Dear Faculty and Staff: The resurgence of the COVID-19 virus around our country is intensifying on the heels of holiday travel and gatherings. Here in Onondaga County, we are experiencing rising infection rates and an uptick in hospitalizations. In response,…
Troubling Spike in COVID-19 Cases, Additional Action Underway
Over the last 24 hours, it has become abundantly clear that a small group of students are willfully ignoring the Stay Safe Pledge, and New York State public health guidelines. We are aware of several parties and large gatherings that occurred as recently as last night. These actions have jeopardized the final weeks of residential campus instruction, and more importantly put members of our campus and Central New York Community at risk. While the majority of our students continue to do the right things, by now we should all understand that reckless, careless and selfish behavior on the part of even a small number of us, has consequences for all of us.
New Clusters Could Result in Campus Shutdown
Yesterday, Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie announced two emerging clusters of COVID-19. The 21 cases identified to date are directly linked to two parties—one at Orange Crate Brewing Company and the other at an unrecognized Greek house. These aren’t the only parties we know about.
- We are reviewing social media video from parties that occurred last night and last weekend.
- We are working to identify leaseholders of these parties, as well as participants.
- Those individuals will be referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities where their cases will be reviewed and appropriate action will be taken.
- Know this: Several students have faced suspension this semester for similar violations of our Code of Student Conduct and the Stay Safe Pledge and we expect more in the coming days.
At this point, 70 percent of all positive COVID-19 cases associated with our most recent outbreak are among students living off-campus. The greatest threat to our ability to remain on campus this semester and welcome students back next semester is the behavior of students living off campus and activities occurring off campus. To date: not a single case of COVID-19 has been transmitted in the classroom. This proves that we can be here. We can have in-person learning. And we can have safe in-person activities on campus. We can do this only if our students adhere to the public health guidelines we have put into place.
As Halloween weekend gets underway, we urge you to consider these following questions before participating in any parties this weekend:
- Do I want to call my parents to tell them I’ve been suspended for hosting or attending a party?
- Do I want to be responsible for spreading COVID-19 to a member of my family, a friend or someone who may be at risk?
- Do I want to be the reason our campus shuts down?
The answer should be simple.
Patrolling for Parties
- Patrols and Monitoring for Parties: Keeping gatherings small and practicing social distancing is more important than ever. Social gatherings off-campus may not exceed five individuals who do not live together. Staff in the Department of Public Safety and the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience will be monitoring off-campus residences for social gatherings that exceed the five-person limit. Our safety teams will be out in full force this weekend to try to keep us all as safe as possible.
- Violators Will Be Referred for Disciplinary Action: Students who host or participate in Halloween parties that violate public health guidance will be referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for review and appropriate action. This semester, many referrals have resulted in sanctions, up to suspension.
25 Days Left!
We have 25 days left on campus. It’s up to you if we make it that far. Hold yourself accountable. Hold each other accountable. Think about how your actions will affect you, your family, your friends and our community.
Robert D. Hradsky, Ed.D.
Vice President for the Student Experience
Chief, Department of Public Safety