The Utica Police Department is sending a stern warning to students who have returned to local colleges.

Utica Police officials say they've seen an increase in large off-campus gatherings and are reminding all students that with large gatherings come the risk of increased COVID-19 spread. Several area colleges have had to deal with a revolving door of remote instruction and sending kids home. Now that in-person instruction has resumed, colleges want to keep it that way and Utica Police well help them do it at any cost.

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While Utica Police officials acknowledge the need for socialization and a return to normalcy, it has to be done in good time. Local colleges have teamed up with Utica Police to ensure that their strict safety protocols are being adhered to. The Department is urging every student to make sure they are fully aware of what those safety rules and regulations are so that they can properly assist in reducing the spread of this dreadful Coronavirus.

For those who wish to break the rules and ignore guidelines in place there will be consequences. Utica Police officials say the choice lies with the individual. Officials with the Utica Police Department say if large gatherings continue, putting others at risk, action will likely be taken in the form of administrative and even criminal penalties. Police and college officials are urging every student to do their part to slow the spread and prevent the hindrance of their academic future. Always wear masks, wash hands frequently and maintain social distancing. These are steps that have been beaten into our brains for the last year and for good reason.

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