Local colleges prepare for upcoming semester

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Presidents from SUNY Albany, Siena and St. Rose joined County Executive Dan McCoy on Friday. They explained how they’re using what they learned last semester and applying it to this one.

“Whenever I think that there’s an issue that might create a greater issue for the health and safety of our campus, we will go on pause,” said SUNY Albany President Havidan Rodriguez.

The start of the semester follows a campus-wide quarantine at Union College which began classes earlier this month.

While plans can change, each president says testing is key. Since the start of the semester on Tuesday, St. Rose reported 13 positive cases from students and staff.

“Pivot is that magic word that we all had to live by,” said St. Rose Interim President Marcia White. “Only those with negative test results are allowed back on campus, and their ID is only turned on to active when the results test negative,” White said.

Before semester break, SUNY Albany students claimed testing oversight wasn’t strong. President Rodriguez said new technology has eliminated that problem.

“We will know right away if, within a day, you have not tested,” Rodriguez said.

Siena is continuing several ways of testing its student body.

“Our testing will include waste water, it will include PCR, but it will also include an elective dimension, which will be antigen,” said Siena President Chris Gibson. President Gibson said this will not only keeps students safe, but feeling safe.

If students choose not to follow COVID guidelines, the highest penalty could be expulsion.

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