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Long Island students ordered home from 'watch countries' because of coronavirus

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the evacuation of

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the evacuation of about 300 students from five "watch countries," including students from the State University of New York and City University of New York. Credit: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo/Mike Groll

Students from Stony Brook, Farmingdale State and Old Westbury are among about 300 New York students and faculty being evacuated from study-abroad programs in five “watch countries” affected by the coronavirus.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the evacuation Wednesday, which includes students from the State University of New York and City University of New York. Two students who attend a private college on Long Island also are returning home.

Cuomo said the state is recalling students studying in China, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy. They will be flown back on chartered planes to New York Stewart International Airport in New Windsor and quarantined for 14 days in a dormitory setting.

The students will be placed in dorms, including on Long Island, though the sites have not been announced.

“We’ll then stay in touch with them after the 14 days and do follow-up work," Cuomo said.

SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson said study-abroad programs in the impacted countries had been suspended.

“We will provide students with financial and academic resources and work to minimize any disruption today's action may cause, while we work aggressively with all our partners at the local, state and federal level to protect our entire campus communities,” Johnson said.

Some 30 students of Stony Brook University, studying in Korea and Italy, are among those coming back, school officials said. The officials noted the school system will work closely with local health departments to provide medical monitoring, remote course study and other resources to help students during the quarantine period.

In addition, Stony Brook announced it will suspend its summer study abroad program in China this year.

Elsewhere, Farmingdale State College has one student coming back from Italy, said Patrick Calabria, a vice president at the school. In addition, the school is adding 100 hand bacteria cleaning dispensers around the campus, bringing the total to 335, and making extra efforts to clean public areas such as the lobby, cafeteria, hallways and classrooms, he said.

Also, two students of Old Westbury College will be coming back from South Korea, and the school has canceled its summer study-abroad program in Wuyi University in China, officials said.

Cuomo said private schools will make their own decisions on whether to recall students, and some have. Molloy College, a school in Rockville Centre, has two students heading home from Florence, school spokesman Ken Young said. The students have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days, and they are expected to finish their studies online, he said.

The students arrange their own semesters abroad and pay for their own transportation, he said.

"We've canceled almost everything this semester in terms of study abroad travel," Young said.

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