International and Out-of-State Students Complete Mandatory Quarantine, Return to Campus
International students and students from restricted states completed their mandatory 14-day quarantine and returned to campus beginning Oct. 26. During their quarantine period, many students opted into Yeshiva University’s Quarantine Program, which provided for fully-paid hotel arrangements and other accommodations.
As a part of YU’s program, 49 students stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, a hotel located on 33rd Street near Beren Campus, for their isolation period. YU did not return a request to comment on the amount spent on the hotel for the students; according to the Hilton Garden Inn, the rate for 49 rooms for two weeks would be $89 per room, per night. This estimate totals over $61,000 and is a possible indicator of YU’s cost for the hotel. The meal plan in quarantine — subsidized by the university, and for which students were charged $20 per day — provided choices for three meals each day, as well as on Shabbat.
Students arrived at the hotel between Oct. 12 and Oct. 14, and YU staff distributed students’ room assignments and keys each evening. The offices of Student Life and University Housing and Residence, together with members of the YU administration, faculty and staff, provided a full program for the students at the hotel, including shiurim, mental-health support, fitness programs and virtual events.
The programming offered included daily men’s and women’s exercise classes, a Career Center LinkedIn challenge, virtual social events with fellow quarantining students, a virtual pre-Shabbat “schmooze” with President Ari Berman and daily video clips from the Counseling Center.
“It was important to us to know that we were promoting some of the basics of ‘healthy quarantining’ such as the importance of routine, exercise, embracing uncertainty, and thinking about values during hard times,” said Counseling Center Director Dr. Yael Muskat. “The importance of self care and focus on psychological flexibility and resilience is something we hope the students internalize and nurture as they return to campus.”
Some students appreciated the initiatives taken by YU during their two-week quarantine.“I think it’s good to have things to occupy students because it can get really boring to be in a room by yourself all day,” said Neeli Fagan (SCW ‘21), a student from Chicago who ended her quarantine on Oct. 26. “YU’s taking care of us, giving us food and taking our temperatures every day. They gave us a really nice package of stuff to keep us entertained when we first got here. Overall, it’s been a pretty smooth process.”
“Things at the hotel are great, or at least as good as they could be,” shared Joseph Yellin (SSSB ‘23) during his quarantine. “The school is really doing their best with the cards they were given.”
Unlike the rest of the students who returned to campus on Oct. 21, those who quarantined at the hotel will not need to take a COVID-19 test since they were already administered one about three days after arriving in New York.
At the end of the quarantine period, the students were given transportation from the hotel to their respective dorms. On campus, all students must follow YU’s COVID-19 Code of Behavior by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and frequently washing their hands and using hand sanitizer, as well as receiving a saliva COVID-19 test twice a week.
“In general, we were so gratified and impressed to see how well the students adjusted to quarantine,” commented Muskat. “I believe it speaks volumes about the inner strength and determination of the YU students to participate and be part of the YU community, even through the hardships.”
Photo Caption: International and out-of-state students moved onto campus beginning on Oct. 26.
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University