New campus quarantine enforced at Union for two weeks


Sydney Lewis, co-News Editor

On Sunday January 17, an email was sent to the Union College community with new guidelines and restrictions that will be enforced during a two-week campus quarantine which was put into effect that night at 5pm. This will be enforced until Sunday January 31 at 5pm. This development came after 27 COVID-19 positive cases among students and 7 positive cases between faculty and staff. indicating that there had been community spread among residential students, both on and off campus. Twelve of the positive cases were from tests conducted on Friday January 15. According to the Union College COVID-19 Dashboard as of January 20, 56 students have tested positive for COVID-19 since January 1, 2020. As per the New York State guidelines, if 100 positive cases are reported within a two-week period in-person activities will be suspended for a minimum of two weeks.

The new guidelines dictate that students must not leave campus premises under any circumstances for the next two weeks, unless their request is approved. This means that the students living on-campus will not be permitted to visit any restaurants, gyms, off-campus apartments of Union students, grocery stores, etc. The students living off-campus in turn will not be allowed to visit any on-campus residential halls. Students  have been asked to the wear masks in the residence halls at all times except when in their own room without a guest. Each student can have only one guest from the same residential hall in their residential unit at a time while both are masked and socially distant, according to the email. The in-person classes are to continue as they were however the instructors are to maintain records of the seating arrangement and check the Emocha badge while the students are not permitted to lower their mask during class even if it is to drink water or eat food. 

As of January 18, there are currently 1748 students who are attending an “in-person” term at Union, according to Fran’Cee Brown-McClure, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “It is important to keep in mind that these numbers are changing constantly,” Brown-McClure said. 97 students remain in quarantine and 46 are in isolation.  When asked about the location of the Union arranged quarantine and isolation Brown-McClure told Concordiensis that students isolate at “ one of two hotels in the capital region”  and quarantine at “one of three hotels in the Schenectady area”.

A video of President David Harris was shared with the email along with the message to continue to refer to the Union Where You Are website which is constantly being updated with new information. Questions can also be emailed to [email protected] if they were not answered within the initial email or webinar. Following the restrictions from the beginning of the term, Brezanno Fitness Center will remain closed and Schaffer Library will be operating on a limited basis for students. A new addition to campus are fire pits and a frisbee golf course for students to keep engaging with each other in a safe and socially distant manner.