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All SUNY schools to move classes online over coronavirus concerns

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Kai Schreiber
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Colleges and universities in the central New York area are moving classes online to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

Updated at 2:30p.m. Wednesday

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that all SUNY and CUNY campuses will move to online instruction only starting March 19. 

Cuomo said the point is to reduce large concentrations of students, but if a student has nowhere else to go, there will be a few exceptions. 

"If students have hardships, where they have nowhere to go if they're dorm students, then I'm sure an individual campus would take that into consideration," Cuomo said. 

Other exceptions may include classes that require on campus participation, like labs. 

"What we are trying to do, in coordination with SUNY and CUNY, is to reduce the congregation of large numbers of people in classroom settings," said Beth Garvey, an advisor to Cuomo.

Garvey also said most SUNY schools will Likely forgo graduation ceremonies in May.

LeMoyne College in Syracuse said Wednesday that students currently on spring break will remain on break an extra week, whicl campus officials decide whether to move to classes online. The college said the extra week will give professors time to transition their classes online in the event the college decides to shift to online instruction.  

Syracuse University announced Tuesday that it will suspend on-campus classes starting at the end of this week, and will move all classes online when spring break ends March 23, until at least March 30. Other colleges around the region are announcing a similar transition.

Cornell University in Ithaca announced late Tuesday that it will transition to virtual instruction starting April 6, after the university's spring break. All classes will be held online for the rest of the semester. Cornell is also asking any "nonessential events" with more than 100 attendees be canceled, postponed or held virtually. The university is discouraging all nonessential domestic air travel.

St. Lawrence University in Canton is also canceling on-campus classes from March 13 until at least April 13. St. Lawrence President Bill Fox said in a letter to the campus Tuesday that students will do as much course work remotely as possible. St. Lawrence is also canceling all athletic events until April 13.

Colgate University will also transition to online instruction after its spring break. Starting March 23, all classes will be held online, but students are being asked to remain on campus during spring break. Students who do leave for spring break must return to campus by March 23. Colgate hopes to return to in-person classes by April 23.

In a letter to the campus community Tuesday, ESF Interim President David Amberg said it is likely that ESF will adopt a similar plan to Syracuse University, moving to online instruction after spring break.