ST. BONAVENTURE — St. Bonaventure University, having just passed the halfway point of the fall semester, has adjusted its schedule for the spring.
Originally scheduled for Jan. 19, the first day of spring semester classes will now be Jan. 25, according to the university’s president, Dr. Dennis DePerro. Unlike this fall, the semester will continue to the end (May 7) with in-person classes, with final exams the following week and Commencement Weekend set for May 14-16.
Online graduate students will still begin spring classes Jan. 18.
“Like everyone, I was hopeful that only the fall semester would be impacted by the pandemic, but it’s clear we will need to stay vigilant through the spring,” DePerro said in a message to the university community. “Once again, that requires an alteration to the academic calendar.”
DePerro thanked the Faculty Senate, which approves the academic calendar, for willingness to be flexible “in extraordinary times.”
Because of the need to control travel again to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, spring break had to be eliminated, DePerro said. However, five class-free weekdays have been scheduled throughout the semester — Feb. 18, March 10, April 2 (Good Friday), April 13 and April 28.
International students from CDC-defined Level 2 and 3 countries and students from states on New York’s mandatory quarantine list will once again be required to quarantine on campus or in New York state for two weeks before the semester starts.
The designated quarantine window for residential students is Jan. 9-22, with students who need to quarantine returning on Jan. 8.
Move-in dates for returning students coming from all other states will be Jan. 23-24. As was the case with fall move-in, designated arrival times will be assigned; details will be announced over the holiday break.
Students will also be required to submit another negative PCR test result no more than 14 days before their arrival to campus.
As of Friday, St. Bonaventure reported a total of 14 cases of COVID-19 in the campus community, with one new case reported this week. Three of the cases were reported active and 11 people have recovered.
“I know this isn’t what any of you envisioned your college experience would be like,” DePerro said, “but I need to reiterate what I said last week at the midpoint of the semester: This Bonaventure experience is so much better than what students at many colleges are going through.”
The SBU president noted that the vast majority of classes have been taught in person, and students have enjoyed a “normal dining experience” and various student programming has been offered.
“Most important, we’ve been able to keep our doors open when so many colleges have had to shut down and send their students home to an online-only environment,” DePerro said.
“I know this isn’t easy, but we’ve done this once and I know we can do it again.”
Meanwhile, 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.
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.