Dr. Shai Butler, vice president for student development, sent the following update on COVID-19 protocols to students today, March 7, 2021:
We are pleased about the decline in COVID-19 cases that we have seen on campus. Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe. I am happy to announce that as a result of this decline, we are opening up the campus to allow for social and recreational purposes.
Open facilities: The College’s Fitness Center and the pool are now reopened. Please visit the Fitness Center on the website and the webpage for the pool for more information about hours of operation.
Meetings, events, and group gatherings: In-person student programs and events may now commence with attendance numbers that align with state and local guidelines. Meetings and small gatherings can move forward with up to 10 attendees, while programs and events can commence with a cap of 50 in spaces that are approved for that capacity under social distancing guidelines.
In all instances, masks must be worn and social distance must be maintained. Dance team practices will follow guidelines that are similar to our Athletics department and should contact the Events Office for more information when scheduling.
Additionally, we are opening up lounge space in the residence halls at the capacity listed on each entrance door. Staff will enforce capacity, so please comply with the information that is posted.
A change in contact tracing protocol: The Albany County Department of Health changed its guidance for P-12 schools the week of February 21 based on data collected during the pandemic that shows little evidence of COVID-19 spread in classrooms where students maintain social distance and wear masks. That has been our experience here at the College as well.
Through contact tracing to date, the College has quarantined entire classes whenever there is a positive case in the class. We recognize that quarantine causes significant disruption, so we want to be sure we are utilizing it only when there is a risk of exposure. After a discussion with the Department of Health, which informed us that colleges have the discretion to apply the recommendations for P-12 to their classrooms, and after reviewing our own data since the pandemic began, we will quarantine classes on an as-needed basis when contact tracing reveals there was a risk to the entire class. These determinations will be applied on a case-by-case basis and will be based on local and state public health guidelines and information gained from contact tracing at the College. There are colleges and universities also employing this standard.
Thank you all again for your patience as we worked through the past two weeks to get our cases to plateau and ultimately decline. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
Have a great week!