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College at Brockport makes way for more study-abroad students entering quarantine

Mar 10, 2020

Credit Max Schulte / WXXI News

Another 13 State University of New York students who were studying abroad are now waiting out a two-week voluntary quarantine period at a dorm on the campus of The College at Brockport. 

That brings the total number of quarantined students in at Gordon Hall to 31. The latest group included students who were studying in Italy, South Korea, and Japan -- countries that are considered coronavirus hot spots. 

An initial group of 18 students arrived on campus over the weekend.  They are enrolled in various SUNY schools around the state.  A number of them are studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

The students all tested negative for the virus and are showing no symptoms of the illness, but they agreed to remain in isolation for 14 days.

"Obviously, they're disappointed that their study-abroad experience has come to an end, as anyone else would be," said college spokesperson John Follaco. "They've expressed gratitude to the community and to those who are reaching out to support them."

Shortly after the first student group arrived on the Brockport campus, which had a vacant dorm available to accommodate them, the village of Brockport and the town of Sweden contacted the college to see how they could help.

"The campus and the surrounding community obviously has some concerns (about the spread of the coronavirus)," said Follaco, "but what we've really been overwhelmed with is the support we're receiving from those groups."

By Monday, boxes of donated supplies started arriving at the college. They were filled with electric toothbrushes, snacks, books, magazines, and puzzles -- supplies to help quarantined students pass the time.

The college set up an email address, communitysupport@brockport.edu, and a web page to coordinate all the donations. Follaco said they're trying to coordinate specific student requests with the items that come in.

"We received an email from a parent of one of those students," he said. "Their student had sent the website that we had developed to their parents.  They sat on the phone and read the comments that had been coming in on the message board we established, and they both teared up."

One of the quarantined students is celebrating a birthday on Tuesday, and people from the colleged and the Brockport community presented her with wrapped gifts and a birthday cake.  Community members were invited to stand a safe distance outside her dorm room window and sing "Happy Birthday."

As of Tuesday afternoon, it was not clear if any more SUNY study-abroad students will be quarantined at The College at Brockport.