SUNY Oswego to Immediately Implement New Protocols in Response to Increase in COVID-19 Cases on Campus

September 13, 2020

Athletics and Greek Life Suspended for Rest of Semester, In-Person Dining and Residence Hall Visitation Suspended Indefinitely

Zero Tolerance Enforcement and Penalties in Response to Recurring Reckless Behavior by a Small Number of Students

Students and Groups Who Ignore Protocols Will Face Suspensions, Loss of Campus Organizational Status, Athletic Eligibility, and Referral to County Health Department

Continual Testing Now Mandatory for All SUNY Oswego Students Who Live or Take Classes on Campus

Oswego, NY – State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras and SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley today announced a series of strict actions in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases on campus. The actions—which include semester-long suspensions of athletics, Greek Life, and indefinite suspension of in-person dining and visitors to residence halls—follow recurring reports of reckless behavior from a small fraction of students largely living off campus whose actions jeopardize in-person learning for the entire college community. SUNY Oswego reported 34 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.

"SUNY Oswego President Stanley and her team have developed and implemented a comprehensive COVID-19 response plan, but repeated instances of careless behavior from some of SUNY Oswego's students, mostly living off-campus, is driving new cases of the virus," said Chancellor Malatras. "Therefore, working with SUNY Oswego the campus is enacting additional aggressive mitigation efforts to control the virus including suspending athletics, Greek Life, and in-person dining, limiting visitors, and ramping up penalties for those who ignore proven safety precautions. Hopefully, this sends a forceful and unequivocal message that if behavior does not change immediately the campus may have to suspend all campus services. I've seen first-hand that the majority of students at SUNY Oswego understand the importance of following safety protocols. But, it only takes a handful of irresponsible actions by a few to spread this vicious virus across an entire campus."

SUNY Oswego President Stanley said, "We are moving forward with more urgent and severe campus actions to stem the spread of COVID-19. Although SUNY Oswego is technically lower than the state guidance of 100 increased cases in 14 days, we are taking immediate actions out of an abundance of caution and in response to the issues of off-campus activities and parties. It is beyond time for our students to do the right thing—to live by the promises they made in the Oswego Forward Pledge and abide by all directives and safety measures issued by the college, city and state."

Oswego Mayor William J. Barlow said, "The latest measures announced by Chancellor Malatras will certainly help stop the spread and better protect SUNY Oswego and the Oswego community from COVID-19. I'm particularly pleased with the ramping up of penalties for those who ignore safety precautions. The City of Oswego continues to work in close partnership with Chancellor Malatras, President Stanley, and SUNY Oswego, and I once again applaud the swift and smart action by our campus leaders."

In response to this spike in new cases, Chancellor Malatras and President Stanley worked together to devise an immediate, zero tolerance action plan aimed at slowing the spread of the virus by improving compliance with evidence-based safety guidelines.

Action Plan, Effective Immediately:
  • Suspension of Greek Life for the remainder of the semester
  • Suspension of athletics for the remainder of the semester
  • Residence Hall visitation suspended indefinitely
  • In-person dining suspended indefinitely. Dining hall operations functioning at 100 percent grab and go; no in person dining
  • Enhanced enforcement of gathering size restrictions on and off-campus. Violators will face student conduct sanctions including automatic suspension, loss of athletic eligibility, or loss of campus Greek Life status
  • Individuals who violate the quarantine and isolation orders will be suspended immediately and referred to the local health department for enforcement action and penalties.
  • Any off-campus student who takes classes on campus must get continually tested or must be remote learning only.

In-person classes are set to continue on Monday, September 14. Per New York State Department of Health guidance, whenever 100 individuals or five percent of a total on-campus population test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period, the location must immediately transition to 100 percent remote learning and limit on-campus activities for 14 days. As of Friday, September 11—the conclusion of SUNY Oswego's first 14-day period—the college had 82 positive cases counting toward the state-issued 100-count threshold. Therefore, no change in instruction status was applied. 

SUNY Oswego began its second 14-day period on Saturday, September 12. That period runs through Friday, September 25. SUNY Oswego has reported 34 new cases of COVID-19 during this second two-week window. 31 of those count toward the DOH's 100-case threshold, since three of the infected students live off-campus.  

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. As of Fall 2019, more than 415,500 students were enrolled in a degree-granting program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide exceeded $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2019, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit suny.edu.


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