Schenectady

SUNY Schenectady pushes back spring start date, classes to begin virtually

SUNY Schenectady President Steady Moono.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

SUNY Schenectady President Steady Moono.

Students at SUNY Schenectady for the spring semester won’t be heading to in-person classes Tuesday since the college has announced it will delay the spring semester’s start and the date in-person classes actually begin.

Rather than returning to campus Tuesday, Jan. 18, students will start classes virtually on Jan. 24 with the exception of some aviation, culinary arts, music and science labs. All in-person classes will begin on Feb. 7.

“The safety of our students, faculty, staff, and community remains our top priority,” said college President Steady Moono in a press release Friday. “With the general increase in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant, we thought it was best to delay the start of the semester and begin with virtual online learning formats.” 

Moono said the faculty and staff on campus are prepared to go virtual. 

“We will continue to offer support services for our students and be available for them in any way they might need,” he said. “Our students have shown tremendous resilience, grit and adaptability over the past nearly two years, and we appreciate the flexibility they have demonstrated throughout the pandemic.”

Support for students includes laptop loans, the food pantry, wellness advisement, tutoring and information technology support, according to the release. 

A deep cleaning will take place on campus prior to the return of students for in-person classes, according to the release. 

However, services are still available to students on campus prior to the start of in-person classes, said David Clicker, the vice president for strategic initiatives and planning for the college Friday afternoon. 

Students attending for the spring semester need to be vaccinated, including having the booster shot if they are eligible to receive it at the time of returning to campus, according to the college’s website. Students must submit proof of their vaccination. Those looking to receive a vaccine exemption must submit a request to the college by 5 p.m. Jan. 28. 

Booster shots will be available on Tuesday and Jan. 24, between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., at the college. Appointments are required.

Students will also be pool-tested each week during the spring semester. 

There will also be weekly pooled-testing for employees who have not been fully vaccinated yet, have an exemption or have not submitted proof of vaccination. Employees who are vaccinated will be subject to monthly pooled testing. 

Campus common areas are reduced to 75% capacity, with seating socially distanced, according to the college’s website. Masks are required at all times, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. If someone does not have a face covering, they will be provided one at the point of entry into buildings.

“We are strongly encouraging folks that come on campus to use the N95s,” Moono said Friday afternoon.

KN95 and N95 masks will be made available on campus starting next week, he said. 

Hand-sanitizing stations will be placed throughout campus and signs will be posted noting anyone entering a building must perform a self-health screening. 

Students that have been in contact with someone who has tested positive on campus will be notified by campus officials. The college lists its quarantine guidelines on its website. 

Clicker said the college remains in constant communication with the Schenectady County Health Department and is also continuing to watch what other health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend for quarantine guidelines. 

“We have very clear quarantine guidelines in place already and what we are always doing is, as new information arises we crosscheck it with what is currently in place and if there is any required update we do that,” Clicker said. 

Moono said college officials meet at least two to three times a day regarding covid and the number of cases. 

“We will adjust accordingly,” he said. “Our commitment is to make sure our students and employees are safe and that our students continue on their student success journey. We absolutely, 100%, committed to that.”

The move by SUNY Schenectady follows that of other colleges, including the University at Albany, which also pushed its start date to Jan. 24 from Jan. 19. 

The omicron Variant has caused an increase in COVID cases nationwide. Currently, in Schenectady County, there are 3,542 active cases, with 59 of those in the hospital, according to the county’s COVID dashboard, which was last updated at 2 p.m. Friday. 

Information on the college’s guidelines for students can be found at https://sunysccc.edu/Current-Students/Return-to-Campus.html 

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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