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Potsdam Prepared: COVID-19 Updates

Potsdam Prepared

Important Information

Fall 2021

Our face-to-face classes and applied learning experiences are the highlight of every student’s journey at SUNY Potsdam—and we are so excited to be able to safely phase back to in-person instruction for the majority of our courses heading into the next academic year. 

We are looking forward to welcoming students back to campus for the Fall 2021 semester—and into our classrooms, laboratories, studios and performance halls. Our faculty are hard at work planning for a fall semester focused on in-person instruction and educational experiences as much as possible—while still ensuring we follow all current public health guidelines as required. 

Safety overview

We are entering a new and hopeful phase in the fight against COVID-19—as evidenced by the New York State vaccination clinic hosted in our Maxcy Hall Fieldhouse, which is administering 2,000 shots per day to eligible New Yorkers. As the eligibility criteria have expanded to include all in-person university faculty, staff and students, SUNY Potsdam is now planning for a return to mostly in-person instruction for the Fall 2021 semester. 

Just as we have over the past year, 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—including required weekly surveillance testing for all on-campus and local students, daily symptoms trackers, social distancing measures, mandatory face coverings and sanitation/hand hygiene to protect everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions for Spring 2021

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.


COVID-19 Testing


  • 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 or completing an applied learning experience (i.e., student teaching). 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 these criteria above will be tested weekly, on Mondays in the Barrington Student Union Multipurpose Room.
  • 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.
  • Faculty and staff who report to campus for any reason, including dining services staff, are also required to complete mandatory weekly testing. Employee testing will be self-administered using the SUNY Upstate saliva tests. More details are available here.
  • 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 provides options for take-out services and 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.

Student Activities

  • We will have many engaging opportunities for student activities both online and outdoors in Spring 2021.
  • 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 Guide

Together, we can ensure that the Spring 2021 semester is safe and successful.

View Spring 2021 Student Guide

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.