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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

May 11, 2020: NYS on PAUSE and Employee Update

Dear Colleagues,

As many of you are aware, the NYS on PAUSE executive order expires on Friday, May 15. In its place, New York State has developed regional guidelines for reopening. As of today’s update, the North Country Region has met six out of the seven criteria and the status can be monitored on the NYS Monitoring Dashboard.  Members of our leadership team will meet with St. Lawrence County officials over the coming weeks to identify the local requirements and next steps for our campus.

Restricted campus access
As we closely monitor both state and local guidelines, we will only be allowing essential services employees on campus for right now. All employees should continue to be in direct contact with your supervisor to determine your status as an essential employee.

As a reminder, the College canceled all in-person campus-sponsored and third-party events and activities through August 1, in order to protect the health of our campus and community. In addition, the College has restricted public access to most campus buildings until further notice, out of safety and staffing concerns.

Telecommuting pilot program
The telecommuniting pilot program which was reached between New York State, UUP, CSEA and PEF, and also includes MC-designated employees, was extended through July 17. SUNY Potsdam has chosen to approve telecommuting plans to the greatest extent possible through June 5, at which time we will update the campus further.

Planning for reopening
The safety of our campus community is our highest priority and is intrinsic to our reopening plans. At this time, President’s Council is working with the conveners of the scenario planning work groups to plan for a phased return of employees that will include training, proper personal protective equipment including cloth masks, and a review of physical spaces to ensure proper social distancing. All current telecommuting plans will automatically be extended through June 5, and we will re-evaluate the return of employees to campus based on the status of regional reopening and on-campus preparations.

Next steps
If you do not have a current telecommuting plan in place, you need to fill out an application immediately and submit it to your supervisor. As a reminder, teaching faculty do not need an approved telecommuting plan in place. If you have an approved telecommuting plan in place and have confirmed with your supervisor that it will continue, you do not need to apply again.  Supervisors should contact Melissa Proulx, Director of Human Resources, if a telecommuting plan no longer meets operating needs.

For more information about our pandemic response, visit


Kristin G. Esterberg, Ph.D.