All students in Hollis Hall are required to begin quarantining in their respective suites as of Wednesday, Oct. 7 and be tested for COVID-19, according to an email acquired by the Torch that was sent to resident students by the Office of Residence Life. This email was sent at approximately 6 a.m. this morning.
“Based on the results of previous testing that identified a handful of rooms [in Hollis Hall] with students that tested positive for COVID-19, out of an abundance of caution we will be testing ALL residents of Hollis Hall for COVID-19,” the email said.
According to a separate email sent to students residing in Hollis Hall this morning, students will remain in their suites from 6:00 a.m. Wednesday until the University has completed the testing process and received the students’ results. Testing for these students will be free, and will take place between 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. today.
The process is estimated to take approximately 72 hours after the testing kits have been gathered. Until then, students cannot leave their suites.
According to this email, these students will be excused from any in-person classes and meals will be delivered to them during this time. Their StormCards will also be disabled, and any students who leave campus without being tested will be required to complete a 14-day quarantine before returning to campus.
Freshman Eleni Likokas lives in Hollis Hall and prior to receiving emails from Residence Life this morning, she says she had not heard about any students in the building testing positive for COVID-19.
The Office of Residence Life did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Hollis Hall is currently the only residence hall on campus requiring students to quarantine; the email to resident students informed all others to “continue to practice social distancing, wear your mask, wash your hands frequently and stay away from crowds.”
This decision comes in response to new restrictions put in place by New York State and the New York City mayor’s office to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Queens and Brooklyn, as “hotspots” develop across both boroughs.
“As you may have heard, New York State and New York City are taking aggressive steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Queens. As a vital part of the Queens community, St. John’s is assisting in this effort by increasing our surveillance testing initiatives,” both emails said.
As of Oct. 7 there are 12 reported cases active in the campus community, with four students isolating in campus housing in St. Vincent’s Hall, according to the University website. As of Sept. 10 the website has been updated to only report cases via the “reporting dashboard,” as opposed to individual updates that include contract tracing and quarantine details.
This is a developing story. Please check back for more updates.