Updated March 8 at 4 p.m.: Twenty-two SUNY study-abroad students are being lodged in residence halls at the Stony Brook/Southampton campus, Stony Brook University announced today.
The students were flown back from Italy and arrived Saturday evening at JFK. They were pre-screened and had no symptoms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Richard J. Gatteau, the university’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students said in a memo to the university community.
“They are now undergoing the 14-day precautionary quarantine period (as would any traveler returning from Italy) as a preventative measure,” Gatteau wrote. “We are accommodating no more than three students per suite (each has an individual room) in residential buildings that are currently unoccupied in which there is no access permitted to enter the building, allowing for this precautionary isolation protocol. “
Some of the students being recalled from SUNY study-abroad programs in China, Italy, Japan, Iran and South Korea may be quarantined at Stony Brook University’s Southampton campus.
Stony Brook was identified by state health officials as one of three SUNY campus “resources” that could be tapped to house the students.
Reports that returning students would be quarantined at the Southampton campus began to circulate yesterday.
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who had heard of that plan, said yesterday he was trying to get details. He said he had received no official confirmation that Stony Brook/Southampton would house some returning study-abroad students and if that was the plan, there was no word on how many would be brought there and no details about housing arrangements or quarantine protocols.
“I know it is being considered as a location for up to 35 students,” Schneiderman said yesterday afternoon, adding “I am hopeful that it will not make the cut.”
At a press briefing today, state officials said only some of the returning students would all be placed in dormitory settings, as originally announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday.
The state is in the process of contacting the individual students to determine whether or not they have an option to self-quarantine at home when they return or whether they will need to be housed in a facility, Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior advisor to the governor, said today at a press briefing in Albany.
“We’ve not identified, necessarily, specific facilities where we know that individual students are going to go,” Garvey said. “What we’ve done is, we’ve identified available resources at a number of campuses,” she said. “There are resources at Brockport, resources at Buffalo State, resources at Stony Brook.”
At least some of the “resources” identified at Stony Brook include dormitory rooms at the university’s Southampton campus, according to some officials. But as of this morning, Schneiderman said he still had not confirmed anything.
“I still haven’t gotten anything definitive,” he said. The number of possible students who might be isolated in Southampton might “quite likely” three, not 30, — maybe even zero, he said today.
Sen. Ken LaValle’s office also acknowledged that they had heard the the Southampton campus might house returning students.
“We are still trying to get the facts on this. This plan is from the governor’s office and we are waiting to see the plan,” LaValle’s chief of staff Joann Scalia said today.
A spokesperson for County Executive Steve Bellone referred an inquiry to the state health department.
The governor’s office did not respond to a request for information.
At a press briefing on Wednesday, Cuomo said SUNY and CUNY study-abroad students would be flown to New York on a chartered plane that would land at Stewart Airport in Newburgh. He did not say when the flight would arrive.
The students would then be quarantined for 14 days in dormitory settings, Cuomo said during the Wednesday briefing.
“We’ll then stay in touch with them after the 14 days and do follow-up work,” the governor said.
Cuomo announced at two separate press briefings today that the state has confirmed 22 additional coronavirus cases, bringing New York’s total confirmed cases to 44. Thirty-four are in Westchester, four are in New York City, two are in Rockland County and three are in Nassau.
Five of the 33 confirmed cases are hospitalized, Cuomo said.
The number of precautionary quarantines is at 4,000 statewide, the governor said. Most are in New York City (2,700) and Westchester (1,000).
There are 44 mandatory quarantines statewide, officials said: 33 in Westchester, nine in New York City, 1 in Nassau County and 1 in Erie County.
“I’m urging that people understand the information and not the hype,” the governor said.
“All the experts say 80% will self-resolve, 20% may get ill, may require hospitalization. And it’s most problematic for senior citizens, people with immune-compromised situations and people with an underlying illness,” Cuomo said.
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