Governor Sends SWAT Team and Tracers To Contain SUNY Oneonta COVID-19 Outbreak
Following a serious outbreak of COVID-19 of currently 105 students among the SUNY Oneonta student population that began with off-campus parties in the city, not only has the new SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras (first day in new role is today, 8/31) suspended in-person instruction on campus for the next two weeks, but Governor Cuomo is responding as well to contain the virus.
According to a press release from the Governor's office, Cuomo has deployed a SWAT team, along with 71 contact tracers and eight case investigators to SUNY Oneonta to control the infection rate. In addition, there will now be free rapid testing with results in 15 minutes with three testing sites in Oneonta to be opened (site locations to be announced today) to all city residents by appointment.
Cuomo states, "Colleges are the canary in the coal mine, and a 3 percent infection rate is high in a congregate situation, similar to a dense urban environment where you have people taking public transportation. That's why we're deploying state resources to contain the new COVID cluster at SUNY Oneonta."
Chancellor Malatras said, "Five students in Oneonta have been suspended for holding parties against the college policy. Three organizations, campus organizations, have been suspended and we're going to be tough not because we want to ruin their fun, but this is a different time and this goes to what other campuses have been doing."
According to state guidance for infection rates on college campuses, schools must return to remote learning with limited on-campus activity for two weeks when 5 percent or 100 individuals test positive for COVID-19 within a two-week period. Following that two week period, the Otsego County Department of Health will determine if it's safe or not to continue with in-person learning or continue with remote learning. Athletic activities and other extracurricular activities have also been suspended during this two week period and dining halls are only allowing take-out food options.
To get the latest COVID-19 related information regarding confirmed students cases and more visit suny.oneonta.edu/covid-19.