Students who tested positive for coronavirus have been isolated since returning to campus, officials say

Students who tested positive for coronavirus have been isolated since returning to campus, officials say
SUNY Potsdam (Source: WWNY)

POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - The five SUNY Potsdam students who tested positive for COVID-19 had all returned to campus during spring break from what are considered “high-risk” areas within the United States.

College spokeswoman Alexandra Jacobs-Wilke said none of them are international students.

All five will be monitored by the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department while they remain in isolation.

Health department director Dana McGuire said the five are the first such cluster of cases found in the county.

McGuire said it is too early in the outbreak to spot any patterns, but the health department does plan to produce a map of where cases have been confirmed. As of early Monday, the county had 18 confirmed cases.

Jacobs-Wilke said all students returning to SUNY Potsdam from high-risk areas have been tested for COVID-19. Most tests have come back negative, although the college was waiting on a few results as of Monday morning.

All students coming back to campus from high-risk areas sign contracts with the university to self-isolate. They live in residence halls separate from other students.

Students have been granted permission to stay on campus if they can demonstrate leaving would create a hardship. Criteria can include having no home of their own or one lacking Internet or technology that would allow them to take online courses.

There are about 85 students currently living on the SUNY Potsdam campus. About 60 of those had stayed through spring break and 25 others returned during the break.

The move to distance learning was announced March 11 in the middle of spring break. The spring break was then extended for one week to give faculty time to prepare to teach all courses online. Since then, most campus activities have been closed down.

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