SUNY Geneseo hopes to send ‘strong message’ by suspending students for COVID violations

Back to School: Facts First

GENESEO, N.Y. (WROC) — More colleges are welcoming students back to class, but some are shutting down as quickly as they reopen, as positive cases of coronavirus are reported. To keep that from happening, SUNY schools in our area are cracking down.

SUNY Geneseo suspended nine students and three Greek organizations after village police sent the college reports of off-campus students not following social distancing and masking guidelines. College officials said the suspension of the few students and organizations sends a strong message to the rest of the campus community that the college is taking this seriously.

“We have students and faculty and staff who have invested a lot to keep this community safe and we’re not going to jeopardize that with a few students who want to party off-campus and not follow social distancing guidelines,” said Michael Taberski, the vice president for student and campus life at SUNY Geneseo.

He said the village police department sends the college any reports involving students and this year that includes COVID-19 violations.

“We don’t want folks involved in a big off-campus gatherings not wearing masks or not taking those policies seriously or social distancing seriously to bring those back to campus,” Taberski said.

Taberski said they are still investigating how the Greek organizations were involved to decide the final outcome. The students will also go through a code of conduct process.

“We would hope that other students would see both the seriousness of interacting with police and getting a letter from the vice president saying you’re interimly suspended sends a strong message.”

SUNY Oneonta recently switched to remote learning for two weeks after more than 100 students tested positive for COVID-19. That case number is now up to 245. SUNY chancellor Jim Malatras said to prevent this from happening again or at other campuses everyone has to do their part.

“Our students have to do their part by following the code of conduct and where they are violating the code of conduct, not that we want to rain on their parade and don’t want them to socialize, but you can see how quickly this virus spreads,” Malatras said.

SUNY Geneseo has only had one COVID-19 case, which they found out about due to mandatory testing before classes began. That student was living off campus and has since moved out of the community until they’re cleared to come back.

On Tuesday, the New York State Department of Health approved SUNY Upstate Medical’s COVID-19 saliva test for SUNY campuses. It can test 10-25 students at one time and the screening can analyze more than 15,000 samples per day.

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