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With hundreds of COVID cases, SUNY Oneonta to shut down campus for semester

Jesse King

With 507 COVID-19 cases among its campus community as of Thursday evening, SUNY Oneonta is ceasing all in-person classes and sending students home for the rest of the fall semester.

The school had announced a two-week move to fully virtual learning less than a week after classes started on August 24. SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras visited the campus Thursday afternoon. In ordering the latest move Thursday afternoon when more than 400 cases had been confirmed, Malatras said at the time about 13 percent of the current campus community had tested positive for COVID-19.

“This goes to show that a small minority, just a few people, can ruin it for everyone else,” Malatras said. “And that’s unfortunate. The plan – and colleges are developing plans all across the state – can be a great plan on paper. But if people don’t comply with the plan, it won’t work.”

Officials blamed unsanctioned off-campus gatherings and parties for the outbreak.

All students who test negative for COVID-19 are being asked to sign up for a move-out time from Friday to Monday. Friday’s classes have been cancelled.  The school said Thursday evening that 117 students were in isolation on campus after testing positive and 46 students are in quarantine on campus awaiting test results. The school says about 3,000 students and employees have been tested for COVID-19 since Aug. 28.

The college, which typically has an undergraduate enrollment of roughly 6,000, says it has a plan to issue full refunds for housing and prorated refunds for dining for students who move out of their rooms.

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