Seven groups are uniting to form the State University of New York (SUNY) COVID-19 Re-Imagine and Resume Residential Education Task Force (Task Force), whose goal is to create a plan to reopen SUNY campuses in the fall.
The news was announced in a press release on May 7, in which SUNY Chancellor, Kristina M. Johnson, addressed the SUNY community “regarding strategies toward a safe reopening of the system.”
“This is a complicated undertaking with many moving parts, and it requires collaboration with a wide range of partners,” Johnson said in the press release.
The task force has the responsibility of creating plans so all factors of a safe reopening are covered, according to the press release. Some of these areas include student health, academic operations, the campus community and involvement, community engagement and research, and science. All 64 SUNY campuses are working in unison with The City University of New York (CUNY) education system, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Forward Advisory Group, private New York (NY) colleges government officials and health experts to create the “safest and most effective route forward.”
“We understand that resuming face-to-face instruction cannot occur in a vacuum; each of our campuses is a complex ecosystem with regular engagement with their respective surrounding communities,” Johnson said.
To reopen SUNY campuses, specific requirements must be met from a checklist developed by the task force. These requirements will also be monitored by a “risk wheel” that will solely use data to ensure the safety of students and faculty. Stony Brook University has informed students that a decision on opening the campus to residential learning will be developed no later than June 30.
The number of COVID-19 cases in NY has decreased along with the number of deaths and hospitalizations. However, similar to the SUNY philosophy, Cuomo is only relying on data in regards to reopening. Cuomo is also depending on former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates to help create a “reimagined” school system for NY.
“Like everything else, when we do reopen schools it’s not just about reopening as they were before, it’s about building back even better than before,” Cuomo said in a press release.
Johnson will send further information to the SUNY community when available.
Correction 6/13/2020, 4:20 p.m.: A previous version of this article mistakenly referred to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt as Google CEO Eric Shmidt. Schmidt served as Google CEO from 2001 to 2011, and is currently a technical advisor on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Board.