In late August, less than a week after classes started, the State University of New York at Oneonta suspended five students who, officials said, had organized parties in the upstate town that might have led to a coronavirus outbreak on campus.
But it was already too late.
Five days later, the outbreak was out of control, with nearly 400 virus cases among a campus student population that is usually around 6,000.
As a result, officials announced on Thursday that they were canceling in-person classes for the fall semester and sending students home, making Oneonta the first SUNY campus to shut down because of the virus after trying to reopen for classes.
“Despite the diligence of the vast majority of our SUNY Oneonta students, faculty and staff, the actions of a few individuals who didn’t comply resulted in the spread of Covid-19 over the past week,” Jim Malatras, SUNY’s chancellor, said in a statement.