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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

COVID-19 Update: Due to uptick in positive test results, campus restrictions will return

March 30, 2021

This week’s surveillance testing is not yet complete, but the initial results received from SUNY Upstate Medical have already shown 7 confirmed positive student “pools,” out of the first 443 samples submitted Monday morning—a very concerning trend, to say the least. There are still 941 student samples and 594 employee samples pending.

Given this rise in cases, SUNY Potsdam will take immediate steps to reimpose restrictions on certain campus activities, in an effort to help curb the spread:

  • Campus dining will return to takeout only.
  • The Fitness Center will close, effective immediately.
  • In-person campus events and activities must shift to virtual formats.
  • Lounges in the Residence Halls will be closed to prevent larger groups from gathering.

These restrictions will be in place until further notice as we work to better understand this week’s test results.  We will send an update later in the week, once all of the test results are in.

In addition, as the weather gets nicer, we’d like to remind students that face coverings are required when you are outside with other students.  Please, continue to do your part by following the BEAR COVID-19 Pledge and wearing a face covering correctly in all public spaces, practicing social distancing (especially avoiding parties and crowded public events), washing your hands, staying home if you are sick, completing all required weekly testing, remaining in the North Country region and complying with any quarantine or isolation orders.

As a reminder, under the New York State Department of Health guidelines, campuses like ours would have to enter a precautionary pause on academic instruction if we exceed a 5% positivity rate over a rolling 14-day period. As of right now, our 14-day rolling positivity rate is 0.12%. We will continue to keep a close eye on this, as our final test results come in for this week.

Even while eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccines continues to dramatically expand, this is a stark reminder that we cannot give up in the fight against the virus—particularly not when variants of concern continue to spread in New York State.

Remember, this is not the time to let down your guard. Continued community spread threatens everyone on our campus and in our community. Even with the upcoming holidays, it is critical that you not travel outside the region or have visitors—even family members—to contain the spread of the virus.

Looking ahead, there is hope on the horizon, as New York State is set to drastically expand its eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 vaccines. As of right now, you can get a vaccine if you are 30 years of age or older, or if you are an in-person college staff member.

Beginning on Tuesday, April 6, all New Yorkers age 16 and older will be able to schedule vaccine appointments. As a reminder, students who have a preexisting health condition or a body mass index of 30 or higher are already eligible, as are those who work as on-campus employees. This means that within days, our entire SUNY Potsdam campus community will be eligible to receive the vaccine.

To schedule your appointment at a New York State vaccination clinic (including the one in our Maxcy Hall Fieldhouse), visit https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/. You can find information about upcoming vaccine points of distribution throughout St. Lawrence County at the county Public Health Department website here: https://www.stlawco.org/Departments/PublicHealth/COVID-19Vaccine.

Even while we tighten restrictions once again, please be smart with our remaining academic break days to take time for your mental health and wellness. With longer days and more sunshine, there are plenty of fresh air activities you can take part in while socially distanced. Never forget that the Counseling Center remains ready to support you as we all combat COVID and pandemic fatigue.

We will continue to update you on the case details as our final results come in.