SUNY students face suspension for flouting COVID-19 protocols

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras, speaking here at an August press conference, said in a statement on Friday, announcing penalties for violation of COVID-19 protocols, “While a vast majority of our students are complying with the rules, we cannot let a few people ruin it for everyone.”

ALBANY COUNTY — Of the 27 new cases of COVID-19 announced by Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy on Saturday morning, 11 are associated with the University at Albany.

On Friday, the State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced that students who flout COVID-19 safety protocols face immediate academic and housing suspension.

“While a vast majority of our students are complying with the rules, we cannot let a few people ruin it for everyone,” Malatras said in a statement.

 Each of the state’s 64 colleges and universities must put the new policy in place by Thursday, Oct. 1. 

Infractions include failing to isolate or quarantine, hosting or attending on- or off-campus gatherings, and not wearing a mask or observing social distancing.

As of Saturday evening, the SUNY COVID-19 Tracker indicated that, since tracking began on Aug. 28, there have been 1,837 cases of COVID-19 across the statewide system.

The state requires campuses that have more than 100 cases in a two-week period to move to remote teaching for two weeks.

The tracker shows a total of 130 estimated positive cases at UAlbany since testing began: 47 in the first two-week period, and 83 in the second two-week period, which concluded on Friday.

Albany County’s health department was notified “of a low risk community exposure for COVID at Maggie McFly’s restaurant at Crossgates Mall,” a release from McCoy’s office said. The employee worked last Saturday, Sept. 19, and Sunday, Sept. 20, and then tested positive.

“Interaction with the public was minimal,” the release said. “Anyone there with symptoms or concerns should consider testing. 

Currently, Albany County has had 2,921 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of the 27 new cases, 20 had close contact with someone infected with the disease, two reported out-of-state travel, and five did not have a clear source of infection detected at this time.

As of Saturday morning, 894 county residents are under quarantine, one fewer than Friday.

The five-day average for new daily positives has increased to 18.2 from 14.4 Friday. There are now 101 active cases in the county, up from 90 Friday. So far, 11,952 county residents have completed quarantine. Of those who completed quarantine, 2,820 of them had tested positive and recovered.

Six county residents, down from seven on Friday, are hospitalized with COVID-19 and the county’s hospitalization rate decreased to 0.20 percent from 0.24 percent on Friday.

The county’s COVID-19 death toll remains at 134.

Statewide, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday that 1 percent of Friday’s COVID-19 tests were positive.

The Capital Region, of which Albany County is a part, had a positivity rate of 0.7 percent. Mid-Hudson, the Southern Tier, New York City, and Western New York all had rates above 1 percent.

Of the state’s 10 regions, the North Country had, as usual, the lowest rate, at 0.2 percent.

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