This week, students from "restricted states" began arriving at NYU in order to fulfill a mandatory two-week quarantine before in-person classes start (the school is encouraging anyone from outside the tri-state area to quarantine as well). They have precautionary measures in place to try to make the experience safer for everyone, including mandatory COVID-19 testing for both on-campus and off-campus students.

The school has also agreed to provide three meals a day to quarantined students, which has not gotten off to a great start. Students started sharing videos on TikTok blasting the university for the paltry meal offerings, missed deliveries, and incorrect deliveries of food to people with allergies or dietary restrictions. And several students are comparing the lackluster offerings to the food given out at Fyre Fest.

"There are quarantined students right now who haven’t gotten dinner and they’re not allowed to leave their dorm," one person tweeted. "Please FEED my FRIENDS what is this FYRE festival???"

"I’m a student on a financial need based scholarship, I’m pretty much living off the housing refund and COVID relief grants till I can get some work," said 20-year-old junior Landon J. "I was hoping I wouldn’t need to worry about my meals at least but guess not."

According to the quarantine resource guide given out to students when they arrive, "three complimentary boxed meals per day will be delivered to rooms or floors." Students were told they would receive one delivery every morning of all three meals with the food left outside their doors, but multiple students said that it's been more erratic than that.

"The timing of meals is sporadic," said Landon. "I moved in yesterday at noon and didn’t get a real meal till 10:30 p.m." He said he got a box with an apple, some cookies and a piece of bread, and then nothing else until late at night when he received a 12-ounce salad and some chips. "They gave no notice on when or if dinner was coming, so at the time I thought it was a meal. I’m not sure what it was supposed to be to be honest with you."

"It’s just annoying because the way move-in worked I couldn’t bring any of my cooking supplies with me and have to wait on them to ship. So I have to rely on takeout, which is expensive, and their incredibly lackluster meals," he said. "It’s a lot of students to feed so I wasn’t expecting super high quality, just something on par with the dining halls, but it’s nowhere near close to that."

"It seems like I'm one of the luckier ones in that at least they're delivering most of my meals—I've been fortunate in that I've only been skipped once, I didn't get lunch yesterday," said 19-year-old junior Charlie Dodge. "Almost everyone else I've spoken to has had issues where they only receive one meal a day, or their dietary restrictions aren't being heeded."

Dodge's suitemate, 20-year-old junior Enrique Colon, was put into a temporary room for the duration of the quarantine to spread people out. For the first couple of days, all his meals were delivered to her dorm instead of his room.

"I called the Resident Hall Director for my dorm on Wednesday and was told they were aware of the situation and were working on it," Colon told Gothamist. "I was later informed via email that day that the dining service did not put our temporary rooms on the roster despite being given a record. I later received an email from the senior director of campus services that advised us to order from Grubhub with the promise of a $30 gift card as reimbursement."

The selection of foods included in the meal boxes—including salads with a single piece of meat, bags of chips, a lemon—has left people feeling underwhelmed when they have actually received it. "I can tell they tried to be healthy since most meals are a salad with some meat and a few snacks, but since the meat is usually hard and the salad is often wilted, I mostly just eat the junk food they put in. A lot of people obviously feel the same way," said 18-year-old freshman Madison Hall.

Multiple students have said that either they or someone they know were supposed to get a speciality meal because of dietary restrictions, and they ended up getting the opposite. Others have been frustrated with the lack of response or guidance from the school.

"NYU originally promised us two meals a day, and later upped it to three meals, though I was not aware of any email that stated the increase—they also sent us a form, though it was a bit hard to navigate and find, for food restrictions so that they knew who needed special meals," said 21-year-old junior Raef Khan. "I filled out the form and requested Halal as that's my dietary restriction.  On the first day after I moved in, they gave me an order that I couldn't have, regular chicken Caesar salad. On the second day, I did not receive a lunch or dinner at all."

Students have become particularly frustrated and disgusted by the reoccurring watermelon chicken salad. (They are equally frustrated at off-campus students who are "bragging" about not having to deal with these issues in other parts of the city.)

"I’m not on TikTok, but my brother has sent me some videos and so far they’re super on point," Hall said. "The food is weird and the watermelon chicken salad was disgusting. I am hearing a lot from the group chats I’m in...I think a lot of the frustration is that the food is pretty inedible and the fact that it’s all we really have access to unless you have the money to order out or if you brought food in."

Dodge noted that with a lack of help from NYU, some students have taken it upon themselves to try to organize donation funds and coordinate food delivery for students who aren't receiving their meals and can't order takeout.

For their part, NYU's chief spokesperson John Beckman acknowledged the problems with the meal delivery issue. "We are aware of the students' complaints, which are valid," he told Gothamist. "This is a never-before-tried operation for us and our food vendor, Chartwells (ie, large-scale delivery of meals to student rooms. There are over 2,600 students quarantining in our residence halls, and every day they are supposed to get three decent meals.  Nearly 20% of the meals are specialized — kosher, vegan, halal, etc.). But it is vital to get it right, and we are disappointed in Chartwells's management of the quarantine meals process. We and Chartwells are correcting the situation promptly."

He adds that they've taken several steps to try to correct things, including adding a shift to start making meals earlier in the day for delivery; adding staff to respond promptly to student food complaints; dedicating food service staff to the speciality meal preparation; adding staff at the residence halls to deliver the meals to the rooms more promptly; and authorizing staff in the residence halls to order meals through regular delivery services or to provide money to students to order delivery themselves if the food that shows up isn't good enough.

"We recognize that when people are required to quarantine in their rooms by themselves, few things in the day are more important than looking forward to something nice to eat, so this is a particularly regrettable error, and a let-down for our students," Beckman said. "We are dismayed that this didn't go off as planned, we and Chartwells apologize to the students, and we are committed to correcting this promptly."