Coronavirus Cases at Public Colleges

A New York Times survey of public four-year colleges and private institutions that compete in Division I sports or is a member of an elite group of research universities, revealed at least 6,600 cases tied to about 270 colleges over the course of the pandemic. 

Confirmed coronavirus cases on college campuses, New York Times, July 29, 2020

Confirmed coronavirus cases on college campuses, New York Times, July 29, 2020

Colleges affected near Vassar include the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (89 cases), SUNY New Paltz (31 cases), and SUNY Purchase (12 cases).  For those of you attuned to the challenges of capturing accurate data, the NYT article discloses all of those it encountered in the article. The takeaway is that the numbers are almost certainly undercounted. It’s also important to note that most colleges surveyed have not yet begun their Fall semesters (though some are starting early), suggesting that many of the infections reported occurred before most campuses were shut down in March. 

Like many other colleges, Vassar is taking extraordinary steps to reduce the risk of infection as some students, staff, and faculty return to campus. However, as President Bradley and college administrators across the country acknowledge, there is a risk that each of us assumes by being on campus, and we have a responsibility to each other to abide by an agreed upon set of standards that have been established through consultation with medical and public health professionals. (See the Community Care Pledge – See Covid-19 Updates, 6/29/2020 – A Message From the President Regarding Plans for the Fall.)

Meanwhile, it is important to recognize that essential maintenance staff have remained working to maintain the campus throughout the pandemic; a debt of gratitude is owed to them as all essential workers and health care workers.

For more information about Vassar’s reopening plans and other updates regarding Coronavirus, visit

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