WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) – Mayor Muriel Bowser’s new travel order is impacting the way Universities reopen this fall. While some colleges are going 100% virtual learning, others are bringing students to campus.
The District’s new order will require students moving to D.C. from coronavirus hotspots to quarantine for two weeks.
The District’s Health Department has identified 27 high-risk states where the virus is spiking including Florida, California, and North Carolina.
Emma Hudson is a highschool graduate about to start a very unique freshman year experience at American University.. with a hybrid of online and in-person classes. She’s moving to the district from one of those high-risk regions – Orlando, Florida.
“I’m from a hot spot state and people in my state are being introduced to COVID at a high rate, and numbers are going up. I have to worry about other people and who they’ve exposed themselves too, so it’s very concerning,” said Hudson.
Alex Drakeford is also an incoming freshman at AU from another coronavirus hotspot, North Carolina.
“Coming from North Carolina, I just know we’re not in the best situation right now… with the new quarantine order, I’m really concerned and nervous about coming to AU,” said Drakeford.
According to D.C’s new travel order, both incoming freshmen will need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. But where will they need to quarantine?
“I hope it will be in my dorm… they haven’t said quite yet. I do know American University does have some quarantine only dorms,” said Drakeford.
Drakeford and Hudson tell Fox5 the university has not communicated an exact plan of action upon arrival especially for students coming from states where the virus is spiking. But they say AU has designated separate residence halls for those who show symptoms or test positive for coronavirus.
“If one of us gets exposed, they’ll have a separate building for quarantine, no contact, food delivery only, so it’s kind of intense,” said Hudson.
A university spokesperson did release a statement:
“American University is reviewing Mayor Bowser’s July 24 order requiring travelers, including college students, from coronavirus high-risk areas to self-quarantine for 14 days. We will be determining the appropriate next steps and working with our community in the coming days.”
But with the fall semester starting in just a matter of weeks, concern is high.
“Students still go out to grocery stores, dining halls, so my concern is will testing be periodic, will we have access to it, and will it be free for students?” said Hudson.
“For me personally, I do have asthma so I can’t afford to get coronavirus cause of my pre-existing condition,” said Drakeford.
Despite the uncertainty about how their fall semester will start, both students are grateful to be coming on campus.
“I’m concerned about how I’ll protect myself, but I’m excited about in-person learning, so I’m just going to take it one day at a time,” said Hudson.
Meanwhile, Howard University provided some answers for FOX 5. A spokesperson said the university will test students regularly for Covid19. Students will be asked to self-quarantine In their individual dorm room (singles). The university has reserved an allotment of rooms for quarantine of any students, as needed.
If a student tests positive, then they will follow CDC guidelines and quarantine in their room. Arrangements will be made for their dining services to be delivered and provided to them. We’re also told there will be a separate area for students who test positive.