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SUNY Brockport’s successful fall semester paves way for spring

By Brianna Bush / Managing Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of many people, whether it be their social lives or their professional lives — many have had to adjust and adapt to the new reality. SUNY Brockport is one of many colleges that had to adjust to ensure everyone’s safety. 

Brockport has some of the lowest case numbers reported in colleges, with a total 38 cases as of Dec. 5, according to the SUNY Tracker website. Brockport President Heidi Macpherson attributes Brockport’s success to everyone on campus, both students and staff. Macpherson explained the college was lucky enough to have a disaster specialist on campus when the pandemic did reach the United States. 

“We were very fortunate because a number of years ago, we hired an emergency manager,” Macpherson said. “Not every campus has one, we’re very fortunate that we had a very experienced emergency manager who has spent his whole life training for disasters, and a worldwide pandemic can be one of those.” 

Macpherson explained the campus was fortunate enough to be chosen by SUNY to be a quarantine site for SUNY students who were studying abroad March 2020. 

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“While it may not have felt fortunate to begin with, because it was very quick, and we had to get everything ready, it gave us a really good insight into what we needed to do to be prepared for when we were planning for our own students to come back,” Macpherson said. 

There is also an emergency operation center in place that holds meetings at least three times a week. Macpherson said the planning and communication between everyone on and off campus are a few of the reasons Brockport’s cases are low.  

As the semester draws to a close, plans for next semester are already in the works. To start off the semester, SUNY is requiring that all SUNY schools start the spring 2021 semester off fully online. Macpherson explained that Brockport and other schools can’t have face-to-face classes until February 2021. 

“Our semester starts on the Jan. 21, so everyone will start remotely right now,” Macpherson said. “Now, that may not be true for student teachers or people who are in internships, but if they are taking classes, they will start remotely, later we will have about 65% of our classes face-to-face.” 

For the larger in-person classes, Macpherson explained that Brockport will be using the A day/ B day system that requires half the class to meet on A days and the other half to meet in person on B days.  

“That’s really to maintain the distance that we need and to ensure student safety,” Macpherson said. “We know that it’s difficult for students. It’s difficult for faculty, it’s a different way of teaching and learning, but I think with the experience people had in the fall, they’ll be better prepared to be successful in the spring.” 

Macpherson explained if the number of cases were to continue to stay low, Brockport intends to open the SERC for students as well as athletics to start again in the spring. Vice President of University Relations David Mihalyov explained that SUNY Brockport is working closely with the Monroe County Department of Health to make sure this happens safely. 

“There are certain restrictions that if our region hits a certain number then we can only do certain things, we can have a gathering of a certain size, we can’t have certain facilities open,” Mihalyov said. “So, part of it we can control but part of it is also out of our control.” 

The hope is that the spring semester will go as smoothly as the fall semester. 

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