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Kolison gives COVID update for SUNY

State University of New York at Fredonia President Stephen Kolison offered positive news about COVID-19 on campus this week, but stressed that strong efforts to suppress the virus must continue.

“COVID remains a major concern on this campus and so our posture … remains very vigilant,” Kolison told a meeting of the College Council held in the Horizon Room in the Williams Center.

All students were required to test negative before returning to campus after winter break, he said. Students on campus are also required to do weekly “pool” testing for the virus.

Kolison noted that there is a COVID-19 testing site for the local community on campus now. It’s located at Jewett Hall, and while 100 to 200 people per day are expected there eventually, the numbers are less than that now. Council members speculated that was because few in the community know about the site.

There are currently five students on campus who tested positive for COVID-19 and were put in isolation. An additional 40 students tested positive while home for winter break, and cannot return to campus until they are medically cleared.

Kolison said, in the next four to six weeks, “we expect all our students to receive the booster.” Staff cannot be required to get booster shots due to labor management rules, but they are being strongly encouraged to do so.

“We are looking at all kinds of policies for events with off-campus guests,” he continued. “These things will evolve based on where we are (with COVID-19 rates).”

One such event, in normal times, is commencement. Kolison said the campus is currently planning live, in-person graduation ceremonies for May 21. “I’m very optimistic we will do this in person,” and not over the Internet, he said.

First, though, “we want to make sure we can go through the semester face-to-face,” the president said. He repeatedly praised students and staff for their efforts in working toward that goal.

The attitude about the anti-COVID effort on campus is “very good … I think we’ll be fine,” Kolison said. He later added, “I have to give our students a whole lot of credit for really cooperating.”

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