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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

March 16: Important Guidance for Employees

March 16, 2020

Dear colleagues:

This afternoon, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo directed all non-essential New York State employees in every county not to report to work beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, for the next two weeks. This includes SUNY Potsdam.

This is one of many extraordinary measures that New York State is taking to try to slow the coronavirus pandemic, which has been declared a public health emergency.

Who are essential/non-essential employees?

  • Essential employees are defined for the purpose of the directive as anyone whose job function is essential to the effective operation of their agency, or who must be physically present to perform their job, or who is involved in the COVID-19 emergency response. 
  • Non-essential employees should be considered any person who does not need to be physically present to perform their job functions, or they are not currently required to meet the core functions of their agency or authority during this emergency response.
  • If you have been designated as an essential service employee by SUNY Potsdam, you would have received a notification via email or campus mail.
  • Campuses can change the list of essential/non-essential employees as often as needed, depending on our needs. If your status changes, you will be notified.
  • We understand that as we ramp up our online curriculum, teaching faculty may need to attend trainings on campus and seek guidance. For this purpose, you will be deemed essential.
  • If you are not sure of your status, please contact your supervisor.

Next steps

At this time, non-essential employees shall work from home, to the extent practicable, from March 17 until March 31, or until further notice. Regular time and attendance procedures are required for illness, vacation, family sick leave. Anyone designated non-essential should call their supervisor no later than one hour prior to their regular start time, to ensure any change in status can be communicated. Faculty and staff may return to campus to collect the items that they need to work from home.

Telecommuting Pilot Program

In addition, a new Telecommuting Pilot Program which was designed to help limit the spread of COVID-19 was approved through agreements with CSEA, PEF and UUP, and also applies to M/C employees. This pilot will remain in effect until May 14, 2020. More information about this policy as well as necessary forms will be provided tomorrow.

State owned computers

If an employee only has a desktop computer and needs a computer at home to be able to complete their work, they are allowed to take their desktop home with prior approval from their supervisors. Computing and Technology Services has a limited number of laptops that the Helpdesk can loan out. Please contact the Helpdesk by emailing More information about the specifics will be posted on the CTS Network & Systems Status page.

All non-essential travel restricted

Due to this directive, effective immediately, SUNY Potsdam is restricting all non-essential travel. Rare exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the area’s President’s Council member.

COVID-19 employee testing & evaluation protocols

Even if you are designated as essential personnel do not report to work if you are experiencing symptoms of illness associated with the COVID-19 virus (such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or respiratory infection/distress). If you are experiencing symptoms, you should call your healthcare provider and self-quarantine as a precaution, until you receive medical advice. As a reminder, anyone required to complete a 14-day self-quarantine will not be charged accruals. Caregivers assisting someone under quarantine do still have to follow normal time and attendance procedures.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we confront these uncertain times together. With these collective actions, we can help to slow the spread of this virus and protect the health of all our campus and community members.


Kristin G. Esterberg, Ph.D.                                                     

SUNY Potsdam            

Melissa E. Proulx
Director of Human Resources
SUNY Potsdam