As colleges reopen, NYS delivers guidance in anticipation of COVID-19 clusters

Posted at 12:53 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 14:28:00-04

NEW YORK (WKBW) — With colleges across the country reopening and experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered guidance to colleges in the state in anticipation of COVID-19 clusters as they begin to reopen.

Cuomo said if a college in NYS has 100 positive COVID-19 cases, or a number of positive cases equal to 5% of its campus population or more, the school must transition to remote learning for two weeks and then the state will reassess the situation with local health departments.

"We've seen troubling reports of students congregating on college campuses, so we are setting a threshold that says if colleges have 100 cases or if the number of cases equal 5 percent of their population or more, they must go to remote learning for two weeks, at which time we will reassess the situation," said Cuomo. "We should anticipate clusters and that's what we're seeing. Be prepared for it, get ahead of it."

Locally, several colleges have reported positive cases of COVID-19 as staff and students have returned to campus ahead of the fall semester.

"If after two weeks, the local health department finds the college has demonstrated that it cannot contain the number of cases, then they could continue to require remote learning, or impose other mitigation measures in consultation with the State Department of Health. During that time, athletic activities and other extracurricular activities must be suspended, and dining hall options must move to take-out only," a release from the governor's office states.

The state says if a campus sees clusters of positive cases in particular areas that are below the 100 or 5% metric, the campus may still be asked to return to distance learning due to an inability to control the outbreak.