Cuomo: SUNY, CUNY to Go to Distance Learning March 19th

Cuomo says students encouraged to leave dorms at that time

Tom Puckett
March 11, 2020 - 2:29 pm
Governor Andrew Cuomo
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Albany, NY (WBEN/AP) There will be no in-person classes at SUNY and CUNY schools on March 19th, says Governor Cuomo. 

Cuomo announced at a Wednesday news conference the public university system will shift to distance learning to help reduce density of campuses, thus lessening the risk of coronavirus spreading. "While the risk to New Yorkers remains low, we are taking a number of steps out of an abundance of caution to protect public health including asking SUNY and CUNY to implement strategies to reduce density on campuses for the remainder of the semester," Governor Cuomo said. "At the same time, we're continuing to prioritize ramping up testing capacity because the more people you identify as having the virus, the better you can contain it. We're also leading by example and providing paid leave to all state workers who are quarantined as a result of the virus - and we encourage businesses to voluntarily do telecommuting to the extent possible. Again I want to remind people to keep this in perspective: the facts do not justify the fear in this situation and the facts here should actually reduce anxiety."

Students will be encouraged to leave their dorms, but Cuomo says if they have nowhere to go, they won't be evicted.

The SUNY Student Assembly says in a statement, “Guaranteeing the health and safety of the State University of New York’s students, faculty and staff is rightfully Governor Cuomo’s priority. We appreciate the Governor’s announcement that SUNY campuses will move to a distance learning model for the remainder of the spring semester. Continuing SUNY’s tradition of inclusive and accessible academic excellence is as important as ever. The SUNY Student Assembly looks forward to working with Chancellor Johnson and her team to ensure that students have all the resources and support that they need as we make this transition.”

UB issued a statement Wednesday: "For the past month, the University at Buffalo has been preparing to move to a distance learning model for student instruction in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation. With the governor’s guidance announced today, and in collaboration with SUNY leadership, UB will now move forward to implement its plans for distance learning beginning March 23. In consultation with SUNY, UB’s leadership will provide more information to our students, faculty and staff this week regarding implementation of distance learning at UB and the availability of on-campus services such as residence halls and dining. UB has been communicating with the university community via its COVID-19 website, which has been updated almost daily since launching in January."

SUNY Buffalo State says "We will cancel all classes March 14–20, and expand spring break to two weeks—from March 14 to 29—to allow our faculty and instructional designers dedicated time to work together to prepare for the switch to remote instruction. The final day of in-person classes this semester will be Friday, March 13. Classes will resume via remote instruction only on Monday, March 30. Buffalo State College will remain open during this temporary interruption of in-person classes. Staff members will continue to follow regular work schedules, and faculty members will continue to present coursework to their students—albeit in a different format. Students, please know that our interim provost, deans, chairs, and faculty members will work tirelessly to make any accommodation necessary to ensure that your academic progress is not slowed by this decision. If you are on track to graduate this semester, you will stay on track to graduate. Coursework after March 30 will be delivered through a variety of platforms, including services like Blackboard or Zoom, conference calls, or other methods. And yes, we also recognize that studio and lab work, as well as student teaching, will be difficult to replicate, but again, our faculty members are discussing creative alternatives for those classes. "

Cuomo says there are now 216 confirmed cases of coronavirus in NYS, none in WNY. 

Cuomo said health experts are recommending that New York City’s venerable St. Patrick’s Day parade be cancelled amid the coronavirus outbreak. The governor told a news conference at the state Capitol on Wednesday that officials would likely make a decision later Wednesday. The parade, scheduled for Tuesday, would draw thousands to Manhattan at a time when officials are trying to reduce large gatherings. 

Also Wednesday, saying, “This was not an easy decision", Hilbert College President Dr. Michael Brophy announced it will suspend all residential academic and student life programs, effective at the end of the academic day on Saturday, March 14.  The College will transition to online courses for two weeks beginning March 15.  All residential students are instructed to move off campus no later than March 14 at 5 p.m.

Hilbert plans to resume traditional residential classes and campus activities on Monday, March 30.  Further instructions will be provided to students prior to that date.

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