MT Tech students, Butte pastor quarantined in South America during COVID-19 outbreak

Posted at 8:36 AM, Mar 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 10:36:21-04

BUTTE — When members of Montana Tech’s Baptist Student Union were quarantined this week in Peru, and told to not leave their hotel room, it was serious.

“We’re just told, ‘you leave your room, you might go to jail,’ so we’re just hanging out in the hotel room,” said Pastor Mark Arbaugh with Montana Tech’s Baptist Student Union.

The pastor and three Montana Tech students were told by authorities to remain in their separate rooms after one student was seen coughing in the lobby.

He was tested for COVID-19 and must remain isolated until test results come back.

“It kind of sucks, I don’t feel like they’re doing justice, because I definitely don’t have the virus or anything, but it’s just the way their government works and we kind of have to respect it,” said Jimmy Amundson, a Montana Tech student from Colorado.

The group has plenty of food and can contact loved one’s over the internet, but it’s a challenge being cooped up.

“This is definitely a brand new, first experience: never been quarantined, never been confined to a room, never been told can’t go outside,” said Arbaugh.

While the isolation and uncertainty of their future sometimes makes it difficult for them, these Montana Tech students say their faith keeps them strong.

“We’re thankful even though our situation is not ideal, but it’s better than some other situations,” said Madison Devoto, a Montana Tech student from Wilsall, Montana.

The students have been in contact with Montana’s Congressional delegation but don’t expect they will be release from quarantine until the test results are returned in the next few days.