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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Message to Local Business Community, Friends and Neighbors

July 15, 2020

Dear Friends, Neighbors and Businesses in St. Lawrence County and the North Country,

On behalf of the Clarkson and SUNY Potsdam campus communities, we hope this message finds you and your family safe and well, and enjoying the summer with friends and family while New York State continues to phase in its reopening plans. As we get closer to welcoming students back to our Potsdam campuses next month, we are respectfully asking for your support on a key part of our reopening plans.

All of our faculty, staff and students are required to wear a mask indoors covering both their nose and mouth when around others, and in public spaces outdoors when it is not possible to social distance at six-feet or more.  And we’re asking them to do that everywhere they go -- not just on our campuses. 

Beyond all of the other safety measures we are doing to stop the spread of COVID-19, ranging from testing of all students to new cleaning regimes, wearing a mask is the #1 way we can keep our students, our employees and you -- our friends and neighbors -- safe and well. Wearing masks is a science-based decision. Wearing face coverings to decrease airborne exposure risk is critical. Clarkson faculty explained the science behind this decision in easy to understand terminology in this article that has now been published worldwide.  

Last week New York State also added new provisions to its mask mandate that all businesses must deny service to any individual who attempts to patronize a business without donning a mask, in addition to the mandates that all employees also wear a mask.  We expect our students and employees to respect the enforcement of these regulations by our local business community and we are asking them to not go to places where the NYS mandates are not enforced.  

If you would like to share concerns about students interacting in the community, please contact: or If you would like to file a complaint about a business, location or incident in our community not following NYS mandates you can do so anonymously at this NYS run site

If science and regulations are not enough to persuade some patrons to wear a mask, the economic argument might. The four college campuses in the St. Lawrence Valley represent approximately $1 billion in combined economic impact in spending and jobs for the local community when students are here learning in person.  We will continue to work with the St. Lawrence County and Potsdam Chambers of Commerce on ways to engage our campus communities with local businesses.

As we bring students back to learn, live and study, we need to provide a safe environment that is sustainable for the duration of the academic year.  We can only do that when we all work together -- especially as we reopen and all begin new routines that keep everyone safe.  

Thank you.

Kelly Chezum, Vice President for External Relations,
Nicole Conant, Chief of Staff,