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SUNY, CUNY Schools Move To 'Distance Learning' Amid Coronavirus Concerns

SUNY and CUNY campuses are shutting down.
SUNY and CUNY campuses are shutting down. Photo Credit: Pixabay

The coronavirus outbreak will force SUNY and CUNY schools to adopt a new policy of “distance learning,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

Cuomo announced that beginning on Thursday, March 19, all SUNY and CUNY schools are transitioning in an effort to help reduce density on college campuses to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“Both systems will be doing that,” Cuomo said. “CUNY will help reduce the density in New York City, and SUNY will help keep the density in downstate New York, including in Purchase, Westbury and Stony Brook.”

Cuomo said that they are still working on developing a plan and are actively consulting with SUNY and CUNY. The protocol is expected to be in place through the end of the semester.

“Campuses will not be closed, but the goal is to reduce the congregation of multiple students,” he said. “It’s about restricting the number of people in any given class.”

The governor noted that individual SUNY and CUNY campuses will not be closed, but they will be “releasing students to the best of their abilities beginning on March 19, though there will be some exceptions.

“Sometimes there will be programs, such as a lab, that must be conducted on-site, but those are exceptions. Otherwise (students) will be released for the rest of the semester and distance learning.”

Cuomo said he was unsure how the latest measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus would impact sports teams at those schools.The virus is expected to have an impact on in-person graduations as well.

“We’re just trying to reduce the congregations of large numbers of people in classroom settings,” an advisor to Cuomo said. “So students will be able to return home, study online or through other mechanisms.

“As for graduations, we’re still talking that through with SUNY and CUNY leadership, but the expectation is that a large number of them will not be happening in person.” 

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