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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Potsdam Prepared

Important Information

Thanksgiving Break

SUNY Potsdam cares deeply about every student’s health, well-being and success. So as we approach Thanksgiving Break, we wanted to provide the information you need to finish the semester strong!

Student checklist to get ready to return for Fall 2021!

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Semester overview

SUNY Potsdam will continue to work with our public health partners to ensure that our academic and campus preparations meet all the latest federal and state guidelines.


The vast majority of our classes and campus life activities for the Fall 2021 semester will be in person. In order to do this as safely as possible, all SUNY/CUNY campuses, including SUNY Potsdam, will now require full immunization for COVID-19 for students accessing campus facilities, with limited exceptions.

Students who are not yet fully vaccinated will be required to receive their doses as follows, unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption:

  • First dose must be completed by Friday, September 3 (if taking Pfizer or Moderna).
  • Second dose (if taking Pfizer or Moderna) or single dose (if taking Johnson & Johnson) must be completed by Monday, September 27.

Students who do not receive their full vaccination and provide the requisite documentation, or who are not approved for a religious or medical exemption by 4 p.m. on Monday, September 27, will be immediately disenrolled from classes, restricted from entering campus, and will not receive any refunds for housing, meals or tuition. See the SUNY tuition refund schedule for more information.

Many applied learning experiences, including practica, internships and field experiences, may also require vaccinations. Students participating in these experiences will be required to follow the protocols of their host organization/agency.

Students at our extension site in Watertown will also be expected to follow the same vaccination protocols.

The bottom line is, the sooner you get vaccinated to protect yourself and your community, the better.

Clinics & locations

SUNY Potsdam will also be offering free vaccines on campus this semester. Our first clinic will take place on Friday, September 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the Barrington Student Union. Register in advance HERE

Doses of the Moderna vaccine will be available for those who may have received a first dose and have not yet completed their series. A second clinic will be held to provide second doses of the vaccine on Friday, September 24.

You can also receive vaccinations at pharmacies and local clinics here near campus or get your first dose in your area before leaving home. To find locations, search at or text your ZIP code to 438829. Get answers to any questions you have at


Health Requirements and Exemption Requests

  • To provide proof of vaccination, students should sign in to the SUNY Student Vaccination Pass App. The SUNY Student Vaccination Pass validates your information against what is in the New York State Immunization Information Systems and the Citywide Immunization Registry for a match, and also provides a secure way for students to manually upload your records.

    All SUNY students are required to log in to the system before returning to campus, as follows:
    1. Go to
    2. Choose “Potsdam” from the dropdown menu.
    3. Log in using your SUNY Potsdam campus computer account username and password
    4. Submit your first name, last name, date of birth, ZIP code and phone number.
    5. If you attend more than one SUNY campus, you may also select your other campus from the dropdown list as well.
    6. The system will attempt to automatically verify your vaccination record.
    7. If your records are located, you will see a screen that says you are verified. There is nothing further that you need to do!
    8. If your records cannot be located (usually because you are unvaccinated, if you were vaccinated out of state, or because it has been less than 15 days since your last dose), you will have to manually upload proof of vaccination. Once uploaded, your records will be checked first by Student Health Services before you can be verified in the system.
    9. Troubleshoot common issues with the Student Vaccination Pass system here.
  • It is important for out-of-state students to provide Student Health Services with a record of your COVID vaccination status, via mail or fax or our secure file upload.
  • All unvaccinated and partially vaccinated students must complete the Temporary Accommodation Form.
  • Students who wish to apply for an exemption due to a medical condition and/or sincerely held religious belief will be able to do so by submitting specific forms to Student Health Services. The forms are now available online at the Student Health Services site. Medical exemption requests must be signed by a licensed health care provider.  Please note that students with an approved measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) exemption will still need to apply for a COVID-19 exemption, if they desire to do so. However, an approved MMR exemption does not guarantee approval for an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Students who are partially vaccinated or who are approved for a medical or religious exemption will be required to be tested for COVID-19 weekly, to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing at all times indoors, and to be masked outdoors when social distancing is not possible. There will not be an option to study virtually if your classes and activities are in person (as the vast majority are this semester). Reasonable accommodations will be made for any students whose exemption requests are approved.

  • If you have recently contracted COVID-19 and are not yet vaccinated or are only partially vaccinated, please submit your positive test results to Student Health Services as soon as possible, via the secure file upload. You may receive the vaccine once you have left isolation and no longer have symptoms. If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before being immunized. You are also exempt from campus testing requirements for 90 days after your first positive test result. If any of these situations apply to you, please complete the Temporary Accommodation Application and contact Student Health Services.


  • The Fall 2021 academic calendar can be found here.
  • The vast majority of our classes will be face-to-face this fall.
  • Some classes/academic experiences will be restricted only to those students who are fully vaccinated. Be sure to contact your advisor or department chair as soon as possible if changes to your schedule need to be made.
  • There is now a “vaccination required” designator available in Banner so students can check the status of their courses.
  • For internships and other applied learning experiences, students will follow the vaccination requirements of their site.
  • All unvaccinated teacher candidates will need to test weekly in the schools.


BEAR Pledge

The SUNY Potsdam COVID-19 BEAR (Be Ethical And Responsible) Pledge outlines expectations for students to protect everyone's health during the pandemic. Violations of the BEAR Pledge are referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, and are subject to sanctions, including prohibition from being on campus. To report any concerns or possible violations, email

Campus Life

  • We are so excited to be welcoming our students back in person! SUNY Potsdam is planning a full array of in-person campus activities, starting with Orientation and Welcome Weekend.
  • Activities with a high level of interpersonal interaction will require students to be fully vaccinated in order to participate, such as club sports or performance-based organizations.
  • Masking will be required at all indoor activities, and at some outdoor activities where crowding and close contact will occur.
  • The Bear Shuttle will be up and running again this fall. Masks are required at all times on the bus. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students cannot ride the bus until receiving their negative test results when they first come to campus.


  • PACES Dining Services is looking forward to reopening our dining locations on campus this fall!
  • Indoor dining in campus facilities will be limited to vaccinated individuals only.
  • Face coverings will be required in all areas of campus dining locations, unless you are seated and eating/drinking.
  • Unvaccinated students will be asked to utilize the “grab and go” takeout dining options available at every location.
  • Public health measures will remain in place in dining areas to reduce the risk of transmission, including partitions, distanced seating, fewer self-serve options and hand sanitizing stations.

Residence Life

  • Residents must receive their COVID-19 test prior to receiving their keys.  If you are planning on arriving to campus after the daily testing times, please contact to arrange for a late arrival.
  • Residents will only be allowed to have 2 individuals assist them with moving into the buildings; all guests will be required to be masked while in the residence halls regardless of vaccination status​.
  • Moving bins will not be available at check-in​.
  • To start the semester, we will allow other residential students to be guests in one another’s room, provided that all occupants agree; we will assess allowing other guests as the semester progresses​.
  • Lounges will be open in the residence halls​.
  • All residents will be required to wear a mask when not in their own room while the campus continues to have a mask mandate. If this is lifted, only unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students will be required to wear a mask in the residence halls.​
  • Kitchens and Residence Hall Association supplies (cooking/cleaning equipment, games, etc.) will only be available to vaccinated students. 

Face coverings

  • SUNY Potsdam plans to require face coverings for all students, employees and visitors to campus, beginning on Monday, August 16. This policy will be evaluated after two weeks, based on case numbers on campus and in our surrounding community.
  • The masking requirement will apply to all students and employees reporting to campus, regardless of vaccination status. Watertown students should follow the current face covering policy in effect at Jefferson Community College.
  • Indoors
    • All students and employees must wear face coverings in shared indoor spaces, including classrooms, laboratories, studios, libraries, the Lougheed Learning Commons and faculty offices, and at campus activities/events.  
    • Social distancing is not required when everyone is fully masked.  
    • Masks may be removed in personal residence hall rooms and personal offices/workstations when individuals are socially distanced.  
    • In music classes, masks are required for all students, unless they are playing their wind instrument or if their professor asks them to remove it to sing.  
    • Speakers and presenters should also be masked when proper social distancing is not possible.  
    • Masks should be worn in dining areas unless you are seated at a table and eating or drinking.
  • Outdoors
    • Vaccinated individuals are not required to wear masks and do not need to socially distance outdoors, unless in crowded situations or activities.  
    • Unvaccinated individuals must wear masks outdoors when in the presence of others.  

COVID-19 Testing Upon Arrival

  • All returning students must be tested upon their arrival to Potsdam for the Fall 2021 semester. 
  • Testing will happen from Thursday, August 26 to Sunday, August 29.  
  • New students (first year and transfers) should plan to move in by 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 26 so that they are able to fully participate in Orientation.  
  • Students who studied remotely last year, and who have not yet lived on campus, are encouraged to arrive on Thursday, August 26 or Friday, August 27, to become acquainted with campus prior to the start of classes.  
  • Returning students, off-campus residents, and commuters will be able to test on campus between Friday, August 27 and Sunday, August 29.  
  • Students will need to sign up for a testing date/time using the link that was emailed to them.
  • Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 are exempt from campus testing requirements for 90 days after their first positive test. Please submit your test results to Student Health Services via the secure file upload here if this applies to you.
  • Vaccinated students will be tested upon arrival using the self-administered saliva swab pooled testing system from Upstate Medical University. 
  • Unvaccinated students (including those who cannot show proof of full vaccination, those who are only partially immunized or those with a medical/religious exemption) will be asked to provide proof of a negative PCR test for COVID taken five days prior to returning to campus. We encourage you to use the following table to give you the best chance of receiving your test results in time. Make sure you have your test result with you! If you do not arrive with a valid test, you may be required to quarantine.  Click here if you need help finding a testing site. 
    Day You Plan to Arrive on Campus When you should schedule your COVID test
    Thursday, August 26 (new students only) Saturday, August 21 – Tuesday, August 24
    Friday, August 27 Sunday, August 22 – Wednesday, August 25
    Saturday, August 28 Monday, August 23 – Thursday, August 26
    Sunday, August 29 Tuesday, August 24 – Friday, August 27
    Arriving for Your Test
    • Testing will occur in the Barrington Student Union.
    • In order for us to be able to process everyone, and to keep density low, it is important for you to arrive to campus as close to your appointment time as possible. You may be required to wait if you arrive at an alternate time.
    • We recommend entering campus using the Barrington Drive entrance of Pierrepont Avenue (State Route 56).
    • Lot 13, which is the first lot on your right after the intersection of Barrington Drive and Watertown Drive, has temporarily been designated as 15-minute parking through the end of testing on Sunday, August 29.
    • Enter the Barrington Student Union through the main entrance off Barrington Drive.
    • The first testing station will be directly in front of you as you enter the building.
    • View the campus map for further assistance.
    Come to Testing Prepared
    • Download the event pass through GetInvolved, our campus events platform. This is how we track student testing completion each week. You’ll also need this for any events that you attend on campus, so make sure to save it! This quick video shows you how to download your event pass.
    • Pre-Register your account with Upstate Medical University for your COVID-19 test, or if you were on campus last semester, log in to your account to make sure that you remember your password.  Please note the following as you register:
      • You will need your health insurance information to complete the registration.  If you do not have health insurance, you will be able to note that and you will not be charged.
      • Make sure that you register using your legal name, exactly as it is shown on your health insurance card.
      • Remember your password!  You will need to login to the system every time you are tested.
    • Before your test, you must refrain from the following:
      • Do not brush your teeth or use mouthwash within 3 hours of taking the test
      • Do not eat anything (including gum, cough drops, etc), drink anything, nor smoke/vape/use smokeless tobacco products, within 30 minutes of taking the test.

    COVID-19 Testing Throughout the Semester

    • Vaccination and testing protocols apply to all students who are participating in face-to-face experiences, including at our main campus in Potsdam and our extension site in Watertown
    • Vaccinated students will be required to be tested periodically, and will also be offered optional testing in advance of breaks, so they have their results before traveling. Our scheduled testing dates for vaccinated students are September 6, October 18 and November 29. The optional testing dates will be November 15 and December 13. Additional testing may be required of vaccinated students based on cases on campus and guidance from SUNY, New York State, and local public health authorities.
    • Unvaccinated students must take part in mandatory weekly surveillance testing. 
    • As always, testing is available at Student Health Services and local healthcare providers for anyone experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID. 
    • Vaccinated employees are not required to participate in weekly testing at this time. 
    • Unvaccinated employees must complete mandatory weekly testing. 
    • Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 are exempt from campus testing requirements for 90 days after their first positive test. Please submit your test results to Student Health Services via the secure file upload here if this applies to you.
    • All unvaccinated teacher candidates will need to test weekly in the schools.

    Isolation and Quarantine

    Whether you live on-campus or off-campus, Student Health Services will explain how isolation and quarantine work.

    If you live on campus, Residence Life will get you moved to your quarantine/isolation space, which will be a single room with private bathrooms. They will also talk to you about what it means to quarantine/isolate on campus, to include how food will be delivered.

    If you live off-campus, you will quarantine or isolate in your off-campus housing.

    Students may quarantine or isolate in an alternative location with permission from Residence Life or Student Health Services. Please note, that you cannot travel to another location without receiving permission as there has to be a safe plan approved.

    What to expect from Student Health Services

    • They will monitor your health your health every day through the Student Health Portal, which you will need to complete daily.
    • If you have a medical question during the week from 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., call SHS at (315) 267-2377 or (315) 267-2667.
    • After hours:
      • Call University Police at (315) 267-2222 for assistance.
      • On-campus: For worsening COVID symptoms that may require an emergency room visit, call UP so they can guide the ambulance to you.

    Off-campus: For worsening COVID symptoms that may require an emergency room visit, please call St. Lawrence Health Systems at (315) 265-3300 or the 911 dispatcher and inform them that your symptoms are related to COVID-19.

    Isolation is used for people who test positive for COVID-19.

    I’ve been told that I’m a Close Contact, what will I need to do?

    • Unvaccinated Individuals: Regardless of whether you are symptomatic or not, you will be tested at Student Health and then placed into quarantine or isolation based on the results.
    • Fully Vaccinated Individuals with Symptoms: You will be tested at Student Health and then placed into quarantine or isolation based on the results. Additional testing, in consultation with Student Health, may be requested.
    • Fully Vaccinated Individuals without Symptoms: Depending on how close your contact was, you may be asked to be tested at Student Health or you may be told to go to next week’s testing. You should limit your interactions with people until your test results come in.  If you become symptomatic (have cold symptoms), please make an online appointment with Student Health Services or call them for an appointment at (315) 267-2377 so that you can be evaluated.

    Contact Tracing

    • The St. Lawrence County Public Health Department will conduct contact tracing related to our students or employees as needed. 
    • SUNY Potsdam has certified contact tracers on campus. 
    • The NYS Contact Tracing Program works with confirmed positive COVID-19 people to determine who they have been in contact with. Trained specialists reach out to those contacts about possible exposure. If you have been identified as a contact you will get a call from “NYS Contact Tracing” (518-387-9993). Because the disease can be transmitted without symptoms, notifying people about a possible exposure is critical to stop the spread. So, if you get a call from “NYS Contact Tracing” (518-387-9993) please answer. It is confidential and private. View Flyer (PDF). More information on the New York State contact tracing protocols and processes can be found online.   
    • SUNY Potsdam is committed to assisting Public Health with this process, as appropriate. 

    Visitors and community

    • Guests and visitors will be allowed on campus, with some restrictions. All guests are required to follow the current campus guidelines at the time of their visit.
    • Campus performances and events open to the public (such as Crane School of Music concerts and Potsdam Bears games) will require masking indoors and may have reduced capacity for social distancing and/or attendance tracking requirements.
    • Through our Family Welcome program, we encourage families to visit throughout the semester, as best fits your schedule. Let us know when you are coming to get a special welcome package to help you plan the best trip possible!
    • Children who come to campus for academic activities such as tutoring must wear masks at all times and can only access the spaces related to the program. Faculty, staff and students working with the children must be vaccinated and masked. Visiting adults accompanying the children must wear a mask at all times indoors to drop them off or pick them up. If they remain inside throughout the activity, they will be required to show proof of full vaccination and/or a negative COVID test taken within the past 3 days. For more information, contact activity organizers.

    Our commitment to each other

    The North Country has one of the lowest incidences of COVID-19 in New York State. By taking responsibility to protect ourselves and each other, we can keep it that way.

    Every SUNY Potsdam student and employee returning to campus will be asked to adhere to strict protocols recommended by public health. Inspired by our Potsdam Pledge, we will commit to protect each other’s health and safety by:

    • Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 when required, unless approved for an exemption, to protect ourselves and each other (see above for details).
    • If unvaccinated, wearing a face covering in all public spaces, complying with weekly testing, and maintaining social (physical) distancing in the presence of others in all campus spaces.
    • Paying attention to our health, and getting tested for COVID if we start experiencing any symptoms.
    • Agreeing to complete quarantine or isolation periods when required. Violations of these requirements would be taken very seriously and would be handled under the student conduct system.
    • Practicing good hygiene, through frequent handwashing and disinfection of shared surfaces.
    • Being considerate of others, especially those at high risk.