SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – Classes have started on the Syracuse University campus. University officials are cautiously optimistic that their plans for bringing students to campus in the time of COVID-19, will be successful.
One of the reasons for optimism according to Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie, is a robust testing program.
“We’ve administered over 13,000 saliva tests just in the last eight days alone,” Haynie said.
Along with that, the university was able to intercept what Haynie called a decent number of students who tested positive in pre-arrival tests. Also, students will continue to be tested through the semester.
“I’ve read every college reopening plan I could find from other institutions and I’ve not seen one with a more robust public health surveillance and testing program than what we’ve implemented in Syracuse University,” Haynie said.
Haynie admitted the university has learned some things, especially in the wake of a gathering of 100 freshmen on the quad last week; an incident that put SU in the crosshairs of stories about college students behaving badly. He said the school should have put together a better program of engagement for students stuck in dorms while waiting out a quarantine. The school has remedied that.
“We’re planning outdoor movies, drive-in movie events, a whole host of things we put together in the last few days in response to what we learned,” Haynie said.
In the end, Haynie thinks that early rule breaking event, in which SU placed 23 students on interim suspension, allowed the school to make a statement.
“The fact this incident did afford us the opportunity to communicate very clearly, not just to students but the community, faculty and staff, that we’re taking this thing seriously, could be a blessing,” Haynie said.