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Keuka will continue remote learning through fall semester keeping campus ‘mostly closed’

Keuka College will continue distance learning through the end of the semester.

“As much as we hoped to welcome our students back this semester, it’s in the best interest of their safety – and the community’s safety – to limit their travel and have them complete the semester remotely,” said College President Amy Storey. “While this decision is disappointing, we feel it’s the best strategy given the continuing public-health climate and the relatively short time period before the planned end of on-campus instruction on Nov. 20.”

Among the specifics President Storey outlined to students, faculty, and staff today:

-There will be no changes in the academic schedule. Remote instruction will continue through Dec. 5 with finals to follow the following week.

-Students who have remained on campus or who would prefer to return to campus to complete the fall semester owing to educational obstacles at home (housing insecurity, lack of access to wifi, etc.) will be welcomed and accommodated.

-The College will offer a room and board credit for the weeks during which students were unable to live in the residence halls.

-A variety of resources will be provided to support students as they continue their remote instruction or pursue clinical and experiential learning opportunities.

-Faculty and most staff will continue to work remotely for the duration of the semester.

After discontinuing most on-campus operations in March at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, Keuka College resumed operations in August. Students returned the week of Aug. 17 and face-to-face instruction began the following week.

With robust on-campus public-safety safeguards and policies in place, the College saw just a single positive coronavirus case over the first seven weeks of the semester. But cases began to emerge on Oct. 7 following a non-sanctioned, off-campus gathering, requiring the College to first transition to remote learning, then discontinue on-campus operations and request healthy students to return home.

Positive cases among the College community have since plummeted, from more than 70 on Oct. 15, when the College announced its decision to suspend on-campus operations, to about one dozen on campus today.

Even with the lowered number of incidents, College officials decided that continuing the remote-learning model is the safest course of action.

“While this certainly isn’t the fall semester experience that any of us wanted,” said President Storey, “it is the experience that — for the duration of the fall — will help keep all of us safe.”