SUNY Potsdam would like to provide several important updates regarding our compliance with new orders and guidelines, as we confront the novel coronavirus pandemic.
First, we would like to apologize once again for the confusion surrounding all of these changes. This is a rapidly-changing public health emergency, and the guidance and policy we have received is constantly changing, based on the health outlook and the need to contain the virus as much as possible.
Following new directives from President Trump and Governor Cuomo limiting gatherings and closing certain facilities, SUNY Potsdam has had to restrict access to much of campus, and cancel or postpone most events and activities. Additionally, as of today, the Governor has directed all non-essential New York State employees not to report to work for the next two weeks, and the state has negotiated a new telecommute policy with the major unions. As a result, most offices and facilities across campus will be closed for the foreseeable future, while faculty and staff telecommute and/or make the transition to distance learning.
Restricted on-campus housing
The State University of New York is now discouraging students from returning to campuses after Spring Break, until further notice. At this point, the only students who will be allowed to remain in the residence halls will be students who:
- do not have a safe or appropriate alternative location,
- are international students who are unable to return home, and/or
- have limited or no access to technology at home.
We realize this change may be disappointing, and sincerely apologize for the inconveniences it may cause. SUNY Potsdam will make every effort to ensure that all students can complete coursework remotely as we transition to distance learning for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester, beginning on Monday, March 23.
An important message will be sent to all on-campus students momentarily, with more information on how to apply for an exemption to stay on campus, changes in the residence halls, directions for leaving campus and the check-out process. All residential students are expected to respond to the questionnaires linked to in this message, regarding your intentions.
As was announced previously, for students who check out of the residence halls, there will be a credit issued for the unused portion of on-campus room and board, as well as certain fees associated with on-campus living.
Due to the new social spacing directives and the staffing limitations we are faced with, SUNY Potsdam is restricting public access to most campus buildings until further notice, out of safety and staffing concerns. The following locations are restricted to the public until further notice: the Maxcy Hall Athletic Complex, the Lougheed Learning Commons, The Crane School of Music Complex, the Performing Arts Center, all classroom buildings and faculty offices.
The remaining on-campus students will be able to access the occupied residence halls, the open dining location(s), the Barrington Student Union, Student Health Services, the College Counseling Center and specific facilities required for their academic success (such as computer labs and practice rooms). The Student Mailroom will only be open from Monday through Friday, and the College Store hours are subject to change, depending on student needs. There is a process for Crane School of Music students to retrieve belongings or return items. For all other buildings, please fill out this contact form.
As of today, PACES has two dining locations open, Becky’s Place and the Lehman Dining Center. Following the Governor’s directive on restaurants, and state and federal guidelines on social distancing, both locations are limiting the number of patrons in the halls to 10 individuals at a time, and all items are offered to go. Limited seating has been placed at the recommended distances apart. Dining services may be adjusted depending on the number of students and employees on campus going forward.
In response to the current situation, the Student Government Association has cancelled all face-to-face student organization meetings and events until further notice, and will be coordinating a variety of SGA operations digitally. SGA will be communicating directly with club Presidents with more updates, as well as sharing information about tools available to student clubs to support digital events/activities to engage students.
Counseling Center resources
The College Counseling Center is reaching out to students who have appointments to offer telecounseling options, and has some advice on finding therapists in your area. In addition, the staff has assembled important resources for all members of the campus community, regarding coping, health, wellness, self-help, self-care and important crisis information.
These are difficult times. Thank you for your patience and understanding, as we work to protect each other while still upholding our academic mission.