Princeton Bars All Students From Leaving The County

By Rick Gonzales | 2 weeks ago

princeton ban

As COVID cases, and more importantly, the new omicron variant, continue to rise across the United States, so do the restrictions being imposed on college students. We have seen on-campus quarantine mandates, we have seen colleges restrict students from frequenting bars and restaurants, and now we have another institution of higher learning closing up shop on “personal travel.” Princeton University recently notified all their students that travel outside the county or township is no longer an option until at least the middle of February.

The announcement came from Princeton University’s Dean Jill Dolan and Vice President W. Rochelle Calhoun as they announced the travel ban on students, not allowing them to travel outside the Plainsboro Township or Mercer County, both in which the Ivy League Princeton University is located.

“Beginning January 8 through mid-February, all undergraduate students who have returned to campus will not be permitted to travel outside of Mercer County or Plainsboro Township for personal reasons, except in extraordinary circumstances,” Dolan and Calhoun announced via Fox News.

Fox News asked the university if they could clarify what “extraordinary circumstances” would consist of to allow students to travel outside Mercer County or Plainsboro Township, but the university did not respond. They did say, though, that “Student groups that currently have events planned for outside Mercer or Plainsboro should contact their sponsoring office for guidance. We’ll revisit and, if possible, revise this travel restriction by February 15.”

During their announcement, Dolan and Calhoun also announced that they will implement a “gradual return” to campus for undergraduate students. This “return” is going to take place a week later than Princeton originally scheduled. “Updated modeling suggests that staggering undergraduates’ return over ten days from January 14 – 23 will help flatten the curve of the campus positivity rate, which will allow the University to better respond to the increase in positive cases we anticipate when students come back to campus,” the officials said.

Flatten the curve.” That may be a term some do not wish to hear as we are in Year Two of “flatten the curve.” Billy Wade is a junior at Princeton University and feels the university’s new travel restrictions, while well-intentioned, a probably unnecessary. “The travel restrictions limiting students to Mercer County [were], as I understand it, established so students did not travel to places like NYC, catch the virus and bring it back to campus,” Wade said. “The University is doing their best to create a bubble where breakthrough cases are kept to a minimum while maintaining as much normalcy as possible.”

Wade wasn’t the only dissenting voice concerning Princeton’s new travel ban. Others took their complaints to Twitter firing off their displeasure with one response claiming if they were a student at the college, they’d be leaving for good. Another said that it was an “insane policy” while one more said that it “sounds like the makings of a dictatorship.”

This new travel ban comes on the heels of Dolan and Calhoun announcing in mid-December 2021 that the remaining exams before winter break would move to remote format as the coronavirus cases in the state were on the rise. According to Princeton University’s data, 99% of their undergraduate students have received the COVID vaccination. The university is also requiring students who are eligible for the coronavirus booster to get it done before January 31.

Who knows how long this travel ban, or any other mandate seen on college campuses, will go on for? Universities such as Princeton have given students a date they “hope” will see things return to normal, but the nation has been given dates before. Let’s hope that the new omicron variant rolls through like the normal cold and flu season so campuses, not only college but elementary, middle, and high schools as well, can find some semblance of normalcy.