COVID-19 cluster forces Keuka College to temporarily close campus


Keuka Park, N.Y. (WROC) — Keuka College is temporarily closing its campus due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Over the past week and a half, multiple students have become infected, with more than a dozen positive COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours.

Over 70 positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified at Keuka College in Yates County, forcing the college to temporarily close the campus. This all stems from one off-campus event held in the beginning of October, according to the chair of the reopening task force Chris Alterio.

“We worked to place the student into cohorts and do our best to keep the isolated but the problem we were running into again was just the vast number all at one time,” said Alterio.

The college tried to control the spread by isolating infected students, shutting down community spaces on campus, and having non-essential employees working from home. With the cases growing every day, leaders say the best choice was temporarily shutting down the campus and switching to fully remote learning.

“We had a massive surge and spike all at once that essentially overwhelmed the college’s capacity practically from the first day,” said Alterio.

According to the New York state department of health’s school covid report card, over 240 students from Keuka College are in quarantine, with some on and some off-campus.

College leaders are still working with the Yates County public health department processing more tests of potentially more cases.

Students who are in quarantine will return home once released by health officials and healthy students are making arrangements to go home.

“What this tells us all is how easy it is for these kind of events to trigger and then result in a large cluster of cases,” said Alterio.

Keuka College hopes to bring students back for in-person learning in the spring semester, but college leaders say they haven’t made a decision and will be working with Yates County department of health to ensure they go forward in a way that will protect students and the community.

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