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SUNY: The Good, The Bad and The Virus

by Leah Dwyer

A summary of the SUNY Covid-19 cases as of Oct 1 (Screenshot from

Changes to the SUNY schooling systems amid the coronavirus pandemic have led to varying experiences across the colleges.

The diversity in the SUNY system has not only led to different student experiences, but each campus’ coronavirus numbers differ greatly. As of Sept. 25, the SUNY COVID-19 tracker shows that Cortland had 24 total coronavirus cases reported out of 1,695 campus tests administered, Binghamton 60 out of 9,709, Oneonta 324 out of 4,100, and Purchase 0 out of 1,029.

Students from different SUNY colleges weighed in on how they feel their school and classmates have handled the adjustment to this new world. All students were able to choose at the beginning of the semester if they wanted to attend their classes either online or in person, and if they wanted to do so on or off campus.

“I feel much safer at home,” said Livia Muzante, a sophomore exercise science major at Cortland.

Alessia Rodriguez, a freshman psychology major at Oneonta, was sent home after two weeks of being on campus. “I had a feeling my school would be sent home,” she said. “I knew the pandemic was bound to spread, especially at my school because everyone was going out to parties.”

Image via WWNY

Rodriguez described receiving the email that Oneonta was sending everyone home, instead of quarantining as originally planned, “The school was just in a rush to send everyone home.” As a first year student she was open about her frustration. “Corona ruined my first two weeks of college,” she said. “Students were expecting to finally get freedom but they ended right back up in the hands of their parents all over again.”

Muzante was critical of Cortland, quick to point out the flaws in the communication between administration and students. “I think my school is doing a very insufficient job at handling this pandemic,” she explained. She discussed hearing of students getting denied COVID tests because they don’t exhibit the specific symptoms the school was looking for in order to administer it.

“Cortland is very bad at keeping in touch with the students,” she added, “They often have no idea what is going on.” She said that due to the lack of communication there are rumors constantly being spread around campus. “The online dashboard is consistently false.”

Lucy Costello, a sophomore sport management major at Cortland, tested positive for the virus, and was in isolation. She spoke very highly of Cortland, “The school has taken very good care of me.”

She found out she was positive when she was randomly selected by the school for a test, and was put into isolation in an apartment. Costello explained everyday she gets an email from the school’s doctor and the health department to check in on her.

“The school did a great job accommodating students who tested positive,” said Costello.

Contrary to Muzante’s statements, Costello said, “The president is constantly updating students and changing policies to make rules stricter, they never once let up, or got lenient.”

“I feel rather safe on campus.” Said Tara Coelho, a sophomore computer engineering major at Binghamton. She added, “It seems to not be spreading as rapidly as originally expected.”

I' believe Binghamton University has handled this crisis better than most schools,” said Andrew Costella, a freshman politics philosophy and law (PPL) major at Binghamton, “Binghamton University, in my opinion, has been taking feasible and safe precautionary measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19 on campus.”

Victoria Bongiovanni, a senior photography major at Purchase said about campus, “It feels really safe.”

One thing that did seem consistent across the SUNY system was an appearance of students not adhering to the rules.

“There have been people who blatantly ignore the rules despite the safety of themselves and others,” said Bongiovanni. “But the school has actually been really diligent about trying to uphold safety measures.”

Coelho admitted that although in staff-enforced areas at Binghamton the rules are being adhered to, it doesn’t seem to be transferring to off- campus activities.

“College students in their nature are not guaranteed to abide once they have their own freedom,” she said.

Costella also spoke highly of Binghamton’s patrolling of students, but did mention the issue of some students not properly wearing masks. It didn’t seem to bother him much, as he said, “It is troublesome, however, there are so few cases on campus there is wiggle room for minor errors like those.”

Costello spoke highly of Cortland’s students, “I can definitely say students have gotten very good at following the safety measures.”

After being sent home for the rest of her fall semester, Rodriguez worries about the possibility of another online semester.

“We might not be able to even go back spring semester,” she said, “because the two students who got it were selfish and decided to go out to a party and become spreaders.”

Despite some of the schools handling the pandemic, numbers-wise, very well a lacking in on-campus experience seems to be common.

“The sense of community has definitely decreased,” said Bongiovanni of the Purchase campus.

Bongiovanni was quick to admit that her biggest complaint about the Purchase campus however, wasn’t the lack of students or activities, rather an abundance of wasps. She credited this to the overflowing garbage cans on campus. “I know it’s bothering a lot of others too; you can’t sit anywhere outside.”

Costella and Coelho seemed to have a brighter outlook on Binghamton’s campus. Both

stressing that the community is still there.

“Memories are still being made but in different forms,” Coelho said, “and closer bonds are being created making a truly memorable college semester.”



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