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SUNY Brockport quarantines students returning from Italy

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BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) – Students returning from a study aboard program in Italy Saturday night will be quarantined in dorms at the SUNY Brockport campus as a precaution against the COVID-19 or coronavirus.

According to a letter from SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson, 18 students will be placed in Gordon Hall, which is currently unoccupied and has been prepared for the quarantine. The students will be secluded here for 14 days.

This comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the return of students from CUNY and SUNY schools studying aboard in areas affected by the coronavirus.

SUNY Brockport was selected as a hosting site for these students and Saturday night those students are expected to arrive on campus.

Those on SUNY Brockport campus are first hearing about the quarantine hours before students aboard in Italy are expected to arrive.

“I personally do not have a problem with it. I heard other people who like don’t want to come in because of it but I think that’s just because they’re like scared from the hype,” said Alden Cayea, a Brockport student.

The Monroe County Health Department and Brockport University leaders are working together to maintain the quarantine.

“Our local health department will maintain all authority over the terms of the quarantine which means that I’ve had the opportunity to go through the site make sure it’s adequate. We are going to be enforcing a very strict quarantine, we are not going to be letting the individuals unfortunately be leaving,” said Dr. Michael Mendoza, Monroe County pubic health commissioner.

The students will have strict rules, according to a letter. Once in the dorms students will have no physical contact with anyone including their suite-mates and health staff.

They must keep doors closed at all times. Meals and other essential items will be delivered and placed outside suite doors. Students can only leave their room to get supplies and use the bathroom but are required to wear face masks. They can not leave the building. 

According to a letter from the SUNY Brockport president:

“Dear Brockport Community: I am writing to confirm that SUNY Brockport will host several study abroad students returning back from Italy who left the country due to the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. They are due to arrive on campus later tonight and will be housed at Gordon Hall.  These students have been screened and show zero symptoms of the Coronavirus and are undergoing this precautionary quarantine period, as would any traveler returning from Italy, as a preventative measure for a period of 14-days.  While here, SUNY will spare no expense to make sure these students are provided with every resource needed to make their precautionary quarantine period as comfortable as possible.  We are working very closely with local and state health departments to ensure these students are frequently monitored and screened.   Our first priority is the safety, health, and welfare of all students, faculty, staff, and local residents.  Gordon Hall is currently unoccupied, meaning these students undergoing precautionary quarantine will not come into contact with any Brockport students during their stay.   Please be assured that we will continue to provide you with information as frequently as possible.  Many thanks for your understanding, patience, and cooperation as we work to support all SUNY students impacted by travel restrictions. Sincerely, President Macpherson” 

Health officials stress that this is no reason to panic.

“This isn’t anything new, in many ways it’s a lot easier because they’re all in the same place but again I want to emphasize these are healthy individuals and that there is no added risk to the volunteers who are going to be here to the staff who are going to be here and to the campus at large,” said Dr. Mendoza.

In total, the college is expecting to quarantine 18 students in dorms at Gordon Hall on SUNY Brockport campus.

Officials say the students left Rome, Italy, on Saturday at around 8 a.m.

The bus of students arrived to SUNY Brockport campus during the early morning hours on Sunday.

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