3 Sports Teams Held Parties That Started Outbreak, Morris Says

3 Sports Teams Held

Parties That Started

Outbreak, Morris Says

SUNY Leader Expects ‘Ramp Up’ In Cases

Mayor Gary Herzig, second from upper left, addresses tonight’s first meeting of the Oneonta Control Room, a town-gown entity formed to oversee the local COVID-19 threat and assess the response.  Two boxes below Herzig is SUNY Oneonta President Barbara Jean Morris; Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich is in the top row, second from right. 

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – With 2,000 COVID-19 tests administered  Sunday and today, SUNY Oneonta President Barbara Jean Morris warned the Oneonta Control Room to prepare for a “ramp-up” of positive tests during their first meeting over Zoom this evening.

“Obviously this came on fast and hard,” she said. “We had a super-spreader event last weekend with three athletic teams who invited first-year students to a party, then those students came back to campus.”

At present, 177 SUNY students have tested positive for the virus, prompting Chancellor Jim Malatras Sunday to close the campus for two weeks; 600 students were tested between Friday and Saturday, when tests were brought to campus.

Only 187 students of more than 6,000 SUNY students are left to be tested, Morris said, as well as faculty. Students who test positive are being isolated in two dorms, with a third being prepared to handle the anticipated influx.

County Health Director Heidi Bond said her staff is working with the college to do daily check-ins with those quarantining off-campus

By contrast, Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich said that only one student has tested positive so far and is isolating at home after being exposed off-campus.

However, she said, 38 students were placed in quarantine after they were found to have had contact with a SUNY Oneonta student. “We asked students to come forward if they or their roommate had contact,” she said. “And we are now asking all students to refrain from interacting with SUNY students.”

Additionally, 36 other students remain in state-mandated quarantine after coming to campus from “high-risk” states. Three students, Morris said, were expelled from the college after they were found to have thrown a party off-campus.

“They broke the rules of the social contract,” she said. “They have been put on administrative leave and were not allowed to enroll in their fall classes.”

Hartwick students are required to do daily self check-ins and undergo COVID testing every other week, and although 75 percent of classes are held in-person, they are hybrid and socially-distanced.

“It’s working very well and it is very reassuring,” said Julian Kovacs, a Hartwick student. “I know that when I leave my dorm, I’m safe and the people around me are safe.”

With the first non-student city resident testing positive today, Mayor Gary Herzig encouraged all residents of Oneonta to get tested at the three free, rapid-test sites that will open Wednesday. “Not just for your peace of mind,” he said. “But the data we collect will tell us the extent to which the virus has spread.”

3 thoughts on “3 Sports Teams Held Parties That Started Outbreak, Morris Says

  1. Dominick R

    Real smart move by the college. They managed in 1 week to get more COVID-19 cases then the whole county had since March. The college administration should be held responsible. They did not listen to the Mayor or use common sense. These are the teacher’s who are giving our children a bad education. Do you think they can keep the all the students on campus. All I can say to the local citizens is “Stay out of Oneonta”

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