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Restart Plan: Get the details.

Potsdam, Prepared

SUNY Potsdam has been proud to welcome students, faculty and staff back for the Fall 2020 semester. Our Restart Plan reflects the utmost care and concern for our campus community. Please remember that our plan is subject to change, due to any new or changing information, guidance or direction from New York State.

Together, we can ensure that the Fall 2020 semester is safe and successful.

Student Guide

Academic Calendar

  • Classes are now scheduled to begin on Monday, August 31, with students arriving on campus 7 to 10 days prior, see residence life section below.
  • The academic calendar will be compressed, so that fall break is canceled. Students will return home at Thanksgiving break, at which point all remaining instruction and finals will be virtual.

Fall 2020 Departure Plan

On November Friday, November 20 at 10:00 p.m., SUNY Potsdam will transition to all virtual classes for the remainder of the fall semester. No on-campus classes, events, or activities will take place until the start of the Spring 2021 semester.  Read Full Departure Plan for Fall 2020 (PDF)

Academic Instruction

  • We are actively planning a mix of in-person, virtual and hybrid learning experiences for the fall.
  • Classes continue to be updated in BearPAWS to indicate format. Faculty need to make final determination in consultation with their chair and dean. Students should monitor their course schedule for any changes.
  • Students who cannot or do not feel comfortable returning to campus in the fall are allowed to complete courses virtually; at this time, over 50% of courses are being offered virtually.
  • Access to safe, disciplinary-appropriate, well-equipped and sufficiently large spaces for these classes will take priority for in-person classroom scheduling.
  • Extra time will be added between classes to allow more time for students to enter/exit classrooms.
  • Classrooms that will be used will have cleaning supplies in them, desks/chairs will be socially distanced, room occupancy limited
  • Teaching faculty have been asked to ensure that their courses are prepared for a full 15 weeks of virtual instruction, both to support students who may be quarantining or isolating at any given time during the semester, or in the event of a rise in cases.
  • For information about ordering textbooks and course materials, visit the College Store. Textbooks must be pre-ordered due to COVID-19 restrictions.


  • Following a decision from the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC), SUNY Potsdam will suspend its Fall 2020 athletic seasons and delay the start of its winter campaigns until January 1, 2021. The Bears men's and women's cross country, soccer and women's volleyball teams normally compete during the fall as part of the SUNYAC.
  • Coaches and staff members will continue to work with student athletes to provide meaningful experiences during the suspension of competition. More details are available here.
  • The Maxcy Hall Athletic Complex will only be open to students and employees, with public health measures in place for the use of shared spaces and equipment.

Contingency Plans

  • In the event that conditions and regulations change, SUNY Potsdam is prepared to ramp down on-campus operations as required.
  • Faculty are busily preparing in the event that they need to go to remote learning at any time as this situation is rapidly changing. Faculty are spending significant time engaging in professional development to maintain a high-quality academic experience.
  • During the fall semester, students will identify any technology needs that they might have in the event of a need to shut down.
  • PACES Dining Services would continue to operate depending on campus needs for any students that remain due to hardship.

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.
  • 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.

COVID-19 Testing

  • All students were required to complete a 7-day pre-arrival self-quarantine prior to coming to SUNY Potsdam and instructed not to come to campus if they developed symptoms during this time.
  • Upon arrival to campus, SUNY Potsdam required and conducted a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab for testing through Enzo Labs.
  • For comprehensive surveillance testing, all of the following are required to be tested on an ongoing basis: 1) residential students, 2) local students living in a 15-mile radius, 3) any student with a reason to be on campus. Surveillance testing is mandatory.
  • For surveillance testing, we are utilizing pooled saliva testing offered by Upstate Medical University.
  • Students must register before testing at
  • All students meeting the above criteria will be tested between September 15 and 18 in Maxcy Hall. Students will receive an email indicating your appointment time.
  • Going forward, half of the student body will be tested each week, meaning each individual student will be tested every other week.
  • Students at our Watertown branch campus will have separate testing process due to their attendance at Jefferson Community College.
  • As always, any student with symptoms may receive a test through Student Health Services or their local healthcare provider.
  • SUNY Potsdam has protocols and residential spaces identified for quarantine/isolation, as needed for residential students, consistent with current NYS/public health guidelines.
  • All campus case numbers will continue to be tracked on the SUNY Potsdam website, in the interest of transparency.
  • SUNY Potsdam is working to be able to expand surveillance testing to eligible on-campus employees. More information will be forthcoming.
  • Any employee who reports symptoms will be asked to get a test through their health provider and quarantine until they receive the results.


  • PACES Dining Services will encourage take-out services and more grab-and-go options.
  • PACES adheres to all public health guidelines for employee and food safety.
  • Protective shields have been placed in eating areas and at checkout stations.
  • The total available table seating will be reduced by 75% overall in dining halls, with seating spaces 6 feet apart to allow for social distancing.
  • To ensure a contact-less process, students undergoing quarantine or isolation will call in dining orders, to be delivered outside of their residence hall doors. Employees who deliver food will be required to wear proper PPE, including face coverings, gloves and eye protection.
  • The hours for dining locations can be found here.

Residence Life

  • We are prepared to house all students who wish to live on campus.
  • First-year students and new transfer students are in the first priority group to be housed on campus, because we know that in-person instruction and engagement with peers is so vital as students start their path here at Potsdam.
  • Students with hardships, including international students, are also included in the first priority group.
  • Move-in times will be staggered over several days leading up to Welcome Weekend and the first day of classes, to ensure proper social distancing and hygiene.
  • Additional details on your assigned arrival date and procedures for move-in will be communicated as we finalize plans.
  • Students with health concerns will be supported to complete their studies virtually, or to receive accommodations through the medical housing process.
  • Access to residential halls and buildings will be restricted to individuals living there.

Student Activities

  • We will have many engaging opportunities for student activities both online and outdoors in Fall 2020.
  • Campus Life will also provide support to student clubs and organizations to transition their operations online through platforms like Get Involved, with some limited opportunities for face-to-face events.
  • A limited number of in-person indoor events may be allowed with fixed seating, as long as the space allows for proper social distancing, ventilation and cleaning protocols before and after use. Attendance will be monitored to allow for contact tracing afterward, if needed.
  • Pending guidance, outdoor events with social distancing may be offered. Athletic and Student performance-based events may take place with limited or no audiences.

Student Services & Support

  • Caring for our students remains our calling. We will continue to be there for all our students, whether on campus or off.
  • To help maintain social distancing and cut down on traffic, many offices across campus will continue to offer virtual and online support as alternatives to in-person visits.
  • Offices will be reconfigured and equipped with dividers as needed, to ensure social distancing and to maintain cleanliness and hygiene.

Symptoms Tracker/Daily Health Screenings

  • All employees reporting to work on campus will be required to complete a daily health screening via Qualtrics or the Rave Guardian App. Employees who are physically reporting to work must complete the screening tool within 60 minutes prior to reporting to campus for the start of their workday. If an employee answers no to all four questions on the screening tool, an email will be sent to the supervisor they selected and the employee is approved to report to work. If an employee answers yes to any of the four questions, an email will be sent to the supervisor they selected and to Human Resources. Responses to the individual questions will not be seen by your supervisor.
  • All students will be required to complete daily screenings via BearPAWS. If a student answers no to all four questions on the screening tool, they will be approved to be on campus. If a student answers yes to any of the questions, they should immediately contact Student Health Services. They will not be allowed on campus for any reason including but not limited to: classes, dining halls, College Store, etc. 

Helpful Links

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:

  • Always wearing a face covering in all common areas (unless you are alone in an individual office or your dorm room).
  • Completing a health screening online and/or using a new smartphone app. Anyone with health symptoms consistent with or possible exposure to COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine and be tested.
  • Adhering to restrictions on social gatherings, and maintaining social (physical) distancing in the presence of others in all campus spaces.
  • 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.