ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Strict covid quarantine and lockdown policies in China are forcing international students studying here in Rochester to alter their winter break plans by choosing not to go home.  

Even though most of these students haven’t been home in over a year, if they followed all covid protocols and tested negative, they’d still have to spend more than half the break quarantined to follow the law. Risking financial losses for their families and missing school.   

For Martin Liu, a junior at the University of Rochester from Beijing, going home for a break is not worth it. Since it’s unknown how long and where he’d have to isolate if he tested positive.  

“Police Officers or some agents with a hospital will take you to a hospital and you will stay there,” Liu said. “And no one knows what’s going to happen. I’m just going to be taken away is all I know.”  

Simply entering the country and then getting to Beijing requires him to go through weeks of quarantine. 

“I have to fly first to Chang Hi, I have to spend 14 days in a hotel being locked there,” Liu added. “They’ll provide some food for me and after 14 days I’m released to Beijing, but after I arrive to Beijing, I’d have to be locked in my own house for seven days.”  

Katrina Kang, who’s from Jilin City is also studying at U of R. Because current laws require anyone in close contact with a positive case must also quarantine, she chose to stay back over concerns about her parents missing work. 

“Income has been impacted by the covid policies,” Kang told us. “Every time there’s a case in like a grocery store or the entire company has to quarantine and shut down for a few days.” 

If students get caught up in that, some fear they’ll be late coming back for the new semester on time.  

“We do have students in that situation,” Kang continued. “So, last year the University provided online options for us. Because we have to follow China’s national policy. We can’t just come back to the U.S. if that’s the case.”  

Each student we spoke to said they and their friends already made housing arrangements with each other or the University to have a place to go over break. When Summer comes, they hope policies will be more relaxed to try and visit then.