Members of the UR community arriving from international locations are now required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New York State.
In compliance with Monroe County Health Department’s requirements, this new guidance became effective on Aug. 23, replacing the University’s previous guidance regarding international travel published on Aug. 11. The Aug. 11 update included the Aug. 6 CDC quarantine guidelines, which did not require international students who were asymptomatic to quarantine. Undergraduates who were impacted by this guidance were contacted by UR and those who needed to quarantine had the option to sign a form on the Residential Life website.
Senior Mohammad Bin Masood said the first time he heard about the policy change was on Aug. 21 in the “International Students – University of Rochester” Facebook group — the same day he arrived in New York State.
“Late at night, there was an update saying that people who are arriving on […] the 22 in New York State have to quarantine,” Bin Masood said. Despite his arriving the day prior, when he arrived on campus on Aug. 24 he was told he needed to quarantine when checking in at the Goergen Athletic Center.
“It was quite a shock for me,” Bin Masood said. “A couple of days ago, I was told that I would have to quarantine, and then it said I wouldn’t have to quarantine […] I was fully prepared to settle in on-campus.”
On Aug. 28, an email from the International Services Office (ISO) was sent out with an apology issued to the international community for the sudden, inconvenient change. Along with the apology was an explanation for the abrupt change in guidelines.
“After considerable back-and-forth with the [Monroe County Health Department] for most of last week […] we moved quickly to develop and implement a plan to engage with newly arriving travelers who would be affected by [the new guidance],” Vice Provost for Global Engagement Jane Gatewood wrote to SA representatives in an email shared with Campus Times. “We established the date of an August 23 campus arrival to allow a very modest amount of time to message students who were no doubt already en route.” Dr. Gatewood also said that she and Molly Jolliff, Director of International Student Engagement, were directly engaged with travelers who were already “en route” on Sunday.
Bin Masood said the support the University gave during his quarantine was “pretty good.” Associate Director of the UR CARE Network Kaitlin Legg and Jolliff frequently reached out to him to ask how he was doing, and the University delivered him food for most of the two-week period.
In an email sent to CT, Dr. Gatewood said that she shared the international student community’s “frustration with the situation.” She also mentioned that the Climate and Care team was working to meet new emerging needs.
“We very much regret that we had so little time to notify them,” Dr. Gatewood said. “We hope that [the international students] accept our regrets that their arrival in Rochester was not as we had all anticipated.”