For press inquiries, please email President Austin Ostro at

UPDATE, 03/26/2020:

In light of recent events, Attorney General Letitia James recently launched a hotline and online form to report Asian American discrimination. You can call the hotline at 1-800-771-7755. Students can also call the NYS COVID-19 specific emotional support line at 1-844-863-9314.

The spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in New York State and around the world is of deep concern to SUNY students and families. 

On Wednesday, March 4, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the SUNY and CUNY study abroad programs in China, Italy, Japan, Iran, and South Korea have been suspended effective immediately in response to concerns over novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The decision was made based on recommendations from the New York State Department of Health (DOH). 

On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the Governor announced SUNY and CUNY will transition to remote instruction, beginning March 19th, for the remainder of the Spring semester. All campuses will develop plans catered to the campus and curriculum-specific needs while reducing density in the campus environment to help slow possibility for exposures to novel coronavirus. 


The Governor’s announcements brought comfort to many concerned New Yorkers, but simultaneously sparked a number of questions from students and their families regarding the future of their education. 

In an effort to increase accessibility of information to students, President Austin Ostro began a series of virtual town halls on the impact of COVID-19 on SUNY campuses. The first was held on Friday, March 6, and had 35 attendees. The second on Wednesday, March 11, and had 75 attendees.


From these town halls, we compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions by students, provided here with answers.

Are colleges closed?
No- campuses will remain open through the semester. This is includes dorms, food services and instructional space. 

Can students still live on campus?
Yes. Students who have on-campus housing will be able to stay and return after regularly scheduled breaks.

What is going to happen to graduation ceremonies, concerts, athletic events, etc.?
All events of more than 500 people are banned by the Governor. All those with fewer than 500 in attendance must maintain only 50% occupancy in spaces. Most campus programs and events, including athletic competitions, are cancelled for the foreseeable future. No decisions have been reached on commencement ceremonies.

Will SUNY refund students?
SUNY is exploring limited refunds for housing and meal plans for students who choose to continue their semesters through remote instruction. More information should come soon.

Can students still study abroad?
All SUNY organized study abroad programs are cancelled for the semester. All SUNY students studying abroad have been advised to return home. Students participating in study abroad programs hosted by foreign institutions are subject to provisions set by their host institutions.

How do these new policies impact international students? 
The Department or State and ICE have waived visa restrictions that require international students to enroll mostly in courses that meet in person. The legal status of international students should not be affected by recent developments. Housing options as well will be protected.

Will students still be able to graduate on time with these new academic changes? 
Students should be able to complete all courses that they are currently enrolled in. No student’s academic timeline should be pushed back.

How will Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s policies impact community colleges?
Governor Cuomo’s orders do apply to SUNY community colleges. All community colleges will be moving to offer remote instruction by March 19th..

How will SUNY accommodate students with disabilities?
Students with disabilities should contact their campus disability office to arrange any necessary accommodations associated with the transition to remote instruction.

Some of the country’s most prominent news sources, including The New York Times and Politico, turned to the Student Assembly to quote in their articles as the representative voice of SUNY students. 

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