SUNY Brockport raises COVID-19 risk level with 6 active cases reported

Coronavirus

BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — SUNY Brockport officials announced Monday that the college is raising its COVID-19 Risk Level from Green (new normal) to Blue (Intermediate Alert).

College President Heidi Macpherson wrote Monday that this risk level rise is a proactive measure. The president wrote, in part:

“We currently have just six active cases involving members of our community, and zero in New York State’s 14-day measuring period (Oct. 10 – 23). However, we are becoming concerned about a rise in cases in Monroe County.

MORE | COVID-19 county by county: Keeping track of local cases throughout the region

When we began the fall semester, Monroe County was considered ‘very low risk’ for COVID-19 according to the SUNY Dashboard created by Upstate Medical University. Since then, the county has increased two risk levels and is now at “moderate risk” for COVID-19. We’re also hearing increased reports of student travel, not only to other colleges and universities (often where cases are much higher) but also out-of-state, despite the travel advisories and required quarantines for most states. Travel and large gatherings are the two primary ways that most campuses are seeing an increase in cases. Let’s keep our cases down and our campus open by avoiding travel, parties, and large gatherings.

We have six weeks before we move to remote instruction. Our campus, as a whole, has done an incredible job of Protecting the Nest. But we must remain vigilant. One poor decision could not only put our fall semester at risk, but it could also put the health and safety of our community in jeopardy.

Please wash your hands, practice social distancing, clean/disinfect your work/study space, and wear your face coverings. Avoid large gatherings of any kind – particularly those that are held indoors. Avoid any unnecessary travel. Together, we can Protect the Nest.”

“When we began the semester, Monroe County was at a very low risk level. So we’ve jumped two levels since then. We just want our community to remain vigilant,” says John Follaco, Director of Communications.

Follaco says they want to keep the cases down on campus, and are telling students no large parties or gatherings, and to limit travel outside the area. “We’ve asked them to avoid travel, especially to other colleges and universities. We have seen an uptick in that over the last several weeks.”

Follaco says most students are doing a good job following the guidelines already. The students we spoke to aren’t arguing that, and a staff member saying the move to ‘intermediate alert’, probably for the best. 

“I mean, around here, I haven’t seen any big parties really or anything, so everyone’s doing well,” says Zack Olsen, a SUNY Brockport student studying criminal justice.

“It (has to) be an adjustment. For freshman, this can’t be real college life but, I think they’re doing the right thing for the most part,” says Kim Johnston, who works at SUNY Brockport.

For Rob Deane, who is studying sculpture, he’s hoping classmates play it safe. With his major, he can’t learn on a computer all that well. “So, if the semester shuts down, and we are sent home to work online, it severely hampers our education,” says Deane.

Follaco says they are proud of the fact they’ve made it this far with so few cases. He says let’s keep it up, even one bad decision by one student can cause a Covid cluster. “There’s not a lot of room for error with a pandemic. So we’re asking our students to keep doing what they’re doing,” he says.

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