(CNN) — The president of the State University of New York at Oneonta resigned, as the school deals with hundreds of cases by covid-19 reported within the university since the beginning of the semester.
In a statement announcing the new interim president on Thursday, New York State University Chancellor Jim Malatras said that Dr. Barbara Jean Morris had “transitioned from her role as president” and wanted to “seek other opportunities ».
A spokesman for the university told CNN that Morris resigned.
SUNY Oneonta reported 712 student cases of covid-19 since the university residences were opened on August 17.
That’s more than half the total number of reported cases from campus testing across the SUNY system. They have reported 1,167 positive cases in 61 different campuses.
The growing number of virus cases prompted SUNY Oneonta to switch from in-person learning to a fully online format in late August.
Jim Urso, a spokesperson for SUNY, commented on the timing of Morris’s resignation.
«The rebound of the covid was in early September. I just want to clarify that his resignation did not occur in the midst of that increase, “Urso told CNN.
“She did not quit in the middle of this crisis. We conducted a review of what happened. It’s not like she quit in the middle of the night while students were testing positive by the dozen.
The university did not evaluate students upon arrival
The resignation of SUNY Oneonta’s Acting President comes after the university decided not to screen the students or quarantine them upon arrival.
Soon after, the University saw a spike in positive results. When the leadership tried to take punitive action against students for disobeying social distancing orders, the virus had spread.
“We have recognized that there were several problems with Oneonta’s response to the implementation of its reopening plan in the fall,” Urso told CNN. «Our chancellor has recognized it. It is a public record at this time.
Dennis Craig, the former interim president of SUNY Purchase, who only reported three infections since the beginning of the semester, will serve as interim president of the university.
The search for someone to fill the position permanently is expected to begin soon.
Eryn Kenney, a SUNY Oneonta third-year dual major in Teen Education and French who lives off campus, wishes the university had done more to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus.
Other state schools in New York tested for covid-19
“I think President Morris should have handled COVID a lot better,” Kenney told CNN on Friday. “Most of the SUNY schools required exams before the semester started. My sister goes to SUNY Plattsburgh and the exams were compulsory.
Kenney also said that “there could also have been more restrictions on social distancing,” adding that he wished the administration had forced students who lived on campus to quarantine them when they arrived, as other universities did.
But he also recognized the role students played in the out-of-control spread.
«I think it’s PARTIALLY fault [del cuerpo estudiantil]», He assured. “I think a lot of the spread could have been prevented if the students hadn’t partied or gone anywhere without masks.”
SUNY Oneonta has about 6,700 students enrolled, according to its website.