By Kennedy Tavares
After two years, multiple vaccines, millions of deaths and a worldwide quarantine, society is just beginning to find a new normal. SUNY Plattsburgh is no exception. This semester, the college has lifted most preventative COVID-19 measures that were put in place, in attempts to return to order.
Beginning in Fall 2020, it was mandatory to wear masks inside of all dormitories and classrooms, and if students failed to do so there was potential for administrative consequences. Students as well as faculty were required to take part in routine COVID testing. If students were to test positive, they were forced to quarantine in a designated building for a week or until they tested negative. Now as the Fall 2022 semester kicks off, that is all in the past.
“I have faith in our students and I feel like our students are responsible. We’ve always seen students reporting themselves when they’re sick, and when they’re supposed to isolate themselves, they have,” Michael Caraballo, director of Emergency Management, said.
Even though New York state is no longer in a state of emergency for COVID-19, which ended in June, that’s not to say the virus isn’t still a concern. In the past two weeks there has been a spike in positive cases from students, reaching 34 positive cases in just one day.
SUNY Plattsburgh, however, is prepared to deal with an influx of positive cases.
“We are allowing students to isolate themselves in their room as long as said student and their roommate are masked at all times. And if that situation doesn’t work for a student and their roommate then we can create temporary accommodations,” Caraballo said.
Despite students no longer having to report to the Health Center if they’ve tested positive, the school is entrusting students to be responsible and take proper precautions if they do come down with the virus.
“As of last week we don’t have to report cases to SUNY anymore. So our stance is that you don’t have to report to us, but we want students to know what they need to do,” Susan Sand, the assistant director of medical services, said. “We do trust that students will do the right thing if they get sick or test positive.”
Students are still required to be fully vaccinated if they plan on being present on campus. The school encourages students and faculty to wear a mask if they feel as if they are falling ill.
“I’m still cautious with masks because COVID isn’t over yet and there is still potential for outbreaks. Overall, though, it’s nice not having to wear my mask and getting my glasses fogged up,” Eniyah Matthews, a gender and women’s studies senior on campus, said.
While COVID-19 measures lighten on campus, SUNY Plattsburgh President Alexander Enyedi has expressed his gratitude towards efforts that helped keep the campus safe.
“I greatly appreciate everything our dedicated health and safety management staff do to coordinate and swiftly communicate our COVID response efforts,” Enyedi said. “As we have done for the past 2.5 years, we continue to ensure that our current policies and protocols align with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Clinton County Health Department (CCHD) to prioritize the health and safety of all SUNY Plattsburgh students, employees and visitors.”
COVID-19 updates will continue to be posted on the SUNY Plattsburgh website.