Fisher transitions to remote learning for rest of semester due to rising cases in COVID-19

By Erin Reilly ’20, Editor-in-Chief

A Computer Generated Graphic of the Coronavirus Developed by the Center for Disease Control. (Courtesy of the CDC)

By Erin Reilly ’20, Editor-in-Chief

St. John Fisher College announced on Tuesday that it will transition to online only classes following a large increase in positive coronavirus cases on campus.

“While the number of confirmed cases does not meet the New York state threshold that would require us to take further action, we remain focused on the safety and well-being of our students, employees, and the surrounding community. Therefore, we have decided to transition to remote instruction for the remainder of the fall semester,” an email went out to the study body on Tuesday.

Undergraduate classes are canceled Thursday and Friday and will resume remotely on Monday. Graduate education classes will begin remotely on Thursday.  Residents are expected to make arrangements to move home as soon as possible. According to the email, there are no changes to the semester schedule.

MORE |Fisher raises alert level, COVID-19 cases approach 30

The letter came on Tuesday, just days after Fisher officials announced the school was raising its coronavirus alert risk level. Though Friday’s email didn’t specify the number of new positive cases on campus in the past week, the college’s COVID-19 Impact Page indicated that there have been 29 new cases since Saturday, October 10th, a record-high for Fisher.

According to the impact page, there have now been 56 coronavirus cases reported at Fisher — 52 of those cases within the last two weeks.

This is a developing story. Check back with the Cardinal Courier for updates. 

A full letter that went out to the study body is below: 

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

The College is continuing to see a steady increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases on campus. In addition, our most recent wastewater surveillance results show an increase in the presence of SARS-CoV-2 (the causal agent of COVID-19) in the residence halls. While the number of confirmed cases does not meet the New York state threshold that would require us to take further action, we remain focused on the safety and well-being of our students, employees, and the surrounding community. Therefore, we have decided to transition to remote instruction for the remainder of the fall semester.

Immediate actions:

·         Undergraduate classes are canceled Thursday, Oct. 22 and Friday, Oct. 23. Undergraduate classes will resume remotely Monday, Oct. 26.

·         Graduate education will transition to remote instruction beginning Thursday, Oct. 22. Graduate students at our Onondaga Community College and Iona College extension sites should continue to follow the protocols and policies of those respective campuses.

·         Resident students should begin to make arrangements to move home as soon as they are able. Per the Monroe County Department of Public Health, our resident students should follow quarantine protocols when they return home for two weeks. Residential Life will email resident students this afternoon with additional instructions and information.

·         Commuter students should plan to remain home and off campus for the remainder of the semester.

·         Employees should continue to work as they have been until details of a de-densification plan are shared.

There has been no change in the timeline for the end of the fall semester and classes and finals will remain as scheduled.

We are working on policies regarding refunds and/or credits for room and board charges and we will share those details with students and families as soon as they become available.

We have been vigilant in our surveillance and testing, and diligent with our community mitigation and monitoring efforts. This decision was made both in consultation with the Monroe County Department of Public Health and based on the guiding principle that led our reopening work – the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. We appreciate the county’s continuing partnership and applaud the strong leadership of Dr. Michael Mendoza and his team in guiding the county through this pandemic.

Campus Conversations are planned for early next week for students and their families as well as employees. Please watch your email for continuing communication and details.

We appreciate your continuing cooperation and understanding as we make this transition in the best interest of the campus community.

COVID-19 Monitoring Team

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