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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

March 24: Message to students given hardship waiver

March 24, 2020

Dear Students,

You are among the small group of students who have been approved for a hardship waiver in order to remain on the SUNY Potsdam campus for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.

Campus access

As a reminder, no other students will be allowed on campus, and their campus swipe card access will be deactivated. It is very important that you assist in upholding our health and safety measures by not propping doors or holding doors for others.


Approved on-campus students who are arriving from areas with a high incidence of COVID-19 are being required to complete a 14-day precautionary self-isolation period, per Public Health Department guidelines. This is a precaution to ensure that students take every measure possible to avoid the transmission of the coronavirus, in case someone is contagious (please remember that you can have the virus and pass it onto others even if you do not have symptoms). If you have been identified as an individual who needs to self-isolate, you would have received a phone call with instructions from Residence Life. Students completing self-isolation will be expected to disinfect shared surfaces as they use them. You may leave your room to get grab-and-go meals and walk around campus to get fresh air, and will be expected to follow social distancing protocols. No non-essential gatherings will be allowed, and students will not be allowed to leave campus, or have any visitors. Student Health Services will be in touch to help these students understand how to track their health, and what to do if you begin to experience any symptoms.

Student Health Services

Any student who is experiencing symptoms should contact Student Health Services at (315) 267-2377 to set up a telehealth appointment. After business hours or over the weekend, you should call ahead to the Urgent Care Clinic at (315) 261-5525 or the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Emergency Department at (315) 265-3300. Do NOT enter a healthcare facility if you suspect you may have COVID-19, before speaking with a medical professional. You risk exposing others to the virus.

Quarantine protocol

In keeping with our Infectious Disease Plan, SUNY Potsdam has consulted extensively with the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department on what steps we will take if a residential student is suspected to have, or tests positive for, COVID-19. If a student is directed to complete a mandatory quarantine by the health department, they would be moved to housing offering a personal bathroom and delivered meals. They would not be able to leave that space until given permission and are not allowed visitors for the duration of the quarantine.


All remaining students who have been approved to stay on campus will be required to move to Knowles Hall South. Everyone will be housed in single accommodations. There will be 24-hour courtesy quiet hours, and no guests will be allowed, either from on-campus or off-campus. RHA items will not be available, due to hygiene concerns. Residence Life will be assigning times for students to move throughout the week to assure proper social distancing. Residence Life will be in touch with you with more information.

Counseling Center

The Counseling Center has moved to call-in appointments only, and all appointments will be offered via telecounseling. To make an appointment, call (315) 267-2330 during business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). They are also able to provide crisis appointments to students in need, via a Zoom link from a counselor to be seen right away. More information about this can be found on the office door, and more crisis information is on the Counseling Center website.

Campus expectations

Given the strict new requirements for social distancing, students returning to campus will have a very different experience through the end of the semester. This is to protect everyone’s health. Gatherings of 10 people or more are forbidden, and you should keep a distance of six feet between yourself and others. Access to much of campus has been restricted, meaning that all academic buildings, faculty offices, Maxcy Hall, and the PAC are closed. You will be able to access your residence hall and have limited use of computer labs, in addition to grabbing meals and picking up mail.

Bear Shuttle

Due to the ongoing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus and the guidelines limiting non-essential travel, Bear Shuttle service has been temporarily suspended, until further notice. St. Lawrence County Public Transit will offer SUNY Potsdam students alternate transportation during business hours from Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Transportation is limited to trips in the following categories: medical appointments, employment, pharmacy or food sources. To request a ride, fill out this form online. Prior to your ride, you are expected to wash your hands, per CDC guidelines. Drivers are also following a handwashing protocol and the vehicles are disinfected regularly. If you are unable to leave campus but would like to arrange for pick-up/delivery of your pre-purchased food or pharmacy items, call (315) 386-2600. Items must be paid for in advance.


Lehman Dining Hall will be open to serve on-campus students, from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.  You can request bagged continental breakfasts at dinner time to bring back to your room.

Local expectations

The Governor’s new guidelines have limited most business and community activity here in Potsdam and throughout the state, while we try to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. As a reminder, gyms, fitness centers, movie theatres, salons, personal care businesses, bowling alleys and many restaurants are closed (with some still offering take-out orders). Most religious and social organizations are also not holding any services or activities, due to the new guidelines.

We know that these are strict circumstances for you to complete your studies, but we must follow all federal and state guidelines and comply with our health department orders and recommendations. We have to do this to protect each other and the most vulnerable members of our campus and community. If you have any further questions, please let me know.


Eric Duchscherer
Interim Dean of Students