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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Clarification to COVID-19 "on pause" criteria

February 22, 2021

Dear Students,

We know that there are many questions about the specific numbers that would result in our campus going “on pause,” as described in our spring plan. SUNY Potsdam’s Emergency Response and Resource Group closely follows a number of metrics and makes recommendations on campus operations in light of the pandemic—including the level of spread, our available quarantine and isolation space, and many other factors.

Following my email to you on Friday, Governor Cuomo announced that the New York State Department of Health has adjusted its guidelines for when colleges and universities would be required to enter into a precautionary pause period.

For campuses like ours, we would be required to go on pause if our positivity rate exceeds 5% during a rolling 14-day time period. For reference, at this time, our current 14-day rolling positivity rate is 1.13%. However, we will continue to track this closely and are in constant communication with both public health and SUNY officials about our situation as it continues to develop. SUNY’s COVID-19 online case tracker includes comprehensive data on COVID-19 testing and case details. When using the SUNY tracker, please remember to select Potsdam from the campus list.

Please remember that in the event of going on pause, residential students would not be sent home. During a pause, all in-person activities including academic instruction would be temporarily suspended for two weeks, while campus access would be restricted and increased testing may be implemented. For more information about all of these topics, visit

I remain optimistic that we can quickly change course and that all individuals will hold themselves personally accountable for their actions. For those who are doing the right things, thank you. Once we have results from this week’s surveillance testing, we will send an update to the campus community.


Kristin G. Esterberg, Ph.D.