As State University of New York students prepare to travel home for Thanksgiving and remote learning for the remainder of the fall semester, Chancellor Jim Malatras met on Friday with SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan and New Paltz students during the final days of SUNY’s mandatory exit testing. SUNY New Paltz is projected to complete its testing of more than 3,500 students by Monday and all SUNY campuses are scheduled to wrap up mandatory pre-Thanksgiving testing of 140,000 students on campuses early next week. SUNY’s colleges and universities have been testing regularly throughout the fall semester conducting 509,903 tests to date with a positive rate of 0.50 percent.
During the visit, Chancellor Malatras reviewed testing results to date for the SUNY New Paltz campus, as well as campus and local public health coordination to monitor students testing positive and isolating either on campus or at home.
“Our students, campus leadership, faculty and staff have done a tremendous job holding the coronavirus levels low and keeping each other safe, and as final preparations take place to go remote for the remainder of the fall semester, it is important to me that the exit testing guidance is being followed and those students testing positive will be cared for,” said Chancellor Malatras. “Today’s visit with students in person, as well as calls with students across SUNY campuses, helps me make sure their needs are being met and that they feel confident about our reopening for the spring semester. My thanks to President Christian, our students, County Executive Pat Ryan, and County Health Commissioner Carol Smith for their ongoing partnership.”
Earlier this month, Chancellor Malatras announced guidance for the spring semester reopening. Developed with input from college leaders, students, faculty and union leadership, the plan mandates quarantine and testing for all returning students, cancels spring break, requires face coverings in classrooms at all times and pushes the start of in-person instruction to February 1. These measures — combined with proven testing, transparency and enforcement policies already in place across SUNY — set a nationwide standard for detecting and managing Covid-19 throughout the winter and spring terms.
SUNY New Paltz President Christian said, “We are proud of our students who have responded to Covid-19 by carefully following public health guidelines and adopting a ‘we-not-me’ attitude and approach this fall. Our campus community has largely abided by the pledge to protect New Paltz and committed to mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing, avoiding large gatherings and extensive testing and tracing. These are key points that infectious disease experts, Ulster County, SUNY and New York State have emphasized as the best path for turning the corner on the pandemic. We appreciate the collaborative effort and support during these challenging times, including from County Executive Ryan, Chancellor Malatras, Governor Cuomo and the New Paltz community. We believe that these same principles and practices will produce a safe and successful spring semester.”