Stony Brook University students returning to campus from states with increasing counts of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and international students are being required to quarantine beginning on Aug. 7, according to a university email sent on July 14.
This comes after a state law enacted on June 25 mandated visitors from high-impacted states to quarantine for two weeks upon arriving in New York. The number of restricted states is 36 as of July 29, and can grow as COVID-19 cases across the country increase.
Students from states on the list must quarantine either in New York or in a state not on New York’s restricted list before moving into university housing. Proof of quarantine in New York or a non-impacted state will be required before returning to campus, such as toll receipts, hotel bills or plane tickets.
At first, the university offered students limited free housing on the Southampton campus to quarantine in, free of charge. Now, undergraduate students can quarantine in assigned housing on West campus, and graduate students can quarantine on the Southampton campus. Those quarantining in university housing must arrive during their scheduled time between Aug. 4-5, and will stay in their space until Aug. 19.
Students quarantining on campus will have meals provided and will only be permitted to leave their assigned spaces to use the bathroom facilities. To quarantine on campus, students will need to notify the university by July 31 for those living in the states that were recently added to New York’s travel restrictions list.
After hearing the announcement, Anika Porwal, a sophomore majoring in biology and Spanish from Arizona, switched her classes completely online. She says after the announcement she was “extremely stressed.”
“The administration said we could quarantine with friends, however I would like to point out that this is also risky,” Porwal said. “The whole point of quarantining is not getting anyone else sick, so I found it quite reckless of the administration to even suggest we should stay at a friend’s as that would risk infecting our friends and their families.”
If a student moving into campus housing does not complete the quarantine, they will not be allowed to move in until the two weeks are completed and will be charged every day for their space even if they’re not present on campus.
States can still be added to the list if their positive cases spike to 10 per 100,000 people on a seven day rolling average. Several states were added on July 28 to New York’s travel restrictions list, making over 36 states restricted. If a student’s state is added at any time before they move into campus housing, the student will have to find off-campus housing to complete their quarantine before moving in.
Pavithra Venkataraman, a junior women’s, gender, and sexuality studies major and Resident Assistant (RA) from Indiana, will be quarantining two weeks prior to her training on campus. Indiana was added onto the list of restricted states on July 21, and Venkataraman will begin her on-campus quarantine on July 31.
“I completely understand why the quarantine period is being enforced and it is reassuring to know our school is taking the steps to create as safe an environment as possible,” Venkataraman said. “However, I also know that if I was not an RA, I would be struggling to find somewhere to stay and would have to rely on friends who are [New York State] residents, which not everyone might be able to do.”
Stony Brook will offer details about the on-campus quarantine on their website. The university has created a list of possible local hotel accommodations for students to quarantine. The deadline for students to cancel housing agreements is Aug. 15.