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For Immediate Release
September 3, 2020

United University Professions President Frederick E. Kowal on SUNY's decision to end in-person classes at SUNY Oneonta for the fall semester to contain coronavirus outbreaks

What follows is a statement by UUP President Kowal on SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras’ Sept. 3 announcement that SUNY Oneonta will end on-campus instruction for the fall semester to stem spread of the coronavirus:

“Regrettably, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras was forced to end in-person classes and activities at SUNY Oneonta and send students home for the remainder of the fall semester. Given the growth in the number of positive coronavirus cases on campus, UUP supports this move. We will work with SUNY and the campus administration to ensure the health and well-being of the entire Oneonta community.

“The risk to students, faculty, staff and the Oneonta community has become far too great to resume on-campus classes and activities. The only way to contain the virus is by sending COVID-negative students home safely and providing remote instruction. This is the right move.

"We also continue to hold to our position, which was stated in June, that baseline testing should have been put in place for the arrival of students at SUNY campuses. Since SUNY did not choose this course, the decision to require surveillance testing at all campuses is a welcome step.

“The situation at SUNY Oneonta is urgent and UUP appreciates the seriousness SUNY has shown in dealing with it. We are hopeful that these actions will stop the virus from spreading further and will spare thousands of students, faculty, staff and community members from possibly contracting COVID-19. More importantly, it will save lives.

“UUP urges students, faculty and staff at all SUNY colleges and universities to wear face masks and practice social distancing at all times. We must all work together to keep each other safe.”

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 42,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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