SUNY Cortland Goes Remote Due To Rise In COVID-19 Cases


TOMPKINS COUNTY, NY (WSKG) – SUNY Cortland will move classes online for two weeks beginning Wednesday. The change is in accordance with state guidance that requires universities with more than 100 positive COVID-19 cases in a two-week period, or if the number of cases equals 5 percent or more of their population, must go remote.

Celia Clarke/WSKG

SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum (left) and SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras (right) speaking about the closure of the university due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. (screen capture Celia Clarke/WSKG)

As of Monday night, SUNY Cortland reported 101 students had the virus.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said officials do not know the exact cause of the rise in cases among students.

“There’s no clear issue arising from off-campus activity,” Malatras said during a joint press conference with SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum on Monday night. “It’s not as if there’s one big gathering or two big gatherings. But clearly the activity is coming from off-campus.”

Bitterbaum said some students have been suspended or dismissed for violating school or state health regulations.

“The vast majority have been off-campus. I feel uncomfortable, because some of that is confidential, but it’s less than 100,” said Bitterbaum when asked about students who were disciplined.

WSKG asked SUNY Cortland officials the percentage of the student population that lives off-campus but did not receive a response.

If the pause is successful in slowing the spread of COVID-19, officials said in-person classes will begin again after the two week period.