SUNY Cobleskill announced its first positive case of COVID-19 on Thursday.

In a March 19 letter to the campus community, college President Marion Terenzio said that the individual “has been in isolation from the campus population and will remain so until cleared by public health officials.”

The letter did not disclose whether the individual is a student, faculty or staff member, and did not identify that person’s county of residence.

According to the New York State Health Department’s county-by-county breakdown of positive cases, Schoharie County has one reported case, announced Wednesday.

SUNY Cobleskill is “working closely with the health department and other authorities,” Terenzio said, and staff are “strictly following the protocols for contacting campus members who may have come in contact with this individual.”

“I want to reassure you that all appropriate measures have been taken, and best practices have been employed for some time,” Terenzio wrote. “Our Emergency Management Team has been vigilant in managing this highly fluid time period and has continuously provided updates and changes as necessary.”

SUNY Cobleskill is among the local colleges working out how they will manage commencement ceremonies and handle reimbursements for students in light of campus changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUNY Oneonta on Wednesday, March 18 announced its commencement would be postponed until this fall. Associate Director of Communications Kim MacLeod on Thursday said there is no set date yet.

SUNY Oneonta President Barbara Jean Morris in a Wednesday afternoon media release said “unfortunately, there is just no way to safely move forward with commencement, our largest gathering of the year.”

"From guidance from the government to the Department of Health to SUNY, we needed to postpone that event," MacLeod said.

SUNY Delhi is working on a process to determine credits or refunds for residence halls and meal plans, college Vice President for Marketing and Communications Dawn Sohns said in a Thursday, March 19 email to The Daily Star. Beginning Monday, March 30, all coursework will be delivered remotely, she said. Spring break has been extended until March 29 to allow faculty time to develop alternate forms of instruction.

In accordance with SUNY guidelines, students who left campus for spring break and who can complete coursework online won't be allowed back to campus for the rest of the semester, Sohns said. In limited situations, students may be asked or allowed to return to SUNY Delhi after April 19, she said. These students have already been notified by their academic department.

"Our faculty and staff continue to be remarkably devoted and flexible during this turbulent time to ensure that our students, especially our seniors, are able to stay on track academically," Sohns said. "As the COVID-19 situation evolves, our commitment to our students, each other, and our community will keep us strong in these challenging circumstances."

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson in a Thursday, March 19, letter assured SUNY students they will receive credits or refunds for the services they didn't use this semester, and that their graduation ceremonies would be rescheduled if they needed to be canceled.

Sohns said discussion regarding the status of the college's commencement ceremony is ongoing and no final decisions have been made at this time. According to Hartwick College's website, the college will let students know by April 10 if the ceremony will be held as scheduled. SUNY Cobleskill's website also states that the college would reach out to seniors regarding commencement.

Though it isn't a SUNY, Hartwick College is also working on plans regarding matters such as reimbursements, according to its website.

Non-graduating SUNY Oneonta students who choose not to return to campus will be credited for unused portions of on-campus room fees. Those graduating will get refunds, MacLeod said.

"That's pretty much the broad picture but how this exactly works is still being figured out," she said.

Refunds for dining plans, which are governed by Oneonta Auxiliary Service policy, are being determined, according to Oneonta Auxiliary Service's website.

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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