By Emily Clute
All UAlbany classes have been suspended for Thursday, March 12 after the confirmation of a COVID-19 case within the university community.
One of the two cases to be confirmed in Albany County is a 20-year-old male University at Albany student-- the other, 30-year-old woman from Guilderland.
The announcement came in an email from UAlbany President Havidán Rodriguez on Thursday morning.
The university was notified of the case late Wednesday night by the Albany County Department of Health (ACDOH). The UAlbany student resides off-campus and will be kept isolated from the campus population until they are cleared by public health officials, according to the email from President Rodriguez.
The business building will be closed for the day to work with the ACDOH and ensure proper cleaning.
CLASSES MOVED ONLINE
Effective March 23, all UAlbany courses will be held remotely until further notice, according to an email from President Rodriguez.
The email assured that the campus will remain open, including residence halls, offices, and dining services.
All SUNY and CUNY schools will be moving to a distance-learning model for the rest of the semester, starting on March 19. This decision came from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and was announced in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, as well as on Cuomo’s official Twitter page.
This decision was reached in the hope that reducing the densities of populations will help to limit the spread of the virus-- especially in New York City and downstate New York, where the cases have been centered.
According to Beth Garvey, Special Counsel and Senior Advisor to the governor, the plan is not to entirely close campuses, allowing classes that require physical or in-person instruction-- such as lab classes-- to continue. For the remaining in-person classes, Garvey suggested staggering class times and breaking classes into smaller groups in order to limit the number of students on campus at a time.
So far, schools across the country-- including Ohio State University, Harvard University, and Princeton University-- have made the decision to switch to online instruction for most or all courses. Some are even urging students not to return to campus after spring break for the safety of the student body.
As of Wednesday morning, the United States surpassed 1,000 cases of known coronavirus infection, with over 200 known cases in New York. Governor Cuomo issued a National Guard supported containment area around New Rochelle, a city in Westchester County, which has been the epicenter for New York cases.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially classified the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic.
Cuomo has laid out a three-step plan to tackle the outbreak in New York-- sufficient testing, reducing density to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and open communication as the situation evolves.
UAlbany has developed a list of frequently asked questions about the coronavirus for students, faculty, and our community to use as the situation evolves. This page will be updated as new information is released.
The UAlbany administration was reached out to for comment but has not yet made a comment by the time of publication.
This story will be updated as the situation evolves.