SUNY Binghamton goes to virtual learning as COVID-19 cases rise


BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras and Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger announced Wednesday the campus will switch to virtual learning for two weeks.

The change will be effective Thursday.

Residence halls and libraries will remain open, as will classrooms used as “student study spaces”. Counseling and other services will remain available.

The university will change the way it serves campus meals by transitioning the dining experience to take-out only. Club sports, intramurals, and athletics activities will be on pause for two weeks.

The action comes as the number of COVID-19 cases at the campus rose. “Although we are currently under the New York State Department of Health threshold, the university will move to a remote learning model that will help contain the virus and bring it down to an acceptable level,” said President Stenger.

“We remain committed to in-person instruction for the fall semester and will work to make our transition back to in-person activities as quickly as we can under the Department of Health guidelines while ensuring the safety of students, faculty and staff,” Stenger added.

According to New York State’s SUNY COVID tracker, Binghamton has had 89 active cases of COVID for a 14-day period. The state has said any school that hits 100 or more cases in a 14-day period will need to transition to online learning for two weeks to help contain the spread. 19 of the positive cases have appeared since Monday.

To combat growing COVID cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced new rules for dealing with areas that have COVID clusters. The rules place areas in a red, orange, or yellow category. Binghamton is currently classified as being ‘yellow’. If the area reaches the ‘orange’ metrics, schools will need to close for in-person learning and convert to remote-only.

A similar situation arose on the SUNY Oswego campus and on Sept. 18, Malatras and SUNY Oswego’s president, Deborah Stanley, decided to make the switch to online learning ahead of hitting the 100-case threshold. SUNY Oswego resumed in-person classes on Monday.


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