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Off-campus trips and parties are fueling a spike at Syracuse University, officials say.

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Even as rising coronavirus cases forced other colleges to halt in-person classes or send students home, Syracuse University managed to keep the virus at bay, with only a handful of students testing positive since classes began in the fall.

That was, campus officials say, until someone traveled to a nearby city and brought the virus back to campus, where it spread rapidly at parties. Syracuse, a big private college in Central New York, now has more than 75 active cases, including 68 people who tested positive in the last four days.

The sudden rise highlights how quickly the virus can spread in a college environment, even as many students take pains to protect themselves and their classmates.

It’s not how Ava Notkin was expecting her last semester to play out. The senior said on Saturday that she was exhausted from the health anxiety that pervaded the campus, making it hard to focus on homework, exams and other aspects of college life that would, under normal circumstances, constitute the bulk of a student’s stress.

“I feel like I’m teetering on the edge,” said Ms. Notkin, 21, a marketing management major from Pittsburgh. “We’re always in this risky gray area.”

Ms. Notkin and other students have expressed frustration with students holding parties that officials say are leading to new infections.

“Everyone just needs to realize that this is not our normal college experience anymore,” she said.

Still, students and campus administrators say they recognize the desire to socialize, particularly for those who are just getting to know their peers or are spending their last year in the same city. The campus has organized a series of virtual lectures, events — “Zumba Party at Home,” anyone? — and other programming for the campus. Ms. Notkin said she had safely enjoyed the region through

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Texas flouted special education guidelines for therapy, U.S. officials say

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Texas has failed to ensure that children with developmental delays have early access to speech and occupational therapy and other services, according to a letter ​written this week by U.S. education officials who say the state is not complying with federal special education guidelines.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has three months to draw up a plan to ensure that a program that pays for infants and toddlers to receive such early intervention therapies is reaching all eligible Texans, federal officials wrote. Failure to do so could cost the state federal funding.

After years of budget cuts in Texas caused nonprofit therapy providers to drop out of the program, U.S. Department of Education officials found Texas to be in “significant noncompliance” with education guidelines on early intervention services.

Children’s advocates called on state leaders to provide additional funding to Texas’ Early Childhood Intervention program.

“The investigation clearly shows that state funding cuts to ECI made it harder for Texas toddlers with autism, speech delays, Down syndrome, and disabilities to get the services they need,” said Stephanie Rubin, chief executive of the nonprofit Texans Care for Children.

“Because so much brain development happens during the first couple years of life, we know that investing in infants and toddlers has a huge payoff in terms of kids meeting developmental goals, being ready for school, and growing up healthy,” she added.

Christine Mann, a spokesperson for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, said the agency is reviewing the report to determine its next steps.

The Early Childhood Intervention program pays for caseworkers to work with families to track the progress of developmentally delayed children younger than 3 years old,

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14 Purdue University students suspended after throwing dorm party, officials say

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More than a dozen Purdue University students were suspended this week after officials say they disregarded school rules and threw a party in a residence hall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

After finding out about the Sept. 26 event, Katie Sermersheim, associate vice provost and dean of students, issued suspensions to 14 students, including 13 athletes, for violating the school’s Protect Purdue Pledge.

COLLEGE CAMPUSES WORKING TO KEEP CORONAVIRUS AT BAY TURN TO TECH

In part, the pledge asks students to maintain “appropriate social distancing,” especially when in the presence of others, in order to stem the spread of COVID-19 on campus. To make sure this happens, the school has specifically prohibited students from hosting, organizing or attending events on or off-campus that do not allow for safe social distancing.

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The guidelines read in part: “Organizing and/or hosting, either individually or with others, an event, party or other gathering (‘event’) or attending such an event, where the attendees are not required to, or willfully fail or refuse to, adhere to the requirements of the Protect Purdue Pledge, or of state or local public health laws, regulations or orders.” This includes but is not limited to maintaining a 6-foot distance from others and wearing an appropriate face mask, according to the school.

Per the university’s code of conduct, students found in violation of the pledge are “subject to disciplinary action,” according to the school’s Monday notice.

COLLEGES STRUGGLE TO CONTAIN CORONAVIRUS DUE TO PARTY CULTURE

Sermersheim used the opportunity to remind students of the importance of adhering to the Protect Purdue Pledge amid the ongoing pandemic.

“This virus continues to be the demise of many universities and academic pursuits,” she said.

While the majority of students are “behaving admirably,” the school “cannot let our guard down and must hold those who violate