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SUNY announces new uniform rules, stronger penalties for COVID-19 protocol violations

SUNY
Posted at 3:00 PM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 23:18:10-04

NEW YORK (WKBW) — SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced Friday new uniform rules to strengthen penalties for those who violate COVID-19 safety protocols across SUNY campuses.

The policy was drafted in consultation with campuses across the system and provides uniform rules designed to protect all campus and community members while ensuring campuses remain open during the pandemic.

Students who violate the new policy now face immediate academic and housing suspension along with possible dismissal. Student organizations who violate face a permanent campus ban.

“I have spoken with our SUNY campus leadership and they know both what is at risk as well as their role in preventing new COVID-19 cases by enforcing health and safety protocols,” said Chancellor Malatras. “Intentional or otherwise, there continues to be some individuals violating these critical measures on campuses, increasing the chances of spreading the coronavirus and shutting down on-campus activity. We want all of our students to have fun and enjoy campus life, but we must do so safely.

SUNY Buffalo State VP of Student Affairs Timothy Gordon said the update is similar to the school's current policy.

"We started the semester with first educating our students, so we sent a number of communications students read, reviewed, and signed off on," he said. "A lot of information that included many of the things that are in the chancellor's guidance. I think the piece that is helpful for students to also see, clearly beyond the campus level, how folks are paying attention to this."

Each campus is responsible for communicating the new policy to students, it will go into place October 1 and remain in place until further notice.

"Allowable sanctions include a suspension from academic and/or housing access with continued access to their academic program via remote learning only (if available and as subject to campus policy and process), an academic and/or housing suspension, or permanent dismissal from the institution. For the full SUNY policy, click here," said SUNY.

The policy sets a range of allowable sanctions for the infractions listed below:

  • Intentional Violations of COVID-Positive Students: For students who know that they have tested positive for COVID-19 or know they have had close contact to someone who has tested positive or been treated or is symptomatic for COVID-19, and then intentionally expose other students.
  • Failure to Self-Isolate: For students who fail to self-isolate (because they are COVID-19 positive) as directed by their SUNY campus or the State or local Department of Health.
  • Failure to Quarantine: For students who have been directed by the institution or the State or local Department of Health to complete a quarantine (potentially positive because of a close contact with someone who is positive) period, on or off campus, and then engage in any conduct that would violate such quarantine order.
  • Prohibited On-Campus or Off-Campus Gathering (Hosts): For students who host an on-campus or off-campus gathering of any size, whether indoor or outdoor, that violates campus policy and/or exceeds the current limitation published by the SUNY campus, Executive Order, or the State or local Department of Health.
  • Prohibited On-Campus or Off-Campus Gathering (Attendees): For students who attend a gathering of any size (but not as host), whether indoor or outdoor, that violates campus policy and/or exceeds the current limitation published by the SUNY campus, Executive Order, or the State or local Department of Health.
  • Violations of Face Mask and Social Distancing Requirements: For students found to have committed repeated and/or intentional violations of face mask/covering or social distancing requirements of the campus, Executive Order, or the State or local Department of Health.
  • Contact Tracing: For students who repeatedly fail to comply, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
  • Failure to Comply with Campus Health Protocols: For students who fail to attend at least two scheduled appointments, without sufficient excuse, to obtain diagnostic or surveillance COVID-19 testing under the campus’s published protocol, or for students who fail to submit their daily health screening via the campus’s portal for at least three consecutive days, the college shall undertake disciplinary action to enforce compliance, including interim suspension, or administrative measures to electronically deactivate card access and restrict access to any buildings with the exception of access required to obtain health care services pursuant to campus policy.

SUNY also surpassed 100,000 campus administered COVID-19 tests for the semester. According to SUNY, the week's positivity rate is 0.4%. You can find the number of cases at individual SUNYs here.