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Cortland outlines plan for welcoming students back, starting weekly COVID testing

SUNY Cortland will require students to test negative for COVID-19 before returning to campus and will test every student, faculty and staff member once a week throughout the spring semester, according to re-opening plan recently approved by SUNY Administration.

The plan, which dramatically increases testing, strengthens student outreach and eliminates breaks and holidays, is the university’s blueprint for safely returning to in-person education during the pandemic. It will continue the physical distancing, sanitizing and other safety measures in place during the fall and will require face coverings almost everywhere on campus. Classes begin Feb. 1 with a mix of in-person, online and hybrid instruction.

“We live in a time of extraordinary challenges, so we are taking extraordinary measures to ensure the safety and success of our students,” President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “By limiting the spread of the virus, we can provide an engaging and rewarding educational experience despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19.”

The plan, and other information related to the semester, is available online through SUNY Cortland’s Spring 2021 Guide. Under the new safety measures, all members of the SUNY Cortland community —students, faculty and staff — must:

  • Complete a daily, online screen for COVID symptoms and follow all resulting recommendations for 14 days before arriving on campus.
  • Complete a seven-day precautionary quarantine before traveling to the university.
  • Submit proof of a negative COVID test or documentation of a positive test and completed isolation period within the last 90 days before being allowed on campus.
  • Participate in pool surveillance testing immediately after coming to Cortland. Students living in campus residence halls will be tested by the university on the day they arrive. Off-campus students will participate in campus testing Jan. 25 to 31.
  • Participate in weekly, on-campus pool testing if they will be on campus for any reason.
  • Follow guidelines on physical distancing, hand washing and face coverings both on and off campus. Students are expected to cover their faces except when they are in their personal living area or eating.

As during the fall semester, students may not invite guests to campus and members of the community are not allowed to use SUNY Cortland facilities.

Statistics on COVID testing and case numbers for SUNY Cortland are available through the system-wide SUNY COVID-19 Tracker, which is updated daily.