October 22, 2021

Patience, respect urged as students move in

Logo provided by SUNY Cortland

As SUNY Cortland students move back into residence halls this week, they will have until Sept. 27 to get fully vaccinated and provide proof of documentation or could forfeit classes, according to a statement Tuesday from the university.

Students living on campus and taking classes in person will have until that date to submit documentation proving they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a campuswide announcement Tuesday by SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum.

Medical and religious exemptions must be submitted by Sept. 3.

Students who are not approved for exemptions and who don’t submit documentation showing they are fully vaccinated will be de-registered from classes for the semester, the letter said.

This comes following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval Monday of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The college originally set a Sept. 11 deadline for students to provide proof of a completed vaccination series, but that deadline was moved after the Pfizer-BioNTech approval.

With students returning, university and city officials are asking that people show patience and respect with the students’ return.

Starting Thursday, students will begin moving into residence halls, said Lt. Frank Cullen of the SUNY Cortland University Police Department.

Between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Thursday to Sunday, students and their families will be staggered in 90-minute time slots to move into residence halls, he said.

Prospect Terrace will be closed off to traffic near the top of the hill down to the halls each of those days beginning at 5:30 a.m. except for students moving in and families accessing the child care center.

Cullen said people should seek alternate routes along Tompkins Street or Groton Avenue to access the university from the west.

Similar to last year, move-in has been extended over four days to reduce the number of people coming into contact with each other, Cullen said.

This year, all people going into residence halls will have to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status.

Even with the days extended, Cullen said one thing remains consistent with community members and families traveling around the campus.

“We always ask for patience,” he said.

The expectations for college students as they return are the same for community members, in that they show respect for each other and members of the community, said Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin.

As Tobin sees it, vaccinations are a community aimed health approach.

“It’s not about whether I should be protecting myself,” he said. “It’s about protecting others.”

Those looking to avoid the increase of students and their families around the city should plan ahead and get errands like grocery shopping out of the way prior to their arrival, Tobin said.

He also said that with Labor Day weekend coming soon, along with the start of K-12 schools, city residents “need to be patient, understanding and respectful” as the city gets back to school.