Stevens Student Tests Positive for Coronavirus; Students Required to Vacate Housing By March 27
(ABOVE: image via Stevens Institute of Technology)
News has reached the Stevens community that a student at the Hoboken university has tested positive for Coronavirus.
According to an advisory from Marybeth Murphy, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
“The best information we have at this time is that the individual is a commuter student from Bergen County who last attended in-person classes on campus on Friday, March 6, 2020. We will be notifying students and instructors in those classes and recommend that they monitor their health closely.”
Murphy adds, “We have also learned that the only location on campus that the student visited after March 6, was the Theta Xi House and we have already notified the members of Theta Xi that the individual last visited the house on March 12th and became symptomatic on Friday, March 13, 2020. At this time, the student is recovering well.”
Stevens has been in touch with the Hoboken and Bergen County Health Departments. The Hoboken Health Department advised Stevens to instruct members of Theta Xi to self-isolate immediately through at least Friday, March 27, 2020. If they experience any COVID-19 symptoms, they are to contact their healthcare professional and report that they may have had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
The Theta Xi House is located at 805 Castle Point Terrace. hMAG had received photos taken Friday March 20 of individuals outside that address in white hazmat suits, joined by Police Officers. Stevens has reportedly closed and disinfected the Theta Xi house and at this time the house is only accessible by Stevens Police and those who are thoroughly disinfecting the house.
Castle Point Terrace is a mix of residential and student housing adjacent to the campus.
Yesterday, hMAG reported that Stevens will require ALL students to fully vacate on- and off-campus housing by March 27. This move has prompted a lot of concerns, as it seems counter-intuitive to the regional directive to self-isolate in an effort to contain COVID-19.
“Not only is Stevens asking students to leave, but they are asking students who have already left to come back into Hoboken,” says one concerned student. Many Stevens students have already left the campus as all classes are to be conducted online for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester. With the latest news, those concerns are certainly underscored. “This only confirms the danger of having students return to campus, as there are surely more students who have yet to show symptoms but may be able to spread the virus.”
In an email received late last night, Stevens Director of Public Relations Thania Benios tells hMAG, “During the process, Stevens will permit only a handful of move-outs in each building at one time and will limit move-outs within rooms and apartments to one person at a time. If students and their families are not in a position to come to campus and gather their belonging, Stevens will assist with having a student’s belongings packed and either put in storage or shipped to them.”
Benios adds, “Students who have questions regarding moving their belongings out of residence halls or Stevens leased housing in Hoboken should review the guidelines provided in yesterday’s (March 19) update announcement on Stevens COVID-19 website. Though many students and their families prefer to retrieve their belonging and move home—which also reduces the demand on Hoboken’s health care system—accommodations are being considered for students with extenuating circumstances. Assistance and/or extensions will be provided to those that are not in a position to retrieve their belongings by March 27.”
In a statement released Friday, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said, “While Hoboken cannot lawfully rescind certain aspects of the Stevens order, I strongly suggest those students and parents make that request to delay moving out if they so wish, due to COVID-19 concerns.”
No official word from Stevens on what impact, if any, this latest news will have on the March 27 move out deadline.