SUNY Oneonta first public college to go all remote after COVID-19 outbreak

ALBANY — The State University of New York campus in upstate Oneonta is the first public college to shutdown in-person classes thanks to over 300 positive cases of COVID-19 among individuals, officials announced Thursday.

Transition to remote learning begins Friday — just four days after SUNY officials announced that the campus would be closed for two weeks following the discovery of over 100 coronavirus cases between students and staff.

“SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras will visit campus this afternoon to announce that he has directed SUNY Oneonta to develop and implement a plan to send on-campus students home and cease all in-person classes and activities for the rest of the fall semester,” the college tweeted Thursday afternoon, ahead of an emergency press conference on campus near Binghamton.

Officials have recorded 389 positive cases since the semester’s start on Aug. 24, and have screened 2,500 students and 200 employees for the virus as of Wednesday evening.

Classes have also been canceled Friday, Sept. 4.

Students living on campus will begin moving off campus between tomorrow through Monday, Sept. 7 and will be required to make appointments for move out times in order to decrease density.

For those who have tested positive for the deadly bug, are awaiting results or believed to have been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, on-campus quarantine housing is available.

Roughly 3,000 students have been assigned to on campus housing this semester.

International students, those who may have technological complications that will impede classwork or without an alternative home to return to may apply for an exemption.

The move comes following a spike in cases after “several large parties” occurred last week and a number of students were suspended, along with three other student organizations.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that any college campus — public or private — must immediately transition to two weeks remote learning if positive case counts rise above 100.

Colleges must adopt a remote learning plan for the remainder of the semester, should state and local health officials determine it is unsafe to reopen following the 14-day closure.

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