The Office of the President
September 13, 2020

To SUNY Oswego students, faculty, and staff,

I am writing to provide important new information on more urgent and severe campus actions to stem the spread of COVID-19 and offer clarification on New York State's 100-case threshold that has caused some confusion.

Although we are technically lower than the state guidance of 100 increased cases in 14 days, we will take additional actions out of an abundance of caution and in response to the issues of off-campus activities and parties:

  • While all Greek Life activities were halted at the beginning of the semester, now any parties or large group activities organized and hosted by Greek members, even if not technically Greek sponsored will draw severe individual and organizational penalties.
  • All athletics activity (practices, meetings, workouts and gatherings) is suspended for the remainder of the fall 2020 semester.  Any student-athlete who violates this order will lose athletic eligibility.
  • Visitors in residence halls, including students from another residence on campus, are prohibited and the PODS family-style living experience is suspended.
  • In-person dining is suspended indefinitely.  All dining will become 100% “grab and go” immediately.  There will be no in-person dining in any of the college dining halls or facilities.
  • We are enhancing enforcement of gathering size restrictions on and off-campus, with violators (hosts and attendees) facing student conduct sanctions including automatic suspension, loss of athletic eligibility, or loss of Greek Life status. We have already suspended 10 students for hosting parties.
  • Individuals who violate the Health Department quarantine and isolation orders will be suspended immediately and referred to the local health department for enforcement action and penalties.
  • Off-campus students who take classes on campus will now be required to get tested again as part of our aggressive surveillance testing or must be remote learning only.  We will be in touch with our off-campus students who have at least one face-to-face class this semester to schedule surveillance testing.  In the meantime, our off-campus students should continue to attend their classes.

Now, let me clarify the current status of instruction and in-person classes.  Classes will continue on Monday September 14, as scheduled.  Per the New York State Department of Health-issued guidancewhenever the lesser of 100 individuals or 5% of the total on-campus population of a higher education institution location test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period, the location must immediately (1) transition all in-person learning to remote format(s) and (2) limit on-campus activities for a period of 14 days.  As of Friday, Sept. 11, at the conclusion of our first 14-day period, SUNY Oswego had 82 positive cases counting toward this NYS-issued 100-count threshold. Therefore, no change in instruction status was applied.  We began our second 14-day period yesterday, Sept. 12, which runs through Sept. 25; this data is available on our COVID-19 dashboard.

We are proud of the fact that we have been a leader in testing, having tested over 6,300 students for COVID-19, yet the rise in cases the past two weeks and our total cumulative cases (130) is unacceptable.  Still, our percent of positives is at 1.86 (of our estimated 6,985 total on-campus population of students, faculty, and staff).  And, with the large amount of baseline and surveillance testing we have done (more than most other institutions around us), we can be confident in the accuracy of that calculation.  We tested most of our students when they arrived.  There were only three (3) positive cases so we know that the spread we see is almost entirely due to bad behavior, flouting restrictions and violating the pledges made to keep each other safe.

It is beyond time for you to do the right thing—for you to live by the promises you made in the Oswego Forward Pledge and abide by all directives and safety measures issued by the college, city and state.  Additionally, stay on campus or home as much as possible and whenever possible stay apart from any gathering of more than 2 or 3 people. If you do all the right things, we can bend the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19 at SUNY Oswego.


Deborah F. Stanley

Office of the President
706 Culkin Hall
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