Goal: Serve 20% Of Students
On Campus, Expand Testing
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – SUNY Oneonta today posted its draft plan to bring, if not face-to-face, mask-to-mask (M-2-M) instruction back to campus, offering an in-person option in 20 percent of its courses to the 1,100 students who, for now, may return to class as of Feb. 1.
Revisions to the draft are planned, with a Dec. 10 goal set for its final completion.
“What gives the Oneonta plan an edge is: the campus went through something very difficult, and learned lessons very quickly,” Interim President Dennis Craig said in an interview this morning. “That makes it safer going forward.”
MORE IN THIS WEEK’S HOMETOWN ONEONTA
Since Craig’s appointment Thursday, Oct. 15, a COVID Response Team, co-chaired by Provost Leamor Kahanov and Julie Piscitello, vice president/finance & administration, has been developing the local reopening plan. The team was guided by the SUNY System‘s plan, released last Monday.
Even before the plan was released, some faculty opposition surfaced, with a petition posted online at 6 p.m. Sunday evening urging the college administration not to “mandate” teachers to return to the classroom. By this afternoon, 75 faculty members had signed the petition, some anonymously; there are 500 SUNY Oneonta faculty members in all. The Faculty Senate was meeting this afternoon.
Highlights of the local plan include:
• Reducing students living on campus from 3,000 to 1,100. There would be one student per dorm room, and no more than four students would share a bathroom, which would be cleaned twice-daily.
• Testing all returning students for COVID-19 before they arrive on campus; they would then undergo testing throughout the semester.
• Under the plan, the college will also exercise more off-campus jurisdiction, both in testing and in discipline, if socializing guidelines are ignored.
Today, Craig also announced creation of a new position, vice president/external affairs, and appointed Franklin D. Chambers, VP/student development, to assume the new responsibilities.
Chambers will lead “the college’s efforts to engage students who reside off-campus and liaise with members of the greater Oneonta community to ensure community oriented behavior, community building, and learning,” said Craig. “With a focus on prevention, he will extend strategies and best practices currently employed in our on-campus environment for our off campus population.”