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Cuomo clamps down on colleges with new guidance for remote learning, COVID outbreaks

On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued new guidance for college campuses – outlining what would trip a closure, or remote transition.

While schools had their own plans, the Governor’s plan sets the bar significantly lower. Now, if a college has 100 cases, or 5% of the population on-campus tests positive – they will be forced to go remote for at least two weeks.


“We’ve seen troubling reports of students congregating on college campuses, so we are setting a threshold that says if colleges have 100 cases or if the number of cases equal 5 percent of their population or more, they must go to remote learning for two weeks, at which time we will reassess the situation,” Governor Cuomo said. “We should anticipate clusters and that’s what we’re seeing. Be prepared for it, get ahead of it.”

Colleges will have to work with the Department of Health to come up with plans that will keep students safe in the event that those numbers spike.

If clusters of positive cases emerge on particular areas of a campus while still below 5 percent or under 100 students, but strain the college’s ability to isolate and contact trace, the college must return to 100 percent distance learning with limited on-campus activity. The local department of health or State Department of Health may order colleges to suspend on-campus activities upon a finding of the college’s inability to control the outbreak, even under the metric, according to the Governor.


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