ST. BONAVENTURE, NY —  Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued guidance last week for coronavirus infection rates on college campuses and mitigation actions schools must take when the infection rate rises above certain levels.

Cuomo stated that any institution with 100 active COVID-19 cases or an outbreak equal to 5 percent of their campus population or more, must resort to remote learning for two weeks or until the outbreak is at bay. 

That, however, appears to be just a measuring stick. 

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According to an SBU Notice Board message on Tuesday, the Cattaraugus County Health Department can override that trigger point if the COVID caseload is below 100 and determines, in consultation with university and state health officials, that it exceeds an institution's ability to conduct contact tracing and isolate and quarantine students adequately.

A campus population, according to the email, includes students living on campus and those attending class on campus, as well as all staff and faculty working on campus.

 According to SBU’s 25-page reopening plan, residential students who test positive for COVID-19 or require quarantine will be asked to return home. In the event that a student cannot return home, they will be placed in a quarantine room on the first floor of Doyle Hall. Off-campus or commuter students who test positive for COVID-19 are required to notify the university and quarantine at an off-campus location. 

Should a larger outbreak occur, the Cattaraugus County Health Department will work with the university to find extra quarantine space. 

The university identified a number of shutdown triggers in its reopening plan, but did not specify the exact number of active COVID-19 cases it can handle. 

Tom Missel, SBU’s chief communications officer, told TAPinto Greater Olean last week, “That number is impossible to say because it would depend on how many other non-SBU cases the county might be managing and how much available quarantine space they would be able to identify at that particular time.”

As of Tuesday evening, SBU has not yet reported a COVID-19 case. 

For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.

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