After Surge In Coronavirus Cases, Syracuse University Pauses Student Activities

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Updated at 7:10 p.m. 

SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – Syracuse University officials said late Tuesday that the number of students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last day has risen to 45. Most are associated with a off-campus parties that occurred last week. Earlier in the day, officials said 13 cases stemmed from the gatherings.

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“We fully expect to confirm additional cases in the days to come,” said SU Vice Chancellor Michael Haynie in a statement.

SU is asking any student that attended an off-campus gathering on Walnut Ave last week or last weekend, to report to the testing center at The Stadium starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

With this sharp increase in positive tests, officials are taking more drastic actions.

Haynie announced that all in-person student activities will be temporarily suspended. This does not include classes, associated coursework and intercollegiate athletics. Students will also continue to be able to schedule appointments for health counseling, flu shots, access dining services and libraries.

SU is also limiting the number of people that can gather for social activities to five, and is asking Greek houses to adopt a “no visitors” policy.

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Syracuse University announced 16 new positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, with 13 of them coming from at least one off-campus party last week. In a news release, Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie said there could be more positive cases.

The new cases could be coming from one or more students who traveled outside central New York to visit another college. SU and the Onondaga County Health Department are trying to identify and isolate anyone who may have been exposed. Students who attended a gathering last week or over the weekend at an apartment complex on Walnut Avenue, are being asked to shelter in place and contact SU’s COVID hotline at 315-443-6180 or email sucovid@syr.edu.

Haynie said this current situation is disappointing, given the “overwhelmingly positive and selfless behavior, exhibited by the vast majority of our students.”

“It will take quick and coordinated cooperation of the entire campus community to prevent this situation from expanding beyond our ability to control,” Hayne said.

This comes just two weeks after 80 students in an SU residence hall had to quarantine, after three students tested positived for the virus. Officials credited students’ quick response in returning to their rooms, undergoing testing, and following directions to stop the spread.