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Some resident students will be required to quarantine upon arrival to campus regardless of COVID-19 test results, University says

Resident students who are coming from one of the 33 states and U.S. territories on New Jersey’s 14-day quarantine travel advisory list will be required to quarantine even if they test negative for the coronavirus upon arriving on campus, according to a new FAQ posted by the University.

According to the School’s Housing and Residence Life FAQ page, the quarantine order for students coming from any state identified as having an elevated spread of COVID-19 is because of new guidance from the New Jersey that indicated quarantining at home in any of the states on the list would not be sufficient.   

“When students arrive on campus, they will first be tested for COVID-19. Assuming the test is negative, they will be able to move all their belongings into their assigned room,” the website reads. “They then will take what they need for 14 days and go to the quarantine room. After 14 days they will return to the assigned room for the remainder of the semester.”

The guidance allows for students to quarantine off-campus at another location in New Jersey, noting that documentation such as a “hotel receipt” or a “plane ticket showing when you arrived” would be sufficient evidence of a student’s in-state quarantine.

Currently, New Jersey’s advisory applies to states where the positive COVID-19 test rate is higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or where there is a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average. Unlike other states such as New York, New Jersey does not legally mandate that residents from these states quarantine upon arrival but says compliance with the order is expected.

According to the University, the quarantine will not be a strict isolation and students who are forced to quarantine will still be allowed to walk outside, get food and speak to others on-campus so long as the quarantined student abides by proper social distancing and sanitary guidelines such as handwashing, mask wearing and maintaining six feet of distance between themselves and others.

Leaving campus will be prohibited for quarantined students until they have completed the quarantine period.

Students who do not follow the quarantine regulations will be “subject to disciplinary sanction,” though it is currently unclear what these sanctions may entail.

Seton Hall recently updated its student code of conduct giving it broad authority to sanction students who violate university and public health guidelines set in place to limit the spread of infectious diseases.

Students may be disciplined for not following any federal, state or local public health order and requires that when those orders conflict students follow the most restrictive rule available according to the updated code, which is set to go into effect on Aug. 15.

Students can also be penalized for failing to follow any University or campus department rule related to mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

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“We know this quarantine is not the way any of us would want you to have start your first weeks on campus, but we all need to work together for the health and well-being of our community,” the University’s website reads. “We take that – your health and well-being – seriously.”

The guidelines come as the University prepares to welcome back its first resident students of the fall academic semester on Sunday after announcing on Aug. 7 that they would close Serra, Neumann and Cabrini halls in order to provide single-occupancy rooms to accommodate the new quarantine order.  

Nicholas Kerr can be reached at Find him on Twitter @nickdotkerr.


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