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SUNY Cortland Extends Pause Of In-Person Classes

TOMPKINS COUNTY, NY (WSKG) - In-person classes at SUNY Cortland will be suspended another 14 days until Nov. 3. The first suspension began on Oct. 7.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras and SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum announced the restrictions are intended to bring the recent COVID-19 outbreak among students under control.

Officials said the number of COVID-19 cases has decreased, but still exceeds state health limits. There were 180 COVID cases during the most recent two week test period.

The two-week review period is set by the state. Higher education institutions must move to online learning and suspend on campus activities for two weeks when there are 100 or more positive COVID cases within the period.

"I share the anger and frustration felt by students who are doing the right thing, yet must still have their semester disrupted," said Bitterbaum. "This is a challenging time that requires uncompromising vigilance and uniform commitment from each and every person on campus—and that’s what we need to see at SUNY Cortland over the next two weeks."

The officials said violations of the emergency safety regulations are being enforced. So far, 55 students have been suspended or banned from campus because of COVID violations.

Chancellor Malatras instructed University Police to continue working closely with local law enforcement agencies to increase safety enforcement efforts in off-campus student neighborhoods.

The majority of student cases have been among those living off campus. The university suspended athletics and greek life indefinitely on Sept. 13. They remain suspended.

Contact tracing and testing is being conducted in partnership with the SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse and the state health department.

Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin said the city is increasing it's COVID-related enforcement as well.