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Newburgh Campus Closed on Tuesday/Wednesday, Oct. 6-7

October 5, 2020

College community,

Today, the College received word from two students who self-reported positive COVID-19 tests, and we also learned additional groups of students and instructors were, or may have been, exposed to a COVID-positive individual at an off-campus learning experience.

Knowing this, we have elected to close the Newburgh campus tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 6) and Wednesday (Oct. 7) to limit exposure risk for students and employees, and to allow pending test results and contact tracing to more fully inform our decision-making for Thursday and beyond. This situation is fluid, and I don’t feel we have enough information to comfortably continue in-person activities. Two additional days allows us more time to reassure the Newburgh campus community as to when it will be safe to return.

All academics at Newburgh over the next two days will be moved to a distance format (students should contact their instructors for additional information) and those employees who have been reporting to the Newburgh campus will be expected to work remotely over the next two days. I recognize that this is short notice, so I ask students to contact their instructors for updates and employees to work with their supervisors to arrange tasks for the next two days.

This decision does not impact Middletown campus operations, which will continue as usual. In the event that contact tracing informs us there was crossover exposure to the Middletown campus, we will react accordingly.

None of the exposures that have led us to this decision occurred on campus. However, some of those students were on the Newburgh campus on the day or days after having unknowingly interacted with a positive individual in the course of their off-campus academic pursuits. All of the active cases and exposures can be traced to one specific location.

Those students and instructors who were, or possibly were, exposed to a COVID-positive individual, have been advised to quarantine for 14 days and undergo testing. Their quarantine periods will end Oct. 14 and 15. The Orange County Department of Health is handling contact tracing and will notify us regarding additional possible exposures, as well as the receipt of any positive tests from students or instructors.

As per our Restart Plan, the Newburgh campus, most specifically Kaplan Hall where all of our in-person academic instruction is occurring this semester, will receive a deep cleaning on Tuesday and Wednesday in anticipation of a return to regular operations on Thursday.

For students and employees who are fearful you may have crossed paths with those who were exposed, I remain confident that if you were following our prescribed on-campus protocols (mask wearing, socially distancing, etc.), your risk remains very low. However, I do not intend to minimize your concern, and I encourage you to get tested for your own peace of mind.

We are seeing cases rising in our greater community, so the potential for exposure during our academic and personal lives is escalating. Continue to be smart and act in a safe and healthy manner.

For the purposes of protecting the privacy of those impacted by this ongoing situation, I have told you as much information as I feel comfortable sharing at this particular time. In these situations, rumors and misinformation circulate quickly. I ask that, even though you may see or hear information about those involved, you remain discreet. The sharing of information is the right and privilege of those involved.