December 2, 2021

SUNY Cortland students return amid COVID-19

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Brayden Miner, left, gets his student ID card Saturday from Dawn Benajmin outside of SUNY Cortland’s college store. Saturday was the first day of an eight-day move-in period for students.

The first part of the college process — move-in day — looked familiar Saturday at SUNY Cortland as cars lined up along Prospect Terrace and students, with the help of parents, moved items into residence halls.

But because of COVID-19, what would normally be a weekend-long event of freshmen and other students moving into their dorms will be an eight-day process, said C. Gregory Sharer, the vice president for student affairs.

“Our goal this year was to spread people out so we didn’t have large groups of people at one time,” he said.

About 1,250 freshmen were expected to move in Saturday, Sunday and today — or about 417 a day — Sharer said.

The process included turning Prospect Terrace into a one-way street, using both lanes to direct traffic to different halls, and having only one person help the student move items into their rooms to reduce crowding.

Stairs and hallways were also marked for single-direction use.

“Move-in is usually a very exciting day with lots of people and activities and we’ve had to scale it back to limit the number of people who could be exposed to other people,” Sharer said.

SUNY police were also out to help direct traffic, but to also help direct people to drop their luggage on the sidewalk and then park their car near the athletics facilities, Chief Mark DePaull said. He said Friday he expected the move-in days to flow more smoothly than previous years because there would be fewer traffic tie-ups.

The freshmen themselves didn’t seem to mind the changes.

“I think the setup is really good,” said Brayden Miner of Peru, in Clinton County. “The way they have it, everyone is safe and following protocols.”

Miner said he had no issues of congestion or being in close contact with others moving in because nobody else had arrived on his floor Saturday morning.

While he was disappointed that all his classes are online — especially as a physical education major — he was excited to start school.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a really nice campus and everyone here seems nice.”

Katie Marasciullo of Long Island said she was also excited to begin school.

“It’s a little different, but I hope this year goes the way we all anticipate,” she said. “I hope it goes smoothly.”

Freshmen will finish moving in today before transfer students and students living at the college’s suites and West Campus apartments move in Wednesday and Thursday.

All other students will return Friday through Sunday before classes start Aug. 31.