February 25 message from President Kolison
Dear Fredonia community:
It is Thursday, and time for me to provide you with another update on our fight against COVID-19. I am also using this opportunity to share other important items with you.
Low positivity rates: As of this morning, the report from surveillance testing is very encouraging. Since the start of the spring semester, we have received 5,121 student surveillance test results from SUNY Upstate, and only three have been positive. Employee test results are coming back with similarly low numbers. You can always check the COVID-19 dashboard to see Fredonia’s numbers and to compare our results with the rest of SUNY.
Vaccination site: I want to highlight the news release shared with campus and news media yesterday that SUNY Fredonia will serve as the host for a mass vaccination site run by the Chautauqua County Department of Health. As a host institution, SUNY Fredonia will provide support as needed to ensure that the site is accessible and available. However, the campus will not handle details related to appointment scheduling or administration of immunizations. I am proud that SUNY Fredonia will serve our community in this manner.
Additionally, Fredonia has applied to the state to be a “closed campus vaccination site,” which would allow us to vaccinate all students, faculty, and staff here on campus. It is my hope that we will be granted this opportunity. We are awaiting a response to that request, and I will let you know when we get an update. In the interim, I encourage you to seek out other opportunities, as they become available, for you to receive the vaccination based on the priority order set by the State of New York.
Transportation use: We wanted to share valuable information from the CDC with any students who may be sharing transportation and traveling together to fulfill curricular requirements (BOCES, student teaching, etc.). The CDC advises that regular travelers should take the following precautions: travel with the same people; limit the number of passengers in vehicles to only those necessary; improve ventilation with open windows, and set air ventilation to outside air; keep socially distanced as much as possible; wear masks; and use sanitizing wipes. You can read more on this CDC web page regarding using transportation.
Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence Finalists: Please join me in congratulating Fredonia’s 11 campus finalists: Emma Atherall, Bradley Brown, Emily Brown, Benjamin Farley, Molly Gibbs, Elizabeth Hahn, Jonathan Kobrinsky, Haleigh Moreno, Braelin Scott, Thomas Sheffield and Emilee Stenson. The campus is fortunate to have students with the extraordinary backgrounds of these 11 finalists. Each nominee has contributed greatly to this campus and to the community. Final selection of three campus winners will be made by a state-wide committee sometime this spring.
Fall 2021 planning: Now that we are well into the Spring 2021 semester, we need to begin planning for the Fall 2021 semester. I am hopeful as I read about positive cases declining in our region, more vaccines being approved, more mass vaccination sites like ours being established, and more projections that the majority of Americans will be vaccinated by mid-summer. Even with these very good signs, I recognize the challenge involved in predicting just what the status of COVID-19 will be when we begin the Fall 2021 semester. Notwithstanding, I believe it is okay for us to begin imagining a fall semester that allows for more in-person connections. It is my hope that we should be able to return to in-person instruction and extracurricular activities this fall. Hence, I am asking the Cabinet and the Reopening Steering Committee to begin planning for this possibility and include in the contingencies a plan to allow us to pivot, or shift back, efficiently to COVID-19–era instruction and operations, if necessary.
A call for continued resilience: While we can begin to think about life after the pandemic, we must remember that we are still in the middle of it. We cannot let our guard down. Students, you MUST continue to take the virus--and the Uniform Sanctioning in Response to COVID-19 Student Violations Policy--seriously. There have been student suspensions this semester for known violations. We are not too far from the end of the academic year. Avoid mistakes that could ruin this semester for you. I am proud of how you have persevered under these circumstances.
Until next Thursday, take care and have a great weekend.
Very truly yours,
Stephen H. Kolison, Jr., Ph.D.