ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — As St. Bonaventure University administrators weigh coronavirus-related protocols to ensure campus safety for students and employees when they return, the only certainty right now is this: classes, virtually or on campus, will begin on Aug. 31. 

During his daily briefing on Friday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, posed four questions that colleges should address as they plan for the fall:

  • How will housing, meals and gatherings work?
  • What steps need to be taken to ensure student mental health?
  • How can colleges best work together to share services and offer opportunities across public and private systems?
  • Would any alternative academic calendars work?

In an email to TAPinto Greater Olean, Tom Missel, SBU’s chief communications officer, said SBU intends to resume residential life on campus this fall. However, residential life is likely to look different from what it had been. SBU expects to follow a number of guidelines. 

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“The safety of our students and campus community is at the center of our attention,” Missel wrote. “We continue to work with government officials and health organizations that provide us guidance to best ensure public health and safety.”

Everything from masks to reconfigured spaces is on the table.

“We are developing contingency health and social-distancing protocols based on what we believe we’ll be expected to offer once classes begin — everything from how we can reconfigure classrooms and the dining hall to make them safer, buying masks for the campus community should they be required, altering cleaning regimens, conducting student social activities and programming in the 'virtual' space ... everything you can imagine that might be impacted by social distancing and safety protocols,” Missel wrote. 

One of the most important factors for college campuses is the ability to administer COVID-19 tests. But with testing shortages nationwide, that too remains in question. 

“We realize we likely will be asked to implement testing for our campus community and are working with local health officials on possible implementation plans," Missel said. "But ultimately, those plans will be dictated by what those tests are, who can administer them and how much access we have to them.”

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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