SUNY Cortland announces optional departure plan

SUNY Cortland announces optional departure plan

Date: 11/01/2020

Given the uncertainty of the remaining academic calendar due to our extended study-in-place period, our students currently working remotely, and the upcoming Thanksgiving break, SUNY Cortland is modifying its calendar schedule.

We will be implementing an early and staggered departure plan for students who test negative, especially for those students who have all-online courses for the remainder of the semester. SUNY Cortland and the Cortland County Health Department, developed this optional plan to allow students to safely return home early.

To make this possible, SUNY Cortland worked with SUNY System Administration and the county health department to provide an orderly process for students to demonstrate they are virus-free before returning to potentially vulnerable families and hometowns.

This revised testing and departure plan does not require students to leave campus before the already-scheduled moveout of Nov. 20-23, but gives those who have made this request the opportunity to do so. The campus is not closing, and services will be provided on campus for those students who elect to stay.

As part of this revised plan, SUNY Cortland will not resume in-person classes this semester. Instead, as we have been doing since Oct. 7, we will conduct our courses online for the remainder of the semester.

Under the revised plan:

  • Students who have tested positive for COVID and completed the 10-day mandatory isolation period may return home for the semester if they choose to.
  • Students who have gone home during the current study-in-place period for medical appointments and other excused reasons may remain at home.
  • Students who request to go home and test negative for COVID may leave within five days of taking the test and within two days of receiving a negative report.
    o   If they do not leave within 48 hours of receiving a negative report, they will need to retest.
    o   Student test results are only valid for five days after testing. Most test results are back within two to four days.
  • Students who complete a mandatory quarantine after Nov. 2 have 48 hours to leave campus. If they miss that window, they will need a negative test.
  • Only test results from Nov. 2 onward will be valid for purposes of certifying fitness for departure from Cortland.
  • No student will be allowed to go home for Thanksgiving break without proof of a negative COVID test, or completion of an isolation or quarantine period. Students who receive a negative COVID report or complete quarantine have 48 hours to leave campus. To avoid a positive test that would require on-campus isolation over the Thanksgiving holiday, students who are relying on pool testing should make sure they are tested by Nov. 9 at the latest.
  • All students are required to self-isolate — strictly limit contact, wear masks and practice social distancing — between the time they take their test and the time they leave campus to avoid subsequent exposure to COVID.
  • SUNY Cortland will continue to conduct surveillance testing as necessary in consultation with SUNY System and Cortland County Health Department. Student Health Services will continue to conduct PCR and rapid antigen testing as necessary.
  • The Cortland County Health Department recommends that even with a recent negative COVID-19 test, students should continue to self-quarantine for 14 days.  Students will be required to commit to following that guidance upon leaving campus and attest that they may have been exposed to the virus even after testing negative.
  • Additional details and updates are available at SUNY Cortland’s Departure Planning webpage.

The SUNY Cortland community has faced significant challenges this semester, and all faculty, staff and students have managed heroically. With just a few weeks remaining before the scheduled end of our on-campus semester and a plan for revised plan for testing and dismissal in place, the horizon is in sight. Thank you all for helping us get here.

All the best,

Erik J. Bitterbaum