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University at Albany threatens to close campus after 'very concerning' spike in coronavirus cases

A majority of the cases were reported within 24 hours.
Image: University Albany
Students walk towards the Science Library on the University of Albany campus.Google

The University at Albany in New York on Thursday threatened to suspend all on-campus activities after 40 student coronavirus cases were reported since the beginning of the semester less than three weeks earlier.

A statement from the school released Thursday night said the Albany County Department of Health notified the school of "a very concerning spike in COVID-19 cases among students," 31 of which had been reported within the last 24 hours.

Clusters were identified in but not limited to athletics departments and off-campus housing, according to the school.

The school said if the spike was not addressed, campus activities, including classes, would be suspended.

School officials urged students to wear a mask in public at all times, maintain social distancing and avoid large gatherings.

"Violations of these directives — including failure to immediately respond to University or county health department inquiries or failure to adhere to isolation and quarantine — will result in severe consequences, up to and including suspension or dismissal from the University," the school's statement said.

Classes at the University at Albany, which has more than 13,000 undergraduate students, began on Aug. 24. The university is part of the The State University of New York system, which announced all 64 schools would open for on-campus activities and in-person classes in the fall semester.

Last week, SUNY Oneonta said it was closing campus for the rest of the semester after more than 500 students out of 6,000 tested positive for coronavirus.

Meanwhile, The City University of New York said the smallest possible number of people would be on campuses during the fall semester, and fewer than 2 percent of classes would be held in person.