In what some considered a surprise move, SUNY schools are now allowing students to return to campus.

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On Sunday, State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras joined SUNY Oneonta Acting President Dennis Craig and local officials to reopen campus for the spring semester. Students are allowed to move back to campus housing for pre-semester COVID testing and quarantining before the SUNY-required push back of the Spring Semester start date of in-person classes on February 1.  All returning students were told to complete a seven-day precautionary quarantine prior to their arrival on campus.

Malatras confirmed pre-testing of all students prior to the start of the semester, mandatory pre-semester quarantine of students, mandatory mask-wearing at all times, even when socially distanced, no spring break, uniform compliance and enforcement standards, expanded mental health and wellness services, and a student's bill of rights for greater transparency.

"As our campuses are beginning their spring semesters, we are both excited for our students, and also aware of the challenges that still lie ahead because of COVID," Malatras said. "That is why we have developed comprehensive reopening plans to put the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff first. And, it is the reason we have already increased the frequency of testing on our campuses, and why we will continue to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances, like new strains and higher levels of cases."

Since the 2020-2021 academic year began in August, SUNY has conducted 723,891 tests with a 0.57 positive percentage rate, officials say. Preliminary data suggest in-person instruction has not been a vector of the spread, according to Malatras.

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