Update On Stony Brook Southampton Campus

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Update, March 8, 5:39 PM:

Rick Gatteau, vice president for student affairs and Dean of Students, has released a statement affirming the nearby Stony Brook Southampton campus would house students returning from aboard who will be held in quarantine.

In an effort to help Stony Brook University students, and other SUNY students studying abroad in countries that have been designated by the US Department of State for Level 2 Travel Alerts and Level 3 Travel Warnings due to the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in those areas, SUNY, under the direction of the New York State Department of Health, urged all program participants in the impacted countries to return to New York and begin a 14-day precautionary quarantine either at home or at a designated residence hall.’

Gateau said students from Italy, Japan, and South Korea were among those in Southampton. “Stony Brook Southampton was selected as one of the locations for the precautionary quarantine because it has the facilities, services, technology, clinical and general staffing capabilities to accommodate NYS DOH precautionary quarantine guidelines,” he said.

The students arrived in the United States on Saturday evening. Twenty-two are currently housed in Southampton campus residence halls. The students were pre-screened and had no symptoms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. They are now undergoing the 14-day precautionary quarantine period (as would any traveler returning from Italy) as a preventative measure. There are 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. Each room contains a dedicated refrigerator and microwave. Food service will be delivered to each room following SUNY/NYS DOH guidance on food delivery procedures.

“Our first priority is the safety, health and welfare of all students, faculty, and staff who are currently residing on the Southampton campus, as well as for members of the broader community who live and work in the local area. We are working around the clock to ensure that contact with students who will undergo precautionary quarantine on campus will be limited to telehealth providers,” he added.


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Update, March 8, 2:04 PM:

By Sunday, March 8, things had crystallized further, despite the fact that state and SUNY officials were being criticized by some public officials for being vague about the details.

According to a memo attributed to SUNY and distributed to some local officials, “The final count was 22 students,” who were flown home from overseas on a charter jet, a precaution in case they were exposed to coronavirus although they reportedly subsequently tested negative for COVID-19, the dangerous strain responsible for the outbreak.

They attend FIT (19), SUNY (1), Plattsburgh (1), and Stony Brook (1) colleges. But although all 22 were set to arrive at the dorms at Stony Brook Southampton by Sunday, “expect some will be picked up by parents in the coming days,” according to the memo, it is not possible to surmise how many students will be on campus for the next two weeks.

“The state needs to communicate with the public on this matter,” Schneiderman said.

Update, March 7, 5:15 PM:

By Saturday afternoon, The Independent had confirmed that students flown in from Italy were in route to the Stony Brook Southampton campus.

Of the 72 college students recalled from overseas — some from China — none had tested positive for the virus but all faced quarantine. Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said more details would emerge after a conference call with Governor Andrew Cuomo this evening.

“I am not thrilled about this,” Schneiderman said, “but there is nothing I can do. It’s up to county health officials.”

As many as 17 students could be housed on campus, a source said; many believed to have chosen this site because they attend Stony Brook University. Some students will be given the opportunity to “self isolate” from home, Schneiderman said.

Governor Cuomo declared a State of Emergency to help speed testing operations and warned that price gouging — charging extra for needed items — is a crime.

Original story, March 6:

State officials acknowledged Friday, March 6, that students who may have been in China are on their way home — and face a 14-day quarantine at the Stony Brook University Southampton campus due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus.

SUNY schools have an active foreign study program that allows students to take courses all over the world. China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea are among those places where students have been recalled and may already be back in the country. Brockport, Buffalo State, and the local Stony Brook Southampton campus all have dormitory-type arrangements suitable for a two-week quarantine, a spokeswoman in Albany said.

Stony Brook Southampton officials could not be reached for comment and have not publicly confirmed the news as of 5:20 PM Friday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo mentioned Wednesday that SUNY and CUNY study-abroad students would be recalled and flown back to the country via private plane slated to land at Stewart Airport in Newburgh.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman is reportedly aware of the development and attempting to get more information.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele said Saturday morning, “There is nothing final but it is under consideration.”

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