ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — St. Bonaventure University, in precaution of the Coronavirus, has suspended university-sponsored travel and all on-campus activities, including extracurricular and cocurricular activities.

“In an effort to do as much as possible to control what we can as the Coronavirus crisis evolves, we are temporarily suspending all university-sponsored student travel unless it’s directly related to instruction or course requirements (student teaching, for example),” SBU President Dr. Dennis DePerro wrote in his third and final message of the day to the campus community. 

DePerro said the restrictions will begin March 13 and end on March 31. However, the university, along with the Cattaraugus County Department of Health, can extend the retrictions. 

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“University administrators, in consultation with the County Health Department, will re-examine the situation to decide if the suspension needs to be extended,” DePerro said.

In addition, SBU’s Residential Education department has suspended its March 31 in-person housing selection. 

In an email to the campus community, Residence Life said it will announce a new timeline for selection and online applications:

“If you have applied for a townhouse, those applications were already due today by 5pm. You will still be notified tomorrow if your housing application is approved for a townhouse, but you will not select in person on Monday, March 16th as outlined in the original timeline, and no changes to the townhouse application can be made at this time. No additional townhouse applications will be accepted at this time.”

Many colleges and universities across the country have decided to suspend in-person classes as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. With New York eclipsing 200 cases Wednesday, SUNY and CUNY schools will have online classes for the remainder of the school year. 

St. Bonaventure, however, will continue to hold in-person classes for the time being. DePerro said the university has a plan in place should it have to suspend in-person classes. 

“We’ve established a COVID-19 Planning & Response Team and are developing contingency academic plans should we be forced to stop doing so,” DePerro wrote. 

Tom Missel, SBU’s chief communications officer, told TAPinto Greater Olean that the university, following the guidance of Cattaraugus County’s Department of Health, is trying its best to keep up with a rapidly changing situation. 

“The decision that Dr. DePerro just announced to restrict student travel and suspend campus events is one step toward limiting potential exposure,” Missel wrote. 

Missel said sending students home could make matters worse in some cases, as students could have to travel to areas that have a high number of reported cases. 

“But making the decision to send kids home and provide online instruction — when we have no reported cases of COVID-19 on campus or in the local community — might make matters worse in some cases by sending students home to areas that may have a higher incidence of reported cases,” Missel wrote. 

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