White House: All Traveling From New York Should Self-Quarantine

In the United States, the White House recently released a recommendation that anyone who has been in New York should self-quarantine for 14 days. Much of NYU’s student population has left New York City in the past two weeks, as NYU transitions to remote instruction. Currently, New York has the highest amount of cases in the US and continues to grow at an exponential rate. OCA asked 3 NYU Shanghai students about their thoughts regarding this recommendation.

Although a majority of students have been practicing social distancing, many have not been following the White House’s recommendation and self-quarantined. Ashley Zhu, a sophomore at NYU Shanghai from Richmond, Virginia, however, has been self-quarantining since before the White House’s recommendation. According to Ashley, “self quarantine means more than social distancing and staying home.” She views it as “more of a self-imposed ‘isolation’ because it’s what needs to be done in order to […] flatten the curve.” Ashley’s motivation to self-quarantine came from a want to be extra safe in order to protect others. At the time of this interview, Ashley was on day 11 of her 14 day quarantine. After the 14th day, she doesn’t plan to change her routine much, other than going on early morning jogs (when not many others are out and about). 

Ashley referred to a tweet that said “Social distancing doesn’t mean go chill at your friend’s house” and agreed with it, stipulating that when she saw others posting on social media and hanging out with their friends, it made her feel like her “efforts are all for nothing.” She reiterated, though, that “just because other people aren’t doing their part doesn’t mean [she] shouldn’t either, obviously.” 

Overally, despite being confined indoors all day, Ashley reiterated the benefits of being under quarantine, such as spending quality time with family and (digitally) with friends. She highlighted some things she’s been doing over Spring Break to keep her busy such as Chloe Ting’s workouts, making YouTube videos, journaling, and catching up on shows. 

Ashley’s message to students traveling from New York: 


Kevin Nader, an NYU Shanghai sophomore from New Jersey, has also been taking highly cautious measures since returning home. Having parents classified in the “high risk” demographic, he told OCA that he believes “anyone who thinks they have been exposed to the virus, no matter where they are, should self quarantine for two weeks.” However, for Kevin “self-quarantine” means something different than it does for Ashley. He “find[s] self-quarantining to mean minimizing interaction with others” and does so by ordering groceries and only leaving his home to get some fresh air in the park. Kevin also emphasized that “if you suspect you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus, don’t do something unnecessary such as seeing your friends in person.” 

Kevin has been keeping himself busy by “keeping [his] mind as engaged as possible” through learning Norwegian on Duolingo, and restarting old hobbies like reading and chess. 

Kevin’s message to students traveling from New York: 

“To be completely honest, self quarantining is not easy. Just know that when you self quarantine, you are playing a key role in thwarting the spread of the coronavirus, which in turn saves lives.” 

Mia Barkenaes, an NYUSH freshman who had also been studying at the NYC campus, recently returned home to Portland, Oregon. In Portland, Mia works for a small business that is now closed due to COVID019, but she still goes in to deep clean and sanitize. Prior to the White House’s recommendation, Mia already “refrained from seeing friends and maintained self-quarantine.” For her, this included outdoor activities such as hiking and running, but Mia cut these out after the White House announced their recommendation to self-quarantine in order to further limit her interactions.  

When asked what self-quarantine means to her, Mia said it “means limiting any close or direct interaction to only [her] family.” She (infrequently) goes grocery shopping and wears a mask and gloves while doing so. Whenever she goes into work, she makes “sure to thoroughly sanitize before, during, and after [her] shift.” When not at work Mia prioritizes keeping up a schedule and feeling productive. She takes “time to catch up and get ahead in [her] school work, work[s] online on promotional and organizational efforts for work, and read[s].” Her family has also been looking into ways to volunteer through making at-home items and participating in food delivery.

Mia’s message to students traveling from New York: 

“You should never risk transmission. Although the recommendation is self quarantine for 14 days, I would maintain that routine even after the 14 days are up. It can be difficult resisting seeing friends or going outside, but leaving the house often brings unexpected circumstances, and the best way to keep safe is to stay at home.”

This article was written by Steph Scaglia. Please send an email to managing@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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