By: Yosef Lemel  | 

On-Campus Housing Move-In Delayed to Oct. 21 Due to Uptick in COVID-19 Cases

Yeshiva University delayed its starting move-in date for on-campus housing from Oct. 12 to Oct. 21, according to an email sent by President Ari Berman to the undergraduate student body on Oct. 1. 

Citing rising COVID-19 infection rates in New York City and the Orthodox Jewish community over the past few weeks, and the “communal gatherings… likely to take place over the last days of Sukkot,” Berman pointed to “the need for extra caution” in the “timing and method” of reopening YU’s campuses. “This will enable members of our community who are coming to campus to be tested after the Simchat Torah holiday to ameliorate the effects of the spread [chas ve-shalom] that may potentially happen over the holidays,” he said.

Yonatan Raskin (YC ‘21), a head resident adviser (RA) on the Wilf Campus, told The Commentator that he views the updated schedule as a positive development. “It allows us, the RA team, to have a more adequate amount of time to come to campus and set up the dorms to be as hospitable and as normal as possible as well as potentially serve as a dry run to see how well the dorming model will work,” he said. 

“I trust YU to act responsibly to protect the safety of its students, and if that means delaying move in then that’s what needs to be done,” said David Schmidt (SSSB ‘21), who will be a resident of Morgenstern Hall. “But I’m disappointed that there will be even less time I get to spend on campus.” 

In his email, Berman also noted that, following the guidance of YU Medical Director Dr. Robert van Amerongen, YU updated its protocols to require that all students coming to campus receive a PCR Nasal Swab COVID-19 test no earlier than Oct. 15. Students who come to campus must also receive “ongoing saliva PCR testing.” These tests will be in addition to regular temperature checks and other screening measures. 

Berman expressed that the university is “better positioned ... for a safe return to campus” through the experience of testing its protocols with the “in-person opening of [YU’s] high schools and some select graduate schools.” 

Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB), which started the semester with in-person classes, announced on Sept. 24 that it would shift to online classes until after Sukkot, in consultation with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The shift came on the heels of multiple COVID-19 infections of students and faculty members. YUHSB most recently notified its students that it would begin in-person classes on Oct. 21, the same date as YU’s scheduled reopening. 

YU announced on Sept. 15 that students from a list of restricted states and international students signed up for on-campus housing will need to quarantine for 14 days. Students in quarantine can opt to stay in an off-site hotel near the Beren Campus, all paid for by YU excluding “extra charges” and potential damages. Berman assured students who are staying in the hotel that they “do NOT need to change any of their plans.” After the 14-day quarantine period, students will be able to “move straight into the dorms.”

In accordance with state guidelines, each quarantined student will have their own room and bathroom. Additionally, quarantined students will be charged a $20 flat-rate per day for three meals per day, adding a $280 charge to their meal plan. Students were told to arrive between Oct. 12 and 14.

Berman emphasized the need for universal community compliance with health regulations. “The way we behave individually and as a community will certainly be a key determining factor in our success this semester,” he expressed, “both in the way we consider the potential effects of our actions on our own health, and perhaps even more so, in the way our actions could potentially impact the health and safety of those who are around us.” 

Sruli Fruchter contributed to this story.

Photo Credit: Yosef Lemel 
Photo Caption: YU’s move-in dates for online housing have been delayed.