SUNY Oneonta outbreak spurs other colleges to buckle down


As SUNY Oneonta’s coronavirus outbreak continued to grow, Tuesday, Sept. 1, other local colleges took more steps to prevent a similar eruption. 

A week after the first two SUNY Oneonta positive COVID tests came back, Otsego County announced Tuesday that 50 more students have tested positive, bringing the total to 227 students who have tested positive. In addition, two community members and one Hartwick College student tested positive.

Hartwick College followed that announcement with a decision to switch the campus to remote learning for at least two weeks.  

“Because of the sudden and steep increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Oneonta community, we have decided to commence remote instruction only,” Hartwick College President Margaret Drugovich said in a media release. “Though only two Hartwick students have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, we are taking this step as a precautionary measure to protect the health of all members of our campus-based community.

This adaptation was anticipated in, and is consistent with, our reopening plan,” Drugovich said.

According to the media release, both Hartwick students who have tested positive are isolating at their homes, which are outside of the city of Oneonta. Residents of the college are expected to continue to stay on campus and continue their studies online. The measure will be in effect until Tuesday, Sept. 15. 

“We understood that having our students study remotely was a possibility and have prepared for it,” Drugovich said. “We remain committed to each student’s success and have confidence in our ability to deliver the education that was planned for this fall. We will reevaluate the need for this continued approach in two weeks. If we can return to in classroom instruction at the end of this two weeks, we will. We look forward to that.”

In Cobleskill, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras visited the SUNY Cobleskill campus Tuesday to announce rapid pool testing for the school and support SUNY Cobleskill President Marion Terenzio who announced suspensions for 12 students who violated state and campus rules about gatherings. 

“President Terenzio and the entire SUNY Cobleskill community have done a phenomenal job to keep each other safe with a comprehensive plan that is being smartly implemented,” Malatras in a media release. “But we can’t go backwards. I fully support President Terenzio’s decision to suspend these 12 students. My thanks to Marion for initiating pooled testing today, and for the SUNY Cobleskill community, particularly our students, for staying the course and doing what is right to protect one another. This is what leadership looks like.”

SUNY Cobleskill has had two students test positive. Those students have left Cobleskill to isolate, according to the media release.  

Free rapid testings sites set up by the state will be open Wednesday, Sept. 2, in Oneonta at the Armory at 4 Academy St., St. James Church at 305 Main St. and Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center. The testing is open to residents, people who work in Oneonta, students or other community members.

Testing is by appointment only. New Yorkers can call 833-NYSTRNG to make an appointment. 

Delaware County also reported three new residents with positive coronavirus tests Tuesday.  

Recommended for you