Life in isolation at SUNY Oswego

Local News

OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Cases of COVID-19 are breaking out across many college campuses in Central New York.

At SUNY Oswego, there are at least 36 cases. Among them is a student who says living in quarantine hasn’t been easy.

She asked NewsChannel 9 to protect her identity, saying there’s a bit too much isolation.

“One of my friends actually, she was very sick and there’s no one here checking on us,” she said. Not physically at least. She and the college both say the health center is calling students daily to see how they’re doing.

The Vice President of Residence Life is also a phone call away. “He takes care of anything we need. We have his personal phone number but I mean, there’s only so much one person can do,” said the student.

That’s where she feels things are falling through the cracks.

Students in the quarantine and isolation dorms get three meals a day, but she claims packages have been coming late or cold. She also has to take the stairs to get her meals. “I’m having a hard time breathing. It’s a lot for me to get my food three times a day,” she said.

Still, it’s food she is grateful to have. “A lot of other schools don’t have isolation dorms set up, they’re not doing continuous testing, and I just think that Oswego is doing the right thing there,” said the student.

NewsChannel 9 reached out to SUNY Oswego. The communications team provided the following statement:

“SUNY Oswego has thoroughly investigated the matter and remains confident in its commitment to delivering a high level of care and service to our students residing in quarantine and isolation rooms on campus. 

  • We continue to provide hot and cold meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) to students who place their menu orders with our food service provider. Each student in isolation and quarantine also receives a snack box (water, fruit and snacks) every day.  
  • In line with our Oswego Forward Plan, we implemented heightened cleaning protocols and have been disinfecting the isolation and quarantine residence halls twice per day, seven days a week. Students may also call for after hour cleaning service.  
  • We take the medical treatment of our students very seriously.  Each student in quarantine is contacted by the college’s Health Services Office daily and provided with over the counter medicines (Tylenol/Advil, etc.) as needed.  Each student in isolation is contacted daily by the Oswego County Health Department as these students are under their care.

As we navigate through the pandemic, our health services, dining, residence life, student affairs, facilities and maintenance, the President’s Office and members of the President’s Council remain focused on the health and safety of all members of our campus community and are consistently looking at ways to enhance our protocols and further communicate with students who are residing in quarantine and isolation rooms on campus.”

On Monday, the college announced that they will be using Funnelle Hall for students who need to quarantine.

Funnelle Hall was recently renovated and was supposed to be offline for this semester. The hall has 208 rooms, each to be used as single rooms for students who need to quarantine.

We are significantly increasing ongoing on-campus testing immediately. I have charged the SUNY Oswego campus to continue administering saliva-based testing for the rest of the semester as we move from baseline testing to aggressive surveillance testing.  Such continued testing will support our ongoing efforts to monitor and protect all members of the SUNY Oswego community.

President Deborah Stanley

SUNY Oswego has conducted almost 6,000 COVID-19 tests of students. As of Labor Day, the college is reporting 36 positive cases since they began testing on Aug. 12.

In a message to the community, President Deborah Stanley said the following:

“Despite the rise in cases this weekend, we have a very low infection rate and are faring better than many other campuses across the state and around the nation at this time.  Testing helps us identify COVID-19 on our campus so that we can begin care for those who test positive, and take swift action to limit the spread to others.

We are closely monitoring results daily and taking appropriate action in consultation with the Oswego County Health Department.  Residential students who test positive are moved to campus-supported isolation rooms, and residential students who may have been in close contact with those who have tested positive are moved into campus-supported quarantine rooms.”

SUNY Oswego is also working with the city and a private engineering firm to analyze wastewater to help identify traces of COVID-19.


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