BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — Binghamton University announced Tuesday that it will switch to remote learning for the second time this semester.
As of noon Tuesday, the university reached 100 positive cases in the two-week period starting Nov. 7, triggering the move to online classes in accordance with State University of New York (SUNY) guidance.
The suspension of in-person classes and extracurricular activities begins Wednesday, Nov. 18 and will last through the end of the semester. The University already planned to close its residence halls for the semester on Nov. 25, before the Thanksgiving holiday.
In a message to students Tuesday afternoon, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger asked students to remain in their homes on- and off-campus until the scheduled break and report for their scheduled coronavirus test prior to returning to their home communities.
“This is a requirement for all students in State University of New York (SUNY) institutions. Our goal is to prevent infected students from transmitting COVID-19 to their home communities,” Stenger said. “I urge you to be considerate of your families and local communities.”
SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced earlier in the semester that all students throughout the system’s 64 campuses will be tested before they return home for Thanksgiving. He said the tests must happen within 10 days of Friday, Nov. 20, when most SUNY campuses plan to go fully remote through the end of the semester.
Over a rolling 14-day average, BU saw a 1.79 percent positivity rate for testing administered on-campus.
Stenger said the university has completed nearly 5,000 tests over the last seven days, contributing to higher positivity rates in campus testing.
“This is not a surprise to us. Not because we haven’t collectively been doing the right thing, but because we have been aggressively testing nearly every student on campus as we gear up for our fall departure,” he said. “So, while we have crossed the 100 positive case threshold, it is also important to understand the broader context and recognize that your efforts this past semester have paid off.”
He said the campus’s positivity rate is manageable compared to the Broome County’s COVID-19 case count. The county had a 3.2 percent positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average as of Monday.