NEW YORK - The institutions with the State University of New York and the City University of New York will be moving to distance learning on March 19 for the rest of the semester in order to reduce the risk of spreading the new coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.
Some classes or labs may continue to be held on campuses after that date but CUNY and SUNY schools are working to get most courses online. Some dorms will stay open so that students who cannot leave campus have somewhere to live until the end of the semester.
"CUNY will help reduce the density in New York City. SUNY will help reduce the density in downstate New York. That is SUNY Purchase, Stony Brook, Westbury, et cetera, downstate is where we have the highest density of cases now," Cuomo said. "There are some different campuses. There may be some variability. But that will be a way to reduce density and that is a good thing."
In a statement, the SUNY student government praised the decision.
"Guaranteeing the health and safety of the State University of New York's students, faculty and staff is rightfully Governor Cuomo's priority," the SUNY Student Assembly said in the statement. "We appreciate the Governor's announcement that SUNY campuses will move to a distance learning model for the remainder of the spring semester."
Cuomo said that the campuses will not be closes but the move will help reduce the population density in and around New York City, Long Island, and Westchester, where most cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed.
Dozens of colleges and universities across the country have moved classes online and even closed dorms in response to the growing viral epidemic. Harvard University has been criticized for announcing that students should not return to campus after the break and need to move out of their dorm rooms this week.