Students Required to Quarantine Prior to Fall Semester

New York City travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic required many students arriving from certain states or abroad that are deemed high risk by Governor Andrew Cuomo complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine prior to moving into their dorm rooms or returning to campus for class. This applied to both students living in University housing and those who live off-campus. 

St. John’s offered on-campus quarantine accommodations beginning Saturday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 16 at 9 a.m.  Prior to their arrival, students were required to have a fully paid (or enrolled payment plan) student account, and were required to complete the COVID-19 Symptom Screening Questionnaire, according to an email from the Office of Residence Life.  Upon arrival, students quarantining on campus were immediately administered a nasal swab PCR COVID-19 test, and then were taken to their quarantine housing location in one of the residence halls on campus, according to the email.

Three students tested positive per arrival on campus, according to an email sent by Internal Communications on Friday, Aug. 21. These students were relocated to an isolation facility and are “doing well,” according to the email. They remained in isolation until they were medically cleared to return to campus activities.

These students adhered to New York State’s Isolation and Quarantine Procedures, including living in a private room, sustaining little to no contact with outside persons and monitoring symptoms.

Sophomore Camilla Riccioletti arrived from Italy on Aug. 22 and was required to quarantine, doing so in her apartment. She will miss her first two weeks of classes because she received the order to quarantine after she booked her return ticket for Aug. 21.

“Other than the occasional email that I had to quarantine before returning to campus, I did not receive much information in regards to what guidelines the University wants me to follow,” she stated. “In an email from the University, they provided a number in which I could ask questions about my return to campus.”

Despite her requirement to quarantine and the precautions taken by the University, Riccioletti is not entirely hopeful for this semester. 

“Since we have already seen at least three cases of COVID-19 positive students, there’s no way of truly knowing how many more cases will arise in the coming weeks,” she said.

Students quarantining on campus were scheduled to receive meals  daily between 2-4 p.m., according to an email from the Division of Student Affairs. Students were provided a survey to meet dietary restrictions and preferences for each of these meals. The daily delivery included that day’s dinner and the following day’s breakfast and lunch — which would amount to a total of $512 worth of meals by the end of the quarantine period. 

Each student on campus was provided a “Johnnies Care Buddy” —  a member of St. John’s faculty, administration or staff. They volunteered to interact with the student daily and “answer your questions, get to know you and provide you any support you may need,” according to an email to quarantined students sent by Paulette Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Division of Student Affairs on Sunday, Aug. 2.

The quarantine period officially ended for students at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 16. Students who were residing in a temporary assignment on campus were given the move-in time for their permanent fall assignment from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. that day.

Students who live off-campus are still required to quarantine  — until negative PCR test results are submitted and reviewed by Student Health Services, Storm Cards are deactivated for students that do not reside on-campus.