The University has released a message updating the Stony Brook community on the COVID-19 dashboard. The message reads as follows:
Congratulations on a successful first week of coming back safe and strong. We can take pride in the personal responsibility so many in our community have exhibited to observe guidance — from our University and in line with New York State guidelines — that will help us sustain this early success in the coming weeks.
We can’t emphasize enough the importance of continuing to follow all of the protocols that have been put so carefully in place to protect the health and well-being of our entire campus community — students, faculty and staff.
Wearing masks, observing social distance, staggered schedules, washing hands and complying with testing requirements will be critical factors in keeping us all safe and strong and, ultimately, keeping our University open for on-site learning. So will the SBU COVID-19 Dashboard – which now provides daily updates on critical information such as numbers of positive COVID cases for students and employees (more about the Dashboard below).
There are close-to-home examples of the danger in letting our guard down. The most recent being a fellow SUNY institution, which has shifted to remote learning options only, for the next 14 days, due to a rapid increase in COVID cases in week one. We also reported our first confirmed case at SBU on Friday, which resulted from proactive surveillance testing. The confirmed case was a resident student taking online classes, who was asymptomatic when the positive test was confirmed. We are following our protocols for response to positive cases, which require swift contact tracing, quarantining and isolation.
Dashboard Will Help Us Spot Trends/Act Accordingly
Stony Brook University is continually tracking our progress in the COVID-19 battle and so can you. Our tracking methods will help us make the most informed, ongoing decisions in a potentially changing landscape where we will need to stay flexible and nimble.
As students and employees have started to return to the campus in greater numbers, there is heightened interest in the indicators the University will use to make future decisions about changes in our operating status, particularly if there is a need to shift at some point to fully remote learning and work.
The Executive Leadership Team, informed by the planning efforts of many COVID Recovery Key Area Task Forces, developed a series of indicators that are constantly being monitored on our SBU COVID-19 Dashboard. The Dashboard reflects campus and local positivity rates, quarantine and isolation capacity, and campus density — all of which inform our decision making.
There are six factors/trends that will guide our decisions on whether we need to change our operating status (for example, shifting to remote-only learning and work). We will be looking at these interrelated factors as a whole, not individually, to get a big picture view of where we stand and how we should best act to help ensure the safety and well-being of our community:
- Campus infection rate — A rapidly changing rate or indication of widespread disease
- Clusters of uncontrollable positive cases in discrete populations — e.g., residence hall, building, segment of the population
- Quarantine space — Capacity is depleted or overwhelmed
- PPE levels — An inability to maintain necessary levels
- Hospital surge capacity — Capacity to manage a surge is depleted
- Regional infection rate — A rapidly increasing rate or indication of widespread disease in Suffolk County
Any decisions we make will, of course, be shaped by SUNY governing policies as well as New York State Department of Health guidance. Most notably, SUNY Chancellor Malatras last week provided guidance on a new requirement announced by Governor Cuomo that any institution with more than 100 cases or five percent of their campus population (whichever is lower) over a 14-day period must shift to fully remote learning for a period of two weeks.
Thank you for your efforts to keep our campus community safe — what you’ve already done and what we’ll do together, in the future, as we navigate this uncharted territory. Please watch for many more communications to come to keep us all on top of what we should know and what we can do. And continue to visit the Coming Back Safe and Strong website for information all across the board. In the meantime, stay safe.