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Stony Brook closing campus in the wake of virus outbreak

Posted: 8:04 PM, Mar 19, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-19 20:04:48-04

STONY BROOK, L.I. — In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, colleges and universities are being told to leave campuses across the country.

Stony Brook University is one of the many institutions requiring students to evacuate in an effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

Travis Elmendorf is a senior at Stony Brook and was gearing up for a nearly 80-mile drive home to Rockland County after learning the campus will be closed.

“Of course it bothers me. I want to graduate with my friends my family obviously. I’m the first engineer in the family my parents really wanted to come here and see me graduate," he said.

"I’m more upset for them than I am for myself,” he added.

Stony Brook is among the many institutions across the country closing its campus and preparing for virtual classrooms. Students received this memo from Dean of Students Dr. Richard Gatteau early this week,

“All residents who live within driving distance of campus must vacate the residence halls and campus apartments as soon as possible, but no later than 5 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 19," it wrote. "All other residents must vacate as soon as possible, but no later than 5 p.m. EST on Friday, March 20.”

But after hearing about the concerns of the students, administrators decided to make some exceptions to ensure the safety of domestic and international students. With over 10,000 residents at stony brook, their goal is to reduce number to 2000 on campus to facilitate disinfecting resident halls .

”Our goal and having students move out is to reduce the number of triples and doubles in order to really model the social distancing we need to what we call decompress the campus and get people moved into single rooms,” Gatteau tells PIX11 News.

While there are no reports of confirmed cases on site, university health officials say that there have been students with flu like symptoms. They’re doing these best to provide them with health and wellness, especially those with special needs.

Students are also being given refunds on tuition and housing and food for the rest of the semester and as for graduation administrators say they’re going to make sure that students get their graduation ceremony.

“The chancellor just send out a note saying that we will gather everyone in person for commencement we don’t know when that will be but we will bring that up when the time is right,” Gatteau says.