ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — At least 130 students will be returning to the university from states with high rates of coronavirus and will have to follow New York State’s mandatory 14-day quarantine.
"We’re still hopeful the governor will modify the state’s policy when he considers the impact it will have on colleges across the state," SBU Chief Communications Officer Tom Missel said.
Missel said the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York has asked Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to consider a proposal to modify the policy.
"Regardless of what he decides, we will have a plan in place within a week or so for students coming from those states," Missel said.
Cattaraugus County Health Director Dr. Kevin Watkins said the policy should remain as it stands. He also believes St. Bonaventure should accommodate students who will be required to quarantine ahead of the Aug. 24 start of the fall semester.
According to SBU’s 25-page Phase 4 reopening plan, which was released to the campus community on July 14, students who have to quarantine may be “asked to quarantine at their own expense in an off-campus location.”
“They’re going to follow that quarantine,” Watkins told TAPinto Greater Olean Friday. “I don’t know why they wouldn’t have to. I think that the university should make a special allotment for those students to come in at least two weeks early and quarantine on campus so that they can be ready for the fall semester.”
Patrick Jordan, a senior from Cleveland, Ohio, who will have to quarantine, expressed a similar sentiment in an interview with TAPinto Greater Olean last week.
“I think telling people to quarantine at their own expense during a pandemic with the highest rate of unemployment is a joke,” Jordan, who will quarantine at a relative’s home in the area before returning to campus, said. “There’s a whole campus full of dorm rooms and athletes are allowed to be on campus, but regular students aren’t? It doesn’t make any sense. Quarantining on campus would be a lot easier than in a hotel.”
Only select students, including men’s and women’s basketball players, freshmen orientation leaders, residence assistants and a handful of others, will be permitted to move into residence halls early, according to page five of SBU’s reopening plan.
Move-in days for the rest of the student body will be staggered. Freshmen and transfer students will arrive on campus on Aug. 21. Returning students, meanwhile, will return on Aug. 22 or Aug. 23 depending on their last name.
As COVID-19 began to skyrocket in a number of states across the country in June, Cuomo issued an executive order on June 24 that requires individuals traveling to New York from states with high COVID-19 rates to quarantine for 14-days. The quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.
The policy currently applies to individuals traveling or returning from 31 states: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
Ithaca College has already decided that students from states on the New York State quarantine list will not be permitted to return for the fall semester because the college does not have ample resources or infrastructure to accommodate student quarantines.
According to Missel, St. Bonaventure does not plan to take the same action as Ithaca.
For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.
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