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Some local colleges see surge of COVID cases

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 4:57 PM EDT
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - COVID-19 cases surging on some local college campuses. St. Lawrence University enacts new restrictions.

Last week, everyone was hopeful on college campuses. This week, reality sets in. Soaring COVID-19 cases at some force changes.

“It’s really unfortunate when we came here and COVID started exploding. Everyone’s really nervous. And it’s just … it’s a scary situation,” said Karina Bellavia, St. Lawrence University senior.

At SLU, 108 students have COVID-19. Two days ago it was 61. Numbers are up at other local colleges as well. The majority of those testing positive have gone home to isolate.

“Everyone is very nervous right now,” said Bellavia.

Bellavia spoke those words Friday morning. By mid-afternoon, the university announced new restrictions. Those include expanded masks mandates, no eating in dining halls, limiting student gatherings as well as dorm visits.

“We’ve changed our campus operating status to a higher level of precaution. We are taking these steps to try to mitigate the spread of the virus,” said Paul Redfern, St. Lawrence University vice president for communications.

Students are to leave campus only when essential. SUNY Canton is reviewing its mask mandate. Cases surged in St. Lawrence County well before students arrived. But the numbers from the colleges show students are now adding to that caseload.

“We have certainly learned how quickly, first hand, the delta variant can spread. And how we need to continue to be vigilant,” said Redfern.

Students don’t want to go back to all-remote learning. It gives them incentive to follow the rules.

So far, local colleges are not requiring vaccinated students exposed to those with COVID-19 to quarantine. They can if they want.

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