Columbia University Bans 70 Students From Campus for COVID Violations as NYC Deals With Case Surge

Columbia University temporarily banned 70 students from campus after they violated the college’s coronavirus travel policies. The move comes as New York City faces a surge in COVID-19 cases.



a group of people sitting at a park: Re-opening Continues Across Densely Populated New York And New Jersey Areas NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28: People sit on the grass at Columbia University as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 28, 2020 in New York City. As of November 22, the university banned 70 students from campus after they violated the college’s coronavirus travel policies.


© Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images/Getty
Re-opening Continues Across Densely Populated New York And New Jersey Areas NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 28: People sit on the grass at Columbia University as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 28, 2020 in New York City. As of November 22, the university banned 70 students from campus after they violated the college’s coronavirus travel policies.

The ban followed an unauthorized trip to Turks and Caicos by students from Columbia’s Business School.

Loading...

Load Error

The trip was in direct violation of Columbia’s COVID-19 public health protocols and the Columbia Community Health Compact—which all students, faculty and staff were required to sign at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.

The compact and protocols both restricted most domestic and international travel and banned group gatherings.

“An important part of Columbia’s public health protocols is that there are consequences for community members who violate the university’s Health Compact,” a university spokesperson told The Columbia Daily Spectator.

The students in violation of the university’s travel policies will be banned from campus through December 1. However, if the students violate the policy again, they could face harsher charges said the spokesperson.

The Business School offered a hybrid model of instructions for the fall semester. This means that students had the option of “HyFlex” or complete online classes, according to The Columbia Daily Spectator.

In the HyFlex model, students had access to a combination of in-person and remote classes that alternate each day. Business students also had access to facilities in the university, including Warren Hall and Uris Hall, even if they choose to learn remotely.

The students in violation will now only be able to learn remotely without access to the university’s facilities.

Columbia’s COVID-19 positivity rate of students and faculty live both on and off-campus was 0.12 percent for the majority of the semester, according to the university’s website as of Sunday. However, during the week of November 9, the positivity rate rose to 0.22 percent with 24 students in isolation and 39 in quarantine.

New York City, like many other areas around the country, have reinstated COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the holiday season in response to a surge in cases.

New York was once an epicenter for the virus during the early stages of the pandemic, but the area since curbed its cases in the summer. However, since students returned to classrooms during the final weeks of September, New York City has seen a steady uptick in cases once again.

How Does A Vaccine Work? What To Know Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

On Saturday, New York reported over 5,970 new cases and 41 new deaths, according to data from The New York Times. Over the past

Read more

University Heights firefighters agree to wage freeze as city deals with pandemic finances

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — The city and its firefighters union have come to a contract agreement in which the International Association of Firefighters Local 974 agreed to a wage freeze for the first year of the three-year deal. City Council agreed to the new contract during its Zoom meeting held Monday, Oct. 19.

With the city facing uncertainty as to its tax collections in a year in which COVID-19 has played havoc with communities’ budgets, Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan was grateful for the union’s consideration.

“Everybody is rising to the occasion during this pandemic,” Brennan said. “If we could give them raises, we would give them, but we can’t commit to that right now, and the fire union understands that. They look out for us every day in their capacity as firefighters, and they were looking out for us with this (agreement).

“It means the world to me. It’s not typical for a union not to seek a raise, but they understand it. They understand what’s going on in the community.”

The city and the union plan to get together next summer, by June 30, when the deal’s first year expires, and attempt to come up with a satisfactory amount for raises for the second and third year of the agreement. “We’ll pick it up again next year when we have a better idea of where we are (financially),” Brennan said.

It is the first of four contracts the city has to hammer out with its unions. Still to come are agreements with police officers and police administrators, and public service department workers. Brennan said he would not negotiate via the press and state whether he would ask the other unions to accept a wage freeze, but usually union agreements within a city are similar, which likely means that other unions will also be asked to accept a wage freeze for the first year of their deals.

“We’re appreciative of what the firefighters did and we hope the rest of our employees understand the situation,” Brennan said.

Meanwhile, council also approved Monday pay for city employees who were furloughed four hours per week, each Friday beginning in June, for 16 weeks, as the city attempted to save money. In all, council approved $44,682 for the employees. Brennan said he felt it was important that employees get paid for the time they missed due to something that was not their fault.

“They all worked fewer hours, but they all completed their work every week,” he said. “It’s important for us to stand by them, just as they stood by us and worked hard for us.”

Brennan said that firefighters were also prepared to take less, “to do something in solidarity” with their fellow, non-union employees. Firefighters were not furloughed, but Brennan said it was another example of the firefighters understanding of the city’s financial situation.

The firefighters did, as part of the new contract, receive a new vacation tier for those who have served with the department at least 24

Read more