had COVID-19 earlier in the semester, and Sue Rigler had seen Facebook posts about the struggles students in isolation were having. Sue Rigler knew she wanted to help.
“What do you do for 24 hours, day after day? ... That's a long time in, I call it captivity,” Sue Rigler said. “It hit my heartstrings and we have all these amazing moms, who ... like to nurture and take care of our kids and whatnot. So I thought, why don't we get the moms together and create some care packages for these students?”
When Sue Rigler proposed the idea of care packages to the ASU Moms Facebook group, a group with over 5,000 members, the response was immediate and massive.
“The second it went live online, it was like my computer exploded. It fired away with 'I'll help, I’ll help, I’ll help, what do you need me to do?'” Sue Rigler said.
Since the initial Facebook post, the group has raised over $3,200 and ASU parents have made 300 care packages, according to Sue Rigler.
Each care package includes items like snacks, a jump rope, a deck of cards, toiletries and a handwritten note from an ASU mom — some from across the country.
“A nice handwritten note of encouragement and some nice words, everyone appreciates that,” Sue Rigler said. “For the students, it's the little things in life that mean a lot, for them to know we’re here.”
As of Monday, there were 121 active cases within the student body, according to a University update.
Lucy Rigler said she was a little overwhelmed by the response to the project but was excited about the impact the care packages could have for students who were going through isolation like she had.
"Some students, they don't have parents that would necessarily send them anything," she said. "I think it's a really good thing to put a smile on their face and let people know that we're thinking of them."
Another mom working on the project is Barb Broderick who has a freshman majoring in environmental engineering at ASU. After seeing a photo series from State Press photographer Samantha Chow on the experience of a student in isolation, she took notice of the boredom these students were experiencing.
READ MORE: Gallery: Views from quarantine
In response, Broderick came up with the idea to add a booklet of 14 activities a student could do in isolation dorms to the contents of their care package. Each "Boredom Buster" book includes activities such as brain teasers, small challenges like building a card tower and a lesson on learning to juggle.
“As moms, similar to when our kids were little, it's things like how many jumping jacks can you do in a minute … just goofy little things,” Broderick said. “It's things to keep their mind and body active.”
Moms from all over the country have been working to ensure these bags come together for their kids and their peers, contributing notes, providing logistic support and donating money.
“I think there’s just a lot of moms, as equal as kids, who are a little bored and (wanted to) feel like they’re helping,” Broderick said.
Sue Rigler said she hopes this will be one example of what the group can do together and this is a comfort to out-of-state students and their families that a local community is there for them.
“There’s over a hundred eager, anxious, willing, generous, kind, nurturing moms to help your kids out if you need it,” Sue Rigler said.
Kate Ourada is in her 5th semester as the editor of the podcast desk and is doing her best to spread her love of audio journalism. She works in radio as a reporter and board operator. Kate has a passion for creative writing, her cat and making niche playlists for her friends.