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Potsdam Prepared: Spring 2022 Updates

SUNY Potsdam Alert: Spring 2022 semester academic calendar changes

January 7, 2021

Due to the surge of COVID cases statewide and in the North Country, SUNY Potsdam has made the decision to delay the start of the Spring 2022 semester by two weeks. Classes will now begin on Monday, January 31, and finals week will be moved to May 16 to 20.

Because of the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, we must prepare for the possibility that a significant percentage of our students, faculty and staff may test positive for COVID during this current surge, or will be a close contact to someone who has.

The change allows for more time for the campus community to prepare for a safe start to the semester. As previously noted, we are planning to offer a fully face-to-face academic experience once again this semester. We know that in-person academic instruction is a very low-risk activity—especially given all of the precautions that we already have in place. By taking steps now to protect ourselves and limit the spread wherever possible, we can minimize any disruptions associated with isolation and quarantine as students arrive.

We apologize sincerely for any confusion and inconveniences that these changes will cause. Students who are already currently on campus, or who prefer to arrive earlier due to personal hardships will be welcome to stay. More information will be sent on Monday about how to request an early arrival and/or receive assistance based on your individual circumstances.

Updated academic calendar

Please review the updated Spring 2022 schedule as soon as possible.

  • Spring Break will remain March 5 – March 13
  • You will note that there is no longer an April recess. We will be planning a mental health week for April; details will be forthcoming.
  • Finals week will be May 16 – May 20.
  • Commencement will now be held on Saturday, May 21.
  • These updates will not result in changes to the athletic schedule, or to concerts or performances after January 31.
  • Students who are student teaching or participating in PK-12 classroom field experiences will maintain their current schedule.

Student checklist

Prior to arrival, all students should:

  1. Get your booster shot (if eligible).
  2. Plan for your test before returning.
  3. Let us know if you need help.

More details are provided below.

Booster mandate

New York State has issued new mandates for SUNY and CUNY campuses for the coming semester, including requiring all students who are regularly accessing campus (i.e., not fully remote) to receive the COVID-19 booster vaccination for the Spring 2022 semester.

The booster will not only help protect you from COVID and severe symptoms—individuals who have received their booster shot don’t have to quarantine following an exposure, as long as you are asymptomatic. Under the latest New York State guidelines, people who aren’t fully vaccinated—including those who are eligible for a booster but haven’t received one yet—now have to quarantine for 5 days if they are a close contact of a positive case. For this reason, it’s even more important to get your booster as soon as possible to ensure that you can take part in academics and campus life!

All members of the campus community are strongly encouraged to use this time to get your booster shot if you haven’t already.

  • If you got Pfizer: You are eligible for a booster 5 months after your last shot.
  • If you got Moderna: You are eligible for a booster 6 months after your last shot.
  • If you got Johnson & Johnson: You are eligible 2 months after your vaccination.
  • If you are not yet eligible for your booster, you will have one month from the date that you become eligible to get it.

Click here to learn more about the boosters and schedule an appointment to receive yours. We also plan to offer a booster clinic on the Potsdam campus in partnership with the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department, shortly after students return. More details will be forthcoming.

Return testing

Per SUNY guidance, all students must get tested at the start of the semester.

Because of the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, we would like as many students as possible to get tested within 72 hours of arrival to campus. By getting tested at home, we hope to catch more cases before students travel, and maintain the availability of our on-campus isolation and quarantine spaces.

If you have difficulty finding a test in your local area, we will have testing available upon return, both on the Potsdam campus and in Watertown.

We highly encourage students to use this time to schedule a test in advance, or obtain an antigen test ahead of your return. Schedule your COVID test here.

Students will be asked to either provide proof of a negative test result before returning, or get tested immediately upon arrival. Test results can be provided within these timeframes:

  • PCR test results (from medical facility, testing site or pharmacy): Within 72 hours of arrival to campus
  • Rapid antigen test results (at-home test): No more than 6 hours before arrival

Unvaccinated students with approved exemption waivers and unvaccinated employees will continue to be required to be tested weekly in the Spring 2022 semester. New SUNY Potsdam students planning on filing for a medical or religious exemption need to do so by February 4.

If you have tested positive, or get a positive result before returning to campus, you should notify us right away. Students should upload their test results to Student Health Services via the secure file upload here. Once released from isolation, and if you are eligible, you can schedule your booster, if you have not already done so.

We will send more information in the coming days, and will continue to update our website with the latest details, at http://www.potsdam.edu/prepared.