GENESEO, N.Y. (WROC) — SUNY Geneseo had more than 100 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Friday, but new state guidelines won’t require the college to go on pause just yet.
Geneseo students started in-person classes on Monday. The campus had 106 positive cases on Friday but many of these are results from tests required before returning to campus. State officials say these don’t count.
Denise Battles is the president of SUNY Geneseo. She said she wasn’t surprised to see positive cases the week students began in-person classes.
“We all know that when individuals travel whether in broader society or coming back to college that is a time when there is risk involved so, again, we anticipated this that’s why we had such strict testing protocols,” Battles said.
Students were required to get tested before coming back to campus and again when arriving. State requirements say 100 positive tests on a campus in a two week period leads to a shutdown but a state official said colleges were told that doesn’t count the tests required to return to campus, since students had been traveling from other areas.
Students living on campus returned last week and many off-campus students came back even sooner.
“We have seen a higher level of incidents among certain populations of students largely these have been off-campus students,” Battles said. “That isn’t necessarily a result of any kind of misbehavior, instead these are groups that tend to live together in larger dwellings so it’s not a surprise.”
Battles said it’s important to keep the numbers in perspective as well. SUNY Geneseo has a 1% positivity rate, Livingston County is at 3%, and New York State is at 4%.
Battles said students know what’s expected of them and she’s looking forward to a great semester.
“When and if we hear of misbehavior we have a zero tolerance policy and our students know that. They want to be here, we want to be here, we all want to have a wonderful semester.”
SUNY Geneseo will be testing approximately 5,000 students, faculty, and staff each week going forward which is 100% of people who are on campus. The students who tested positive are in isolation.
The college has also tightened some of its protocols including no visitors in residence halls, even across the hallways, and changing most dining to takeout or grab-and-go.