SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras launches “Mask Up or Pack Up” campaign to promote compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols

Marketing and Communications staff
student wearing mask

Issues call for creative video submissions from students urging classmates to act responsibly and vigilantly to contain virus and keep campuses open

State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras has launched SUNY’s “Mask Up or Pack Up” campaign to promote universal compliance with evidence-based COVID-19 safety guidelines across SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities.

Chancellor Malatras is issuing a call for creative video submissions from students urging their classmates to act responsibly and vigilantly to contain the virus and keep campuses safe and open.

“‘Mask Up or Pack Up’ gives our students a platform to send powerful, persuasive messages to their classmates that encourage them to rise to the challenge and comply with proven COVID-19 safety measures,” said Chancellor Malatras. “Over a few short weeks, I’ve met with hundreds of students across more than a dozen campuses, all of whom are acting responsibly so they can stay on campus and learn. This campaign will harness their talent, creativity, and frustration with the small fraction of students who jeopardize entire college communities. We need universal compliance and uncompromising vigilance from everyone to keep campuses open — and we are proud of students who are determined to speak directly to their peers to help amplify that message.”

Student video submissions should highlight the importance of mask-wearing, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and parties, and complying with testing and tracing guidance delivered by colleges and local health departments. Students are urged to harness their passion, creative energy, and determination to stay on campus to convey their message in the most powerful way possible. Submissions should be no longer than one minute. Once they are received, SUNY will incorporate them into the statewide “Mask Up or Pack Up” campaign. The link to submit a video for consideration.

A number of colleges and universities across the SUNY system have already taken swift, strong actions in response to small groups of students who are flaunting safety guidelines. Those actions include individual student suspensions, semester-long suspensions of athletics and Greek Life, indefinite suspensions of in-person dining and residence hall visitation, the scaling back of campus activities, and increased penalties for students who violate the guidelines. SUNY’s “Mask Up or Pack Up” campaign will seek to send strong messages to students who engage in this type of behavior.

SUNY recently launched a three-pronged approach for combating COVID-19 on campuses. The strategy includes: strict enforcement of safety protocols to minimize cases; routine, required surveillance testing to identify the presence of the virus; and transparent, case-count statistics through its new case tracker that produce data-driven decisions that contain the spread of the virus when it does appear.

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