The hospital volunteer program at Stony Brook University Hospital has been temporarily suspended, according to an email sent out from Stony Brook Medicine on the afternoon of Monday, March 9.
More than 600 volunteers in the program, who range as young as 14, donate at least 100 hours each throughout the year.
“As you may know Stony Brook Medicine is proactively addressing the ongoing situation regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” Supervisor of Volunteer Services, Lillian Montambo, said in the email. “We want to assure you that your health and safety will remain our top priority.”
No new applications for volunteering opportunities are currently being accepted. Stony Brook Medicine will update volunteers when the suspension is lifted.
The program suspension follows university emails sent to faculty and staff announcing that all courses will be held online after spring break. There have been no university announcements canceling classes or moving them online before then.
“As of now, there are no confirmed cases of the virus at Stony Brook University or Hospital,” Dean of the School of Social Welfare, Jacqueline Mondros, wrote in an email sent to students in the School of Social Welfare on March 9. “We are, however, preparing for the eventuality that a case will become confirmed.”
As New York hits 142 confirmed coronavirus cases, Stony Brook University is taking action to prevent large groups from coming together.
Students were told to “maintain a distance of approximately 6 feet or 2 meters from others when possible” to slow disease spread, in an email sent by Dean of College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), Nicole Sampson, to CAS students on Sunday, March 8.
The School of Journalism announced on March 9 that it was postponing the Marie Colvin Distinguished Lecture where New York Times reporter Somini Sengupta was scheduled to speak.
“Even though there are no confirmed cases of the COVID- 19 (coronavirus) on the Stony Brook University campus, we recognize that the likelihood of spreading infection increases when large groups of people come together,” an email sent to School of Journalism students and faculty said. “We made this decision to minimize everyone’s risk.”
Stony Brook has also postponed a lecture from the Center for Multilingual and Intercultural Communication that was scheduled for Tuesday, March 10, according to a Twitter post, and a CAS lecture scheduled for Thursday, March 12 was postponed until Fall 2020.