The Quad at York announced on October 1 that they are suspending residents’ ability to host any outside guests, in order to inhibit the spread of COVID-19. The Quad itself reported three COVID-19 cases earlier this semester, which have now been resolved. The new restriction has come down in an effort to maintain physical distancing, and prevent more cases.
“We are pleased to report that there are currently no positive cases at the Quad,” says Scott Labron, general manager of the residence. “To assist with the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in our community, the Quad has taken steps to align our visitor policies with York’s resident policies for the duration of the current restrictions.”
For residents of the Quad, this new precaution is just one of many that have changed their living experience.
“I’ve been living here since September, and COVID-19 measures are very serious,” says Rohit Prabhakaran, a third-year computer science student. “The gym, which would normally be open 24 hours a day, is closed. It was open for a very short period of time with restricted hours and very few pieces of equipment before the second wave hit. It sucks it’s closed again, and the guest policy too has disrupted my life.”
Prabhakaran further expressed how the Quad’s situation can be more complicated due to travel concerns.
“It’s tricky though, because many of the residents here like myself are international students, and while travelling to and from their home countries they could be potential carriers,” he says. “That’s another reason why the Quad is very strict with the measures.”
The Quad’s new visitor suspension comes in tandem with rising case counts and stricter rules across the province. On October 9, Ontario reached a record of 939 new cases, and Ottawa, Toronto, and Peel have been moved back into a modified version of Stage Two restrictions. This means lower gathering capacities and the closing of indoor dining, theatres, gyms, and more.
In an October 1 Community Update, York President Rhonda Lenton expressed the need for increased precautions in the York community, stating: “We are aware that there are a high number of positive cases in the area adjacent to our Keele campus, known as York University Heights. As a result, I would like to reiterate the important precautions we all must continue to take to keep each other safe and how York is doing its part.”
Lenton went on to encourage several safety protocols, including wearing face coverings, maintaining two feet of physical distance, and frequent hand washing and sanitizing.
“We also have contingency plans in place to respond to a number of potential scenarios to identify, isolate, and contain health and safety situations that may occur for those who come onto our campuses and for those who live on campus,” she continued. “As always, individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or feeling ill in general are requested to not attend our campuses.”
With these heightened safety concerns in mind, Quad residents can sympathize with the alterations to their lifestyle.
“They seem harsh at first, but when you think about it, it all makes sense,” says Prabhakaran. “So essentially I do agree with them, even if they’re tough decisions to abide by.”
At the time of publication, there were zero confirmed cases at York. If and when the restrictions will be loosened remains to be seen.