ALBANY, N.Y. – State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced Sunday a system-wide plan that will allow campuses to return to in-person instruction for the spring semester.
All students will be tested for COVID-19 upon return, and the start date for spring semester in-person instruction is February 1, 2021. The system also announced the cancellation of spring break.
The announcement is in light of record COVID-19 positive cases across the country.
“With COVID-19 surging nationwide, and with increased cases in New York, SUNY has devised a comprehensive plan to keep this virus at bay throughout the flu season and through the spring semester,” Malatras said in part, in a statement. “We’ve demonstrated this past fall that by implementing an aggressive strategy to manage COVID, students can safely return to campus.”
All returning students must complete a seven-day precautionary quarantine prior to arrival on campus, according to SUNY officials. Masks will be mandatory at all time, even with social distancing.
“What Students Should Know” information will be sent out to students prior to arrival on campus.
Canceling spring break is an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus.
“Campuses are allowed to build in single-day, midweek reading days throughout the semester as an alternative instructional pause,” SUNY said in statement. “If colleges opt to do so, students will be highly discouraged from leaving campus. Any on-campus services in support of religious observances must follow normal density, face-covering, and quarantine/isolation protocols.”
The university system has the capacity to process around 200,000 COVID-19 tests per week, credited to the FDA-approved saliva test developed by SUNY Upstate Medical University.
Malatras said the system’s approach is setting a nationwide standard for controlling COVID-19 in the weeks and months to come.
“I have talked with countless students since August who have made tremendous sacrifices so that they can stay on campus and learn. Our students have done a remarkable job given the circumstances,” Malatras said. “This aggressive strategy gives us the best chance to return our students once again to classrooms in early 2021. But as we know, this is a fluid situation so we will continue to adapt and be flexible as issues emerge.”