Starting March 19, all state college campuses in New York, including SUNY Cortland and Tompkins Cortland Community College, will move to a distance-learning, or online, model for the rest of the semester as New York copes with a growing worldwide coronavirus crisis, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a press briefing this afternoon.
“That would be a way to reduce density, and that’s a good thing,” Cuomo said. By reducing large gatherings of people, state officials hope they will be able to control the spread of the virus, he said.
Earlier in the day, the World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic.
SUNY Cortland administrators are meeting this afternoon to discuss the implications for the local campus, said Jennifer Wilson, associate director of communications.
SUNY Cortland was already scheduled to close for spring break on Friday and classes were to resume March 23, but the campus will not reopen this semester.
TC3 will also be going to online learning following Cuomo’s announcement, said Bryan Chambala, the college’s director of communications.
The school’s administration plans to speak with SUNY’s chancellor’s office to work out further details, he said.
“Obviously, it’s going to impact our students in some way,” Chambala said.
He did not have a specific number of how many students or faculty members this will impact.
Spring break runs from March 23 to 29. The campus will be open in some capacity after March 19 but the details still need to be worked out, Chambala said.
Additionally, the school will be looking at ways of communicating with students who don’t have a good internet connection, he said.
The school plans to release a statement with more details after the meeting today.
There were 216 confirmed cases statewide of coronavirus, including 43 new ones today, all in the New York City area, except for a few cases in Saratoga and Ulster counties.