Some colleges in St. Lawrence County cope with increase in COVID cases

WWNY Some colleges in St. Lawrence County cope with increase in COVID cases

POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - Clarkson University had reason to be proud of its fall semester – just 18 COVID-19 cases total. But that took a drastic turn for the worse about a week ago. It issued a ‘red alert.’

“We are not going to be doing a lot of the in-person activities. No social gatherings...and we made the step by the end of, as we progressed in that week, to be in a remote learning mode,” said Kelly Chezum, Clarkson University vice president external relations.

Students are still on campus, but severely restricted. Total active cases Monday stood at 97. At the peak, 294 students with close contact were put in quarantine. Students say it’s having an impact.

“People are getting really cautious again...I think everyone’s worried that we could all just get sent home,” said Christine Gohl, Clarkson University graduate student.

The college says that doesn’t have to happen. It’s just getting done testing everyone in quarantine and new case numbers have fallen since the ‘red alert’ was issued.

“Right now it appears that was a good decision to make,” said Chezum.

On February 22, decisions will be made about lifting some of the campus-wide restrictions. That includes considering resumption of in-person classes.

Clarkson University isn’t the only college seeing a spike in active COVID-19 cases. Some other local colleges are also seeing increases.

SUNY Potsdam has 24 active cases. In the fall semester, it had just 14 cases in total. Still, the current number did not interfere with plans to start in-person classes Monday.

“I just think it’s nice that they’re trying to do what little bit they can to bring everyone back to normal and back up to speed,” said Chadwick McLaughlin, SUNY Potsdam junior.

SUNY Canton has 18 active cases listed on its COVID-19 dashboard. St. Lawrence University has just 5 active cases.

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