Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Most of the SUNY Potsdam students with COVID-19 had no symptoms

 


By Andy Gardner

POTSDAM. SUNY Potsdam students who tested positive for COVID-19 were checked for the illness after returning from coronavirus hotspots in New York state, according to a college representative.

Nicole Conant, SUNY Potsdam president’s chief of staff, told the St. Lawrence County legislature during a finance committee meeting held online over Zoom on Monday, March 30 that the students who tested positive didn’t realize they had the virus.

“Four were asymptomatic. One had mild cold symptoms,” Conant said.

She said over spring break, 85 students were approved to stay on campus. Of those, about 25 left at some point over spring break and returned, so they were all tested for COVID-19 as a precaution, Conant said.

“We decided to offer testing to all of those students to be proactive,” she said.

The students who are isolated with the virus are having meals delivered to their doors. They are in single-occupancy rooms with their own bathroom.

“We’re following all of the CDC guidelines,” Conant said.

Students had been given a chance to collect belongings from their dorm rooms, but they’re no longer allowed on campus.

“What we did is have them sign up for a time in advance,” to avoid congesting the buildings, Conant said.

Now they have to make arrangements to get anything essential from their rooms.

“We did tell students they were no longer able to come back. If they have medicine or a laptop or textbook in their residence halls we would work with them … but they should not be coming back to campus,” Conant said.

She said the school has gotten complaints of students living off campus having parties and gatherings, despite warnings from county, state and federal public health officials to stay home except for essential purposes like food and medical care.

She said they can’t go out and do anything about off-campus activity, but they’ve asked law enforcement to be on the lookout and “address it.”

“They’re risking civil fines and college sanctions if they’re violating the guidelines,” Conant said.

Elsewhere at SUNY Potsdam, Conant said officials are looking at ways they can assist in the event that coronavirus cases spike beyond what local hospitals can handle.

“If we get to a situation where St. Lawrence County is out of ICU beds, we can convert some of our residence halls … we have Maxcy Hall,” she said, adding that they are looking at their 3D printer to see if they can make ventilator parts.

 

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