SUNY Oneonta pauses in-person instruction for two weeks

Posted at 4:52 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 18:37:19-04

SUNY Oneonta is the first SUNY campus switching to full-remote learning for the next two weeks after seeing a cluster of positive COVID-19 cases on campus.

College President Barbara Morris told Good Morning America the outbreak stems from an off-campus party last week involving roughly 50 students.

“There must have been a super spreader that had a high viral load, and so our tracing goes back to that party.”

Morris said the students at the party were not social distancing or wearing masks.

Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo established a threshold for colleges if a cluster of cases developed. Schools must cancel in-person classes if it has 100 cases, or if it impacts 5-percent of the campus population.

As of Sunday, the college had 105 confirmed cases or three percent of the faculty, staff and students on campus.

“SUNY Upstate Medical has sent 3,000 tests to test our students and staff over the next few days,” said Morris.

The state is providing 70 contact tracers for the college.

“Colleges are the canary in the coal mine. I believe what you’re seeing at colleges across the nation is going to continue,” said Cuomo.

Cuomo also believes colleges should serve as a warning for school districts as students prepare to return in the coming weeks.

“Schools should look at what’s happening at colleges. Colleges have more socialization but the basic dynamic is the same.”