The State University of New York (SUNY) confirmed cases of students with COVID-19 at three campuses as of March 13, according to an email from SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson.
She did not name any of those campuses in her email, although Nassau Community College closed campus after multiple “positive associations with the virus,” according to a letter sent to their campus community.
“While the large majority of our campuses have not reported confirmed cases of the virus, we are acting out of an abundance of caution to both protect our SUNY community and the community at large,” she wrote in the email.
Most SUNY and City University of New York (CUNY) schools are moving to remote learning over the next few weeks, some for the rest of the semester.
Johnson noted in the email that the week of March 15 is spring break for most SUNY schools.
“The Governor’s guidance allows for campuses to extend their spring break by a week, in order to fully prepare for the transition to distance learning and remote instruction,” she wrote. “Some campuses are ready to launch and therefore will not require a full week. By March 19, we will have our plans in place and be able to transition as many courses as possible online.”
Johnson added that in addition to online learning, SUNY canceled all study abroad programs for the rest of the semester. Students studying in China, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran traveled back to the United States two weeks ago.
Some voluntarily self-quarantined, while others were quarantined at SUNY campuses. Stony Brook’s Southampton campus accommodated at least 26 students from the study abroad program in Italy.
Although campuses have moved online, many are still working to accommodate housing needs, employment responsibilities and hands-on coursework, according to the email.
“In order to maintain our calm and to reduce anxiety that has arisen as a result of this outbreak, we will continue to keep our lines of communication open and to provide accurate information in a responsible manner,” Johnson wrote. “I am committed to keeping you as up to date as possible. I am confident that by working together we can overcome this ever-changing crisis and emerge stronger with important lessons learned that we can apply to strengthen our system in the future.”