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COVID-19

Newburgh Campus to Remain Remote Oct. 8-9

October 7, 2020

College community,

Please be advised that the SUNY Orange Newburgh campus will remain in remote status tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 8) and Friday (Oct. 9). The in-person, on-campus academic instruction that moved to a distance format over the past two days will continue in that fashion while all but essential employees will work remotely for the remainder of the week.

However, tomorrow’s pooled COVID-19 testing scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Kaplan Hall Great Room on the Newburgh campus will be held as scheduled.

The Middletown campus will continue to operate as usual.

Since we announced late on Monday the closing of the Newburgh campus for Tuesday and Wednesday, we’ve continued to gather information related to those students and employees who were, or may have been, exposed to COVID-positive individual(s). While the information we have has been helpful, I do not yet have the critical pieces of data that I believe are required for me to confidently confirm the situation is contained, nor can I say whether there is potential for greater viral spread.

The Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) and other required and related public health entities are fully immersed in this process. We’ve come to understand that contact tracing and official verification of COVID-19 test results are complicated tasks, but ones that must be completed meticulously and thoroughly. Often, the single most important tool needed for contact tracing is time, but this situation is complicated by our necessary interactions with different agencies and jurisdictions. By keeping our Newburgh campus closed over the next two days, (aside from use of the facility for pooled testing tomorrow), we in essence buy five days of time as the College will also be closed entirely for Fall Holiday on Monday (Oct. 12).

At this particular moment in time, pooled testing has become a timely tool to assist our efforts in  understanding and/or mitigating the potential spread of COVID-19, so that is why we will continue as planned. Kaplan Hall and the Great Room have each received a deep clean twice over the past 48 hours, and we have taken every measure (signage, floor markings, sanitization stations, plexiglass, etc.) to assure those being tested maintain proper social distancing and do not congregate while testing is occurring. Our testing staff will have additional PPE items at their disposal as well. As we saw on Monday, as the process unfolds, there should be no situation in which people in the Great Room meet the guidelines for “close contact.”

Students should remember that your testing is mandatory. Employees from the Newburgh campus who may be concerned about your own health and possible exposure, I offer that tomorrow’s pooled testing session can be a convenient, free and convenient tool to quickly ascertain your COVID status should you have questions, or even if you don’t.

I am hopeful that this continued pause in Newburgh will allow us to confidently return to activity next week. Our goal is to stop any potential spread and to maintain our College community’s health and safety. I encourage you to stay strong and committed to your mitigation strategies. Continue to wear masks, keep your distance, wash your hands often and maintain appropriate distance between yourself and others Administration and appropriate teams will work through the weekend. We should know more by Monday afternoon and will provide an update then regardless.

Regards,

Dr. Kristine Young,
SUNY Orange President