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When will Western New York colleges and universities reopen?

Posted at 5:29 PM, May 19, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The uncertainties of COVID-19 has left many college students wondering when they’ll be able to return to campus. In Central New York, students who attend Ithaca College no longer have to wonder.

“Ithaca College has selected a date. Monday, October 5,” Ithaca College president Shirley Collado said in a YouTube statement video.

That announcement made Ithaca College one of the first colleges in the state to publicly announce its plans for the fall semester.

“And I want to assure you that this decision is based on our methodically, deliberate, nimble approach that has been driven by data, science, and aligned with New York State's expectations,” she adds.

Collado says the delay will help professors prepare new class structures and allow administrators to prepare the campus for new health regulations.

“As Governor Cuomo has reminded us, we’re in this for the long hall. This pandemic will take on different shapes and forms and we need to be ready.”

So what’s the plan for colleges and universities here in Western New York? Niagara University President James Maher says his goal is to get students back on campus in late August.

“We’ve been planning for this for the last month and we have an active task force who is taking the commissions report and customizing it to Niagara,” Maher said.

And the new Niagara will look different.

“You will see masks on the campus for students, faculty and staff," he said. "Plenty hand sanitizer, lots of cleaning.”

In a statement, both the University at Buffalo, a SUNY school, and Medaille College, a private school, said they too hope to have students back on campus come fall. If it’s still not safe, distanced learning will continue.

Public or private, large or small – the goal among all schools is the same.

“We miss them and they miss us and so I think the anticipation of the students and our university community to have them back is really exciting,” Maher said.