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Cal Poly students living on campus to leave for break, not returning until winter quarter

Posted at 5:56 PM, Nov 20, 2020

Cal Poly students living on campus this quarter are packing up to go home for Thanksgiving and being asked to not return until next year.

Students have to be out of the dorms by 5 p.m. on Saturday, according to university officials.

While numbers Friday show quite a few still in quarantine for possible COVID-19 exposure, the university expects many of them will be heading home soon.

Normally, students get to go home and return after Thanksgiving break, but this year due to the pandemic and the spike in cases, the university had to make some changes.

"Travel promotes the spread of the virus so we wanted to encourage them to stay home and make it easy for them so we changed all operations to do that,” said Keith Humphrey, Vice President of Student Affairs at Cal Poly.

With more than 1,200 students isolating or quarantining on campus as of Friday due to possible COVID-19 exposure, Humphrey says only about 60 students are expected to stay on-campus for the rest of the quarter.

"Folks who stay, we consolidate them to one apartment building. We want to make sure that folks have access to their own bathrooms, their own kitchen facilities as services are limited on campus, so they're able to take care of themselves and our staff will still be on-site to be able to support them," Humphrey said.

All students returning home were asked to isolate themselves before leaving.

Quinn Casey, who lives in Seattle, says she will be flying out this Sunday and has been isolating for weeks after testing positive for the virus.

"I self-isolated in one of the quarantine campus spots and now I've just been staying in a small group and just keeping to myself," Casey said.

Different protocols will be implemented for students returning next year for the winter quarter.

"We will require all students to submit proof of a negative test somewhere between three and seven days prior to returning to campus,” Humphrey said.

He adds students will be tested within 24 hours of returning to campus and will also be tested at least twice within the first two weeks.

"Just like we don't want them to take any virus unintentionally home to family and friends, we don't want them to bring something back to SLO when the quarter starts in January,” he said.

University officials say the students currently in isolation or quarantine can leave campus once they’ve been given the okay to do so.

When students return next year, they will have more isolation spaces available in on-campus apartments.