Instagram Combined Shape quotation Created with Sketch. 69
Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Fall 2021 Guidance: What you need to know to get ready for your return to campus

 July 27, 2021

Dear students,

We cannot wait to welcome you to campus for a fall semester filled with the in-person classes and activities that make the SUNY Potsdam experience so unique! We have heard overwhelmingly from students that you are eager to come back for a face-to-face fall semester, not only for your mental health and well-being, but also to bolster your academic success.

Vaccination is key.

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 require students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, upon full FDA approval of one COVID vaccines.

Additionally, while we wait for full FDA approval, students must be vaccinated if they are participating in activities or programs with a high degree of interpersonal interaction, starting this semester. This requirement will go into effect immediately for student participation in the following programs or activities, with limited exceptions:

  • Most classes, studios and ensembles within The Crane School of Music
  • Most performance-related classes and ensembles within the Department of Theatre and Dance
  • Most classes with a lab or studio
  • Any academically-related travel or field trips
  • Law Enforcement Training Institute
  • Intercollegiate athletics and club sports
  • Fitness Center use
  • Performance-based clubs and organizations
  • Clubs or organizations with significant social or philanthropic functions that involve interacting in-person with non-SUNY Potsdam students and/or the local community
  • Any student event/activity that includes travel from the campus
  • Any student event/activity deemed to be high risk for COVID-19 transmission, due to close contact of participants and/or physical activity

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

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. If you haven’t already, you can find a vaccination location near you and get answers to any questions you have at SUNY Potsdam will also be offering free vaccines on campus this semester.

Health requirements and exemption requests

We will soon be sending out an important message to all students, with reminders regarding all health requirements for attendance. 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.

Similar to our existing process for the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine requirement, 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. More information on this process will be forthcoming.

Residence Life

Students will be able to view their room assignments on BearPAWS on August 1. Questions or concerns can be emailed to Specific steps for moving on campus will be coming shortly. 

What to expect: Vaccinated students 

  • Vaccinated students will be tested upon arrival to campus using the self-administered saliva swab pooled testing system from Upstate Medical University.
  • Going forward, vaccinated students will only be required to be tested periodically, and will also be offered optional testing in advance of breaks, so they have their results before traveling.
  • As always, testing is available at Student Health Services and local healthcare providers for anyone experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID.

What to expect: Unvaccinated students

  • 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 within five (5) days of their return to campus.
  • Unvaccinated students will also be required to continue to wear face coverings in all public spaces on campus (including in all classes), to maintain social distancing, and to take part in mandatory weekly surveillance testing for COVID-19.
  • There will be a temporary exemption form for unvaccinated students, advising them of the campus expectations and the steps the College may take in the event of an outbreak in order to protect their health.

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.

We will continue to send updates on our planning for the fall semester, and will also post more details at



Eric D. Duchscherer
Dean of Students
218 Barrington Student Union
SUNY Potsdam
44 Pierrepont Avenue
Potsdam, NY 13676

(315) 267-2117