Three weeks after the semester began, Binghamton University is seeing its worst COVID-19 spread yet.
In a B-Line News Addition on March 3, Brian Rose, vice president for student affairs, confirmed that the University is seeing 40 to 50 new positive COVID-19 cases every day, with the majority of these cases being students.
As of March 3, the University has 140 positive cases for the Feb. 27 to March 12 14-day period. With SUNY seeing 497 positive cases overall, BU alone makes up roughly 28 percent of this total.
According to Rose, the University’s testing center tests roughly 2,000 people daily. Currently, 154 students are in isolation housing and 122 are in quarantine housing. Rose said the University is providing numerous services to these students, including meal delivery, daily health checks, package deliveries, academic support and birthday messages.
“We are undertaking all of these extraordinary efforts because we strongly believe that the opportunity to keep students together on campus and attending in-person classes wherever possible provides a much better education than the alternatives,” Rose wrote. “For our efforts to matter, more of you must take responsibility for your observance of [COVID-19] safety guidelines.”
Franco Manriquez, an undeclared sophomore currently in quarantine at Comfort Suites Vestal, said he has had a mixed experience in quarantine.
“On the bright side, my hotel room is clean and comfortable with more than enough space,” Manriquez said. “I also receive daily calls from a counselor checking in on me. However, there are definitely downsides to being in quarantine. Not only can it get very lonely and boring, but the food can use a big improvement. Serving sizes are usually quite small, and the food is usually cold and dry when it reaches me. One night, I received a single chicken breast for dinner.”
Braden Florcyzk, a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics and law, is currently housed in Old Digman Hall, isolating on-campus. Florcyzk shared similar sentiments regarding the food when he receives it, as Florcyzk has missed multiple meals due to the fact that his food was never delivered.
“I didn’t get dinner yesterday or breakfast or lunch today,” Florcyzk said. “I was disappointed to say the least.”
Claiming not “to throw blame around,” Rose listed Super Bowl gatherings, Greek life rush and social events, on-campus residents visiting other residence halls and off-campus students failing to quarantine or isolate as the potential causes.
“All of you have acknowledged your responsibilities to comply with University policies that relate to the pandemic,” Rose wrote. “It is challenging for us to police that and also do all the other things we are doing to work through the current spike in cases. We are and will continue to respond to significant violations, to the extent our capacity allows.”
Rose emphasized that University administrators, including BU President Harvey Stenger, did not wish to recognize a misplacement of confidence in BU students.
“What are you going to do to allow us to stay together for the rest of the semester?” Rose wrote. “Without the cooperation of each of you, our efforts and those of the students who follow the guidelines won’t be enough. Be a member of our campus community and not just a consumer of our services. I think you’ll find the rewards are worth the effort.”