Video provided by Stony Brook University
From Lockdown To Coming Back Safe And Strong
How Stony Brook University Passed The COVID Test
It was early March 2020 and sun sprinkled the campus of Stony Brook University as Carolina Ruiz and her friends chatted about the upcoming spring break.
And then, everything changed.
“We were prepared to go to break and in the blink of an eye everything changed,” Ruiz, a 21-year-old junior biology major, said. “I felt like everything went into chaos and it hasn’t been the same since.”
Actually, the changes were already in motion with conversations about shutting down a portion of the annual Staller Center Gala, scheduled for March 7. Then-interim president, Michael Bernstein, who has since left the university, remembers these discussions as the real beginning of the pandemic – and as a time when he would have to act quickly and under growing pressure.
“We were all in sort of denial and thought that this isn’t really happening – and it’s not going to be as bad as everyone says,” Bernstein recalled.
At the time, there were only a few confirmed coronavirus cases in New York State and none in the vicinity of the university. But on March 8, the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed on Long Island – in Greenport, on the North Fork of Suffolk County. The 40 year-old patient was transported from Eastern Long Island Hospital to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.
Suddenly, the global pandemic had arrived in Stony Brook’s back yard. The changes being discussed at the highest levels of the university administration were about to become real.
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