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Dr. Morris
President Morris

ONEONTA – SUNY headquarters has approved a plan that mixes face-to-face and online instruction that will allow students to return to the Oneonta campus this fall, President Barbara Jean Morris announced a few minutes ago.

“Its aim is to carry out the mission of the college — to nurture a community where students grow intellectually, thrive socially and live purposefully — while remaining vigilant against COVID-19,” said Morris.

With Hartwick College having already announced it is reopening, that means 6,000 students – and their spending capacity – will give a boost to the city’s rebound from the COVID-19 threat.

Said Morris, “Thoughtful consideration of several scenarios and extensive input from the campus community went into our plan.”

June 21, Hartwick President Margaret L. Drugovich announced it will reopen based on “Our Social Compact: A Healthy Hartwick College,” that will require staff and students to affirm they will follow social distancing and other measures.  She gave more details this past Sunday.

The SUNY Oneonta plan – it came after “several scenarios and extensive input from the campus community –  also limits person-to-person contact and in-person gatherings where possible.  There will be changes to the college calendar and increased cleaning, disinfecting and monitoring measures will be conducted campus-wide.

A few high-level specifics to the plan include:

  • The fall semester will run from Aug. 24 to Dec. 15.
  • The college will limit face-to-face instruction. Most classes will be fully online, and some will be a mix of in-person and online. Labs and classes that rely on hands-on activities will take place in larger spaces, to reduce density. All in-person instruction will end at Thanksgiving break. The rest of the semester, including finals, will be online only.
  • Campus living and dining will resume. However, both residence and dining halls will implement protocols to limit density and promote social distancing.
  • Students and campus employees must participate in public health trainings and routine screenings, and must wear face coverings on campus in spaces where social distancing is not possible.

College officials note it is possible that new information or direction from the state might require the college to change its plan in the coming weeks.

“SUNY Oneonta is at its best when we are able to live and learn together as a residential community,” said the president.  “This plan is a big step in that direction. All of us at the college have so missed the vibrancy that students bring to our campus and we look forward to seeing their return.”


1 Comment

  1. Otsego Co. Statistically has been minimally impacted by the Covid plague no doubt due to our geographical location, social distancing, wearing masks & minimal outside influence from people coming to our area.
    The decision of the presidents of Hartwick & SUCO colleges to allow the influx of potentially thousands of students into our environment is in my opinion irresponsible. The spread of COVID by this influx is more than likely. The negative impact to our community Is inevitable. The college presidents will be responsible. Perhaps they should reconsider their decision. By doing so they would be preserving the integrity of our community.

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