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Albany Area College Presidents Preview Spring Semester Protocols

UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez
UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez";

Siena College President Chris Gibson, UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez and College of Saint Rose President Marcia White came together today to discuss plans for the return of students to Albany County for the spring semester.

The college presidents joined Albany County Executive Dan McCoy during his Friday coronavirus briefing, announcing their plans going into the new semester. All three say their schools have re-opening COVID protocols ready to roll.

St. Rose had been hit by high infection rates during 2020. White says that was taken into consideration.

Marcia White
College of St. Rose President Marcia White

"So we made a decision that on January 19, our students would return to class remotely, rather than in person and we will continue that remote learning for the next two weeks. And person and hybrid teaching will begin on February 1, and that hybrid is a combination of in person and remote. When we decided to earlier this month to move the class schedule, we decided that we would also offer some of our college students the flexibility of moving back to campus while they weren't remote learning. The reason is some of our students do best at campus where they have greater access to technology. They have fewer distractions and the ability to focus that sometimes is not possible at home."

White expects close to 900 students will come back to housing for the spring semester. At nearby UAlbany, Rodríguez says the campus will soon come back to life.

"We're expecting about 3,800 students to come back to the university to our apartments and residence halls. So we are in an occupancy rate of about 50%, which from a public health stance is really good for physical distancing, if you will. Last fall, we decided to delay the beginning of the spring semester. So we are starting on February 1, which is 10 days later than we typically start, just to see how things transpire with COVID and the flu season and things of that nature. Given that we will not have a spring break, classes will end on time on May 15."

Former U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson is introduced as Siena College's president Feb. 14, 2020.
Credit Jackie Orchard / WAMC
Siena College President Chris Gibson

Gibson says classes resume at Siena February 22nd.

"We will not take a spring break, we share that with our colleagues. And our final exams will be May 22 to May 26. That takes us to commencement. Commencement, we'll be back on campus. I know for a number of years, we've had it at the center, but we also believe it's safer being outside. So we're gonna bring commencement back to the campus, we're gonna have it in the quad. And we'll be in compliance with all federal and state and county guidelines. We look forward to that. "

Students, faculty and staff at all three colleges will be subject to testing, in partnership with the University of Albany's RNA Institute.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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