Six cases of coronavirus in a freshman dorm at NYU caused the building to be placed on mandatory quarantine this week. This comes as the school ramped up testing protocols to help negate the transmission of the novel coronavirus.
“Last week’s ongoing testing in Rubin Hall indicated six (6) positive cases out of the approximately 400 students living there. We have isolated all the students with positive findings and quarantined their close contacts, in line with our protocols. Out of an abundance of caution, we are also retesting all residents of Rubin Hall (and employees, too), and instructed them on Saturday to begin quarantining until at least Tuesday night,” reads a Monday statement from NYU officials and the NYU COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team.
The school officials said in the statement they are working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to determine the next steps, which may include extending the quarantine.
John Beckman, a spokesperson for the school, said in a statement that meals are being provided for quarantined students and fall semester classes have remote learning capabilities.
At least 20 NYU students have been recently suspended for not adhering to coronavirus rules after the university was scrutinized by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not breaking up a party over Labor Day weekend in Washington Square Park, a public park near the college dormitories. But students again gathered there this past weekend, with many not wearing masks in the park, according to TV outlet Fox 5 NY.
However, it has not been confirmed that the students who contracted the virus were at the weekend parties.
“Some activities in Washington Square Park have emerged as a matter of concern. During the past couple of weekends in the evening, the park has been home to the kind of unsafe activities that have led to the spread of COVID-19 in other settings — large crowds with spotty mask-wearing and physical distancing,” the school officials addressed in a statement on Monday.
“We will continue to directly message our students about our own health rules, and specifically about the risk of large crowds and about the unsafe activities that have been occurring on weekend nights in the park,” it added.
Social distancing has become an issue on college campuses during this pandemic.
“It is developmental and multi-determined. In college, you have kids who are free for the first time and they will often recklessly take advantage of that fact. They are usually quite naive about dangers such as over drinking, speeding, sexual freedom, and now flirting with COVID,” Dr. Tom Ferraro, a psychologist on Long Island, N.Y., told Fox News.
“In a way, they are demonstrating the famous line at the end of the film ‘Cold Mountain’ starring Jude Law. The line was uttered by the young villain at a shootout when he was asked what advantage he had over the hero. As he pulled his gun out of his holster he simply said, ‘What I have, my friend, is the confidence of youth.’ Those in their twenties usually have this special ingredient of ‘the confidence of youth’ and sadly it can sometimes get them killed,” he added.
Ferraro told Fox News that one way to mitigate this risk is to “use educational marketing techniques which show 20-somethings being sick with COVID being in hospitals and dying. This coupled with scenes of how to party responsibly i.e., wearing masks when dancing, etc., may help in some way.”