Keuka College sends students home due to coronavirus outbreak linked to party

Keuka College is temporarily closing and sending students home after being hit by a surge of coronavirus cases related to an off-campus party.

The small college in Yates County has seen more than 70 cases. It transitioned to online classes last week to stem the outbreak.

“While the public health guidance to keep students on-campus remains best practice, the growing number of cases has made separating healthy students from quarantining populations increasingly difficult,” College President Amy Storey said in a statement Thursday. “County and state health officials have given their permission for the college to allow healthy students who are not subject to a quarantine or isolation order to leave campus in order to create additional isolation and quarantine capacity.”

The college, which has about 1,500 undergraduates, told healthy students to leave by the end of the week.

The school only had one positive case during the first six weeks of the semester. That all changed when an Oct. 3 off-campus party attended by more than 100 people triggered the outbreak.

Meanwhile, SUNY Oneonta's president, Barbara Jean Morris, has stepped down for other opportunities, according to a press release from the State University of New York.

The SUNY Oneonta campus was shut down in early September for the rest of the fall semester after hundreds of students fell ill with COVID-19, an outbreak SUNY officials attributed to student parties.

The SUNY Board of Trustees appointed Dennis Craig to be acting president, effective immediately, SUNY officials said Thursday.

Craig recently led SUNY Purchase College's fall reopening and handled the campus's response to the first wave of the pandemic last spring as interim president, SUNY officials noted.