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The Coronavirus Travel Ban Has Made it Challenging for Some Students to Return to Campus

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

By: Jade McClinton-Dorley

As confirmed cases of the coronavirus—now officially called COVID-19 by the World Health Organization—continue to rise, while as of this writing no cases have yet to reach New York, Adelphi’s Garden City campus has been impacted. Students from China got caught in the travel ban that was set in place to stop the virus from spreading, just as they were supposed to return to classes this semester. This situation has affected other college campuses in the area as well.

Wendy Badala, director of International Services, confirmed that for several students, the travel ban restricted their travel from mainland China. For some, that may mean missing the entire semester.

“Depending on the individual student and their academic program, International Services and Academic Services are working to determine when each student will be able to return,” Badala said. “Some of the students will be able to resume their studies in the summer, and others in the fall. We are currently working with each student individually to identify alternative educational methods, such as online and independent studies, in order to maintain their connection with their academic program and keep them on track.”

One Panther who successfully made it to Adelphi before the air travel restrictions is Yufeng Dong, a visiting scholar who first arrived in New York on January 27.

“After I arrived at Hempstead, I stayed at home for almost two weeks voluntarily, in case I was infected with coronavirus,” Dong said, adding that she also wore a mask as a preventative measure. “The International Center asked me to have a physical examination in the Health Center before my orientation meeting with Wendy. I really thought it was necessary and reasonable, as well as understandable.”

Dong shared that she had an extremely pleasant experience in Health Services. “The doctor was very nice and said that I could take off my mask the moment she met me. I was touched by this because she did not see me as a ‘potential virus.’ She said that I was healthy. After that, I had a successful orientation meeting on February 12 with Wendy.”

Dong said that luckily the travel restrictions have had no impact on her semester and life here on campus.

In the meantime, with fears of the spread of this new virus—that had not been previously identified in humans—still a concern, people may be wondering what precautions Adelphi will take to protect students.

Todd Wilson, Adelphi’s strategic communications director, said, “Health Services immediately connected with local and state health departments to make sure our procedures were in line with their recommendations along with those of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Those who had recently returned from mainland China were screened and Health Services will continue to offer its services to students and share information with all of campus.”

As for what the next couple of months hold, Wilson said, “Our task force will continue to meet regularly and monitor developments that might affect campus, and of course we will stay in touch with health authorities to make sure our practices remain in line with current recommendations.”

He added, “If anyone doesn’t feel well, we suggest they stay at home. Students can consult Health Services, and faculty and staff should see their own health care provider.”

COVID-19 causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever and in more severe cases, pneumonia. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face. Use hand sanitizer. If you are sick, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. If you feel sick, don’t play it off as nothing because that’s how other people get sick. Make sure to get checked out. Stay safe and well-informed, Panthers.

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