Mother concerned about daughter’s COVID-19 treatment at VCU


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A Chesapeake mother isn’t happy with Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.  

Wanda Byrd’s daughter has COVID-19, which was spread to her by a friend.  

Eryn Byrd is a scholarship athlete in track and field who graduated from Western Branch High School, and according to her mother, she went the entire last weekend without a well-balanced meal after she was diagnosed Friday.

“I am mama bear with cubs now,” Wanda Byrd said.

Eryn Byrd is a shot putter, but she is never out of the reach of the caring arms of her mom, who is worried about nutrition for her star athlete.

“I need her to be treated when she’s in isolation, and that is not happening. I just need to know why she hasn’t been cared for.” 

Eryn Byrd went into quarantine Friday with a box of non-perishables given to her by coaches.  It took until 3:15 p.m. Monday to get her first meal from VCU, which was a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner. There was no salad.

“Look you have my money, and you have my kid. Do you want her to play for you and participate and bring you revenue and income? Then you have to spend the same energy on keeping them healthy,” Wanda Byrd said.

Wanda Byrd claims when she called VCU to complain, she got the run around.

“It was a sandwich, and pasta with marinara sauce, and a cookie and something and a drink and they also delivered her breakfast for Tuesday, which was oatmeal,” she said.

WFXR’s sister station in Portsmouth, Va., WAVY, contacted the university, and asked what the procedure is for meal delivery for students in quarantine.

“VCU provides each student entering quarantine or isolation with a starter box of meals to last three days,” wrote Michael R. Porter, associate vice president for public affairs at VCU. “Within 24-to-48 hours of entering quarantine or isolation, the student also begins to receive regular delivery of meals.”

Wanda Byrd, however, is concerned about the quality of the meals for athletes, 

“They should get three square meals a day, and that has not happened. Why not? I’m paying for it. You are taking the swipes off the meal card.”  

Late Wednesday afternoon, the university called Wanda Byrd telling her they are going to pay closer attention to Eryn Byrd’s medical and nutritional needs.  

But after going through all this, there is a bigger point, Wanda Byrd said.

“We are scared… I don’t think students should be on campus until they get a more solid plan, and a grasp of what’s going on… Until they get this thing under control, they should be at home.” 

Here’s Porter’s full statement about the meals process when a student is in isolation:

“It is important for each student in quarantine or isolation to stay in their room to avoid spreading COVID-19. That is the purpose of the VCU meal delivery program.

“VCU provides each student entering quarantine or isolation with a starter box of meals to last three days. Within 24-to-48 hours of entering quarantine or isolation, the student also begins to receive regular delivery of meals. Delivery continues for the duration of their time in quarantine or isolation. Each student in quarantine or isolation is also provided with an on-call number to report any issues with food delivery. 

“The initial box includes a three-day supply of non-perishable prepackaged foods such as high protein bars, Gatorade, waters, soups, crackers and snacks.  

 “24-48 hours after the student enters quarantine or isolation, they will also begin to receive daily fresh meal kits which are prepared in the dining hall and delivered to students once they are in quarantine/isolation.  

“These meals consist of a breakfast grab bag that contain things such as yogurt, cereal, cereal bars, muffins, oatmeal, milk, juice etc. The kit includes a perishable fresh lunch meal that could either be a sandwich with chips and beverages or a large entrée salad with a protein and maybe breadsticks and a beverage.  

“We also provide a dinner meal that’s prepared fresh and blast chilled to keep fresh for the student to microwave later. In order to maintain quality and provide a delicious meal, we are preparing entrees that will be good to reheat such as pasta, rice, vegetables, rolls or breadsticks and some type of protein.” 

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