The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

View this profile on Instagram

The Torch (@sju_torch) • Instagram photos and videos

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Jojo Siwa
Jojo Siwa’s Bad Karma
Catherine Pascal, Staff Writer • May 3, 2024
Torch Photo / Anya Geiling
Live Show Spotlight: Roger Eno
Anya Geiling, Contributing Writer • April 30, 2024

25 Active COVID-19 Cases in SJU Community

University must close for two weeks if 100 active cases in a two week period is reached
New state guidelines from Governor Cuomo say that universities must close for two weeks if their numbers exceed 100 cases in a two week period. TORCH PHOTO/BRENDEN WILLSCH

St. John’s has reported 25 active cases of COVID-19 within the University community as of Sept. 8, bringing the total a quarter of the way toward a potential temporary shutdown under state guidelines. At the time of publish on Sept. 9 this number remains the same. 

Of these individuals, 13 reported positive results over the Labor Day holiday weekend, between Sept. 5 and Sept. 7. Three more cases were reported on the evening of Sept. 8. 

Five individuals are isolating on campus, while the other 20 are isolating off campus, according to the Reported Cases tab on the St. John’s Reopens website.

Due to “Privacy laws that protect student identity and personal health information,” the University declined to answer questions regarding if, and how many, people are isolating in St. Vincent Hall – however, this is the only building on campus to serve as an isolation residence for resident students who contract COVID-19. 

On Aug. 27, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that colleges in New York State that reach 100 active cases or equal to 5% of total school population – whichever is less – must close for two weeks to reevaluate. 

“St. John’s University will adhere to the directives issued by New York State that now instruct campuses to go completely remote for two-weeks if they report 100 cases or more during a 14-day count,” University spokesperson Brian Browne said. 

In the Aug. 27 press briefing, Cuomo named seven schools in the state that have seen an increase in positive cases, including Hofstra University in Hempstead along with SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Fredonia, Cornell University, University at Buffalo and Colgate.

Hofstra University, only 20 miles away in Hempstead, has seen 34 cases since the beginning of their semester according to university officials. 

The 14-day mark for the current count of active cases is Sept. 11. If the University were to close for two weeks, classes would revert completely to online learning, but residence halls would remain open during this time. 

“This is not a quarantine of students,” Browne said. Students would be able to leave their dorm rooms but would take all classes remotely. 

This past week, SUNY Oneonta cancelled all in-person classes and is sending all students home after a week and a half of classes and a subsequent 389 positive COVID-19 cases. This number exceeded 5% of their population, but rather than close campus operations for two weeks, they’ve given students less than a week to move out and have shut their campus down. They are giving room and board refunds to those who must evacuate. 

Browne did not dismiss the possibility that the University may have to close down permanently for the semester should the number of positive cases at St. John’s exceed 100 within a 14-day period. 

“The University is in daily consultation with a team of internal and external public health experts that guide our decision-making and evaluate all COVID-19 circumstances as they arise,” Browne said “St. John’s University will adhere to the guidelines issued by New York State and will adjust our campus operations accordingly.”

“The University has demonstrated our ability — whatever the circumstances — to transition to provide academic instruction,” Browne said. “If necessary, the University will transition to 100 percent remote instruction” 

The first reported case of COVID-19 at St. John’s was reported on the University website on Aug. 24. (The three students who tested positive when they arrived on campus for quarantine in early August, and any others who tested positive prior to arriving on campus or while quarantined are not counted in this data count).

On Aug. 31, the University reported that there were a total of six reported COVID-19 cases in the community. Three days later, on Sept. 3, the University reported a total of 11. This number has now risen to 25 as of 6 p.m. on Sept. 8. The University says they are in the process of collecting contact tracing information from the three most recent cases. Contact tracing has been conducted for all other reported cases on the website, according to Browne. 


Leave a Comment
Donate to The Torch
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. John's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Dayra Santana
Dayra Santana, Editor-in-Chief
Dayra is a senior Communication Arts and Legal Studies major. She joined the Torch during her sophomore year as Assistant Features Editor and later became Features Editor and Managing Editor. In her last year, she is serving as the publication’s Editor-in-Chief and hopes to reach more people in the St. John’s community in new and creative ways, including the Torch newsletter and other digital platforms. Dayra loves to make playlists in her free time and favors Spotify over Apple Music! You can reach Dayra at [email protected].
Alicia Venter
Alicia Venter, Editor-in-Chief
Alicia is a senior Journalism major with a minor in English. She joined the Torch during her freshman year as Assistant News Editor and later became News Editor. In her last year, she is now serving as the Editor-in-Chief. She is excited to expand the Torch’s online presence through the Torch’s newsletter and other digital platforms. She is a native Kentuckian and loves painting, blaring music too loud and strong coffee! You can reach Alicia at [email protected].
Jillian Ortiz
Jillian Ortiz, Managing Editor
Jillian is a senior journalism major minoring in Spanish and International Studies. A member of the Torch since her freshman year, she has held several positions during her time at the publication: She started as a Staff Writer, then became Assistant News Editor, Assistant Chief Copy Editor, Chief Copy Editor, Business Manager, and now in her last year, she is serving as the Managing Editor for the publication. As Managing Editor, she hopes to increase the digital presence of the Torch by collaborating with the editors to create new online initiatives for both the website and the Torch's social media platforms. She would also like to increase coverage beyond the University level to help engage the local community with the publication. A concert enthusiast, during the Fall of 2019 she traveled to London to see Hozier in concert.   You can reach Jill at [email protected]
Donate to The Torch
Our Goal

Comments (0)

We love comments and feedback, but we ask that you please be respectful in your responses.
All The Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *