More than 20 New York University students have been suspended for breaking the school’s new coronavirus policies as colleges around the country grapple with how to keep young adults from spreading COVID-19.
NYU said in a Twitter post Saturday that more than 20 students had been suspended. The school did not provide details on the student suspensions, but tweeted the update after less than a week of in-person instruction.
“Please don’t be the next. Avoid parties and bars,” the school said. “Wear a mask. Keep your distance.”
The announcement from NYU came as hundreds of young people partied on Saturday night in Washington Square Park — near the school’s Manhattan campus — many of them not wearing masks, NBC New York reports.
Students of the prestigious private university were required to get tested for COVID-19 before moving into the dorms, where they then were told to quarantine for 14 days prior to the start of in-person courses.
NYU’s coronavirus response already made headlines after students posted on social media the subpar meals provided during the quarantine period, expressing frustration at the poor quality of food given while they were in forced isolation.
Other American universities have also struggled to adapt to the new realities of in-person learning during a pandemic. Northeastern University in Boston said Friday that it dismissed 11 students who were “in violation of university and public health protocols that prohibit crowded gatherings.”
The first-year students were among 800 in a study-abroad program who are currently staying in two-person rooms at a Westin Hotel. The dismissed students were asked to vacate the hotel and the student’s tuition fees will not be refundable, the university said.
Critics of the school’s decision argued that the students were being punished for policies that were always likely to fail.
“Social distancing is a good practice that everyone should follow, but it’s patently ridiculous to plan a pandemic strategy around college students, some of whom have been ‘adults’ for a matter of weeks, following mask mandates, social distancing rules & event/gathering bans 24/7,” one Twitter user wrote.
Madeleine Estabrook, Northeastern’s senior vice chancellor for student affairs, said in a statement that cooperation was essential.
“Those people who do not follow the guidelines — including wearing masks, avoiding parties and other gatherings, practicing healthy distancing, washing your hands, and getting tested — are putting everyone else at risk,” Estabrook said.
Coronavirus outbreaks have been reported at multiple universities that have reopened for in-person learning in recent weeks, including Notre Dame and UNC-Chapel Hill. The thousands of positive coronavirus cases at college campuses has led the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to recommend that schools not send students home for fear of further spreading the disease nationwide.