The State University of New York at Oneonta will send all of its on-campus students home and suspend all in-person classes and activities for the rest of the fall semester, the school announced on Thursday.
The college was in the midst of its two-week “pause” period, which began Aug. 30, where the focus was on testing and limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
An increase in confirmed cases — 389 since the start of the semester on Aug. 24 — caused the college to make the determination to cease in-person learning.
“While this is sudden news and something no one wanted, the risk to our campus and Oneonta community is too great. I know the vast majority of our students have been diligent in protecting our campus since day one,” president of the school, Barbara Jean Morris, said in a statement. “We committed to do everything we could to mitigate this situation, and today, that means ending residential housing for this semester.”
Students who have tested negative will be asked to leave on-campus housing by next Monday. Those who wish to remain on campus will be given an opportunity to request permission to stay.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during an appearance on NBC’s Today Show on Wednesday that sending students home after an outbreak is the “worst thing you could do.”
“Keep them at the university in a place that’s sequestered enough from the other students, but don’t have them go home because they could be spreading it in their home state,” he said.