Aug. 31 report on confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the campus community

The College has learned that two additional on-campus resident students have tested positive for COVID-19.

These are the second and third SUNY New Paltz students to have tested positive since the first day of classes for the fall 2020 semester. Both of these students were known close contacts of the student whose positive test was reported on Aug. 27.

That student, the first to test positive, had participated in two outdoor, off-campus pick-up basketball games on Monday, Aug. 24 at 6 a.m., and Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 7 a.m., in Tony Williams Park in Highland, New York. The student was not wearing a mask during the games, which is allowed by New York State sports and recreation guidelines (but not by SUNY New Paltz standards).

The 12 students who were involved in those games have all been tested and have been in quarantine. The matter is under investigation.

The Student Health Service will monitor these students’ health, and they will remain in quarantine until cleared by Student Health Service (generally 14 days post-exposure or 10 days from onset of symptoms, per CDC guidelines).

According to the College’s Testing and Quarantine procedure for fall 2020, contact tracers have already been deployed to interview the students about where they have been and with whom they have been in contact. Contact tracers will notify other individuals as appropriate, and will also notify Facilities Management if the student has been in common spaces on campus within the last seven days.

All of the faculty teaching courses in which students testing positive for COVID-19 are enrolled will be notified, whether those courses are in-person, remote or hybrid.

Students and instructors who share in-person courses (if any) with those who test positive will be notified but will not be required to quarantine unless contact tracers confirm that they have been in close contact with the student (10 minutes or more within six feet) without wearing a mask.

This is in accordance with current SUNY, state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance that quarantine is necessary only in cases when a person has been without a mask and has spent more than 10 minutes within six feet of an infected person.

The Student Health Service has notified state and local health departments, per state requirements.

Our community can track information on positive COVID-19 cases on our COVID-19 dashboard, which includes a tally of “active cases,” defined as confirmed positive tests among individuals who have been on campus and may have exposed others.

This dashboard does not include tallies of positive cases among students taking online courses from home, or employees who are telecommuting and not coming to campus, as any such cases should not pose an on-campus health risk.

As previously announced, the College will continue reporting new positive cases of COVID-19 to community members through the Daily Digest e-newsletter. Each issue of the Digest will include a “Coronavirus Update” announcing new, confirmed positive cases among students or employees, if any. Positive cases will only be reported for students and employees who have been on campus during the previous 14 days.

Use this link for more details about our coronavirus communication protocol for fall 2020.

We remind members of our community that the CDC has advised that there is “No Identifiable Risk” to an individual who walks by or briefly shares a room with a COVID-19-positive individual. That guidance can be found in Table 1 of the CDC’s interim guidance for risk assessment related to perceived levels of exposure.

Campus leadership is continuing to monitor developments related to COVID-19 with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our local and state health departments, as well as SUNY System Administration and the Governor’s Office.