Classes begin Monday at SUNY Cortland

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CORTLAND, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Students will be starting classes at SUNY Cortland on Monday after a phased movie-in period, despite a difficult start. 

The president of the school, Erik J. Bitterbaum, addressed first-year students earlier last week with a strong message: Cover up or pack up.

This came after several students, primarily first-year, already violated COVID guidelines days after stepping onto campus. The school distributed masks, but some students still didn’t wear them. The school says there were no large parties that triggered this, but President Bittberbaum says though he understands the struggles of this unusual semester, any violation of guidelines puts the future of the entire school at risk.

“You have to realize, especially with freshmen, they didn’t have a prom, they didn’t have graduation, since March, they haven’t been able to interact, so they were so anxious, so excited about coming to college,” Bitterbaum said. “Actually, we’ve had a lot of seniors and juniors who stayed on campus, who were very appreciative of it, and I think our freshmen now understand, especially when upper-class folks are visiting with them, and telling them how critical it is that you must wear your mask, you must socially distance.”

No one has been suspended, but about 30 students are facing disciplinary violations.

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