SUNY Takes a Uniform Stand on COVID-19 Protocols

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SUNY students can face disciplinary actions from their campuses whether they are aware of their COVID-19 protocol violation, or not. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

Out of a SUNY-wide effort to limit COVID-19 cases on their campuses, stricter protocols have been announced by SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras on Sept. 25.

The new protocols strengthen the penalties for noncompliance and reckless behavior. Students violators now will face academic suspension, housing suspension and possible dismissal. Student organizations caught non-complying will be permanently banned from SUNY campuses. 

“Intentional or otherwise, there continues to be some individuals violating these critical measures on campuses, increasing the chances of spreading the coronavirus and shutting down on-campus activity,” Chancellor Malatras said in a press release. “We want all of our students to have fun and enjoy campus life, but we must do so safely. While a vast majority of our students are complying with the rules, we cannot let a few people ruin it for everyone.”

The directive is divided into sections depending on the violation. For students who know that they have tested positive for COVID-19 and intentionally put their campus community at risk, the punishment is permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access, including distance learning and housing for no less than one calendar year. Students dismissed for this violation will be ineligible to seek admission to another SUNY school. 

Students can also be punished for hosting or attending gatherings both on and off-campus, as well as failing to comply with contact tracing. You can read the whole policy here.

The emergency directive went into effect on Oct. 1. and will remain in effect until there is a new direction from the chancellor. 

President Donald P. Christian announced the new COVID-19 policy to students through an email sent on Sept. 30. However, there have only been 14 cases during the fall semester so far.

The emergency protocols have been implemented in response partly to the surge in COVID-19 cases on some SUNY campuses. There are currently 380 positive cases SUNY-wide. 

So far, SUNY Binghamton and Cortland have been directed to take a pause on in-person learning due to a spike in cases. SUNY Oswego had in-person classes paused and then resumed again on Oct. 5. On Sept. 3, SUNY Oneonta was directed to transition to remote learning for the rest of the semester after the school saw nearly 400 cases. 

“Despite the diligence of the vast majority of our SUNY Oneonta students, faculty and staff, the actions of a few individuals who didn’t comply resulted in the spread of COVID-19 over the past week, forcing SUNY Oneonta to move to full remote learning for the rest of the semester,” Chancellor Malatras said in response to closing the Oneonta campus.

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About Nikki Donohue 88 Articles
Nikki Donohue is a fourth-year double major in history and journalism. This is her sixth semester with The Oracle. She has worked as a News Copy Editor and an Assistant Copy Editor.