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Potsdam Prepared: COVID-19 Updates

Student Guide

Together, we can ensure that the Spring 2021 semester is safe and successful. 

BEAR = Be Ethical And Responsible
All returning students will be expected to comply with our SUNY Potsdam BEAR (Be Ethical And Responsible) COVID-19 Pledge. We have strong expectations in order to keep our campus and community safe. If you are concerned about your ability to comply with any of these, you are welcomed and encouraged to complete your studies virtually. 


Pledge Highlights:

  • Comply with all testing and quarantine requirements.
  • All students will be required to do a 7-day precautionary quarantine and then be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival to campus.This will be required of both on-campus residential students and off-campus students living locally.
  • Wear a face covering at all times in public spaces, unless you are alone or in your personal residence hall room.
  • Stay in your own space. People who you do not live with should never enter your room or apartment: not to hang out, not to study, not to party. 
  • Complete daily screenings for COVID-19 symptoms and seek medical attention if you have any. 
  • If you are sick or come in contact with someone who has COVID-19, complete the required quarantine/isolation period as directed by Public Health.

Return to Campus

Students will be phased back to campus during the week of January 25. All students will be required to do a 7-day precautionary quarantine and then be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival to campus. For more details, see the Move-In Guide.


Classes will begin on February 1, starting virtually for the first two weeks of the semester. Students can find the format for every class in BearPAWS when completing registration for the semester.


  • SUNY Potsdam will continue to use the pooled saliva tests offered through Upstate Medical University for our regular surveillance testing in Spring 2021, both for students and employees.
  • For our mandatory surveillance testing, all of the following will continue to be tested on a regular basis: 1) residential students, 2) local students living in a 15-mile radius, 3) any student with a reason to be on campus.
  • To register before testing, visit
  • After initial testing, half of the student body will be tested each week at the minimum, meaning each individual student will be tested every other week at least. We may increase the frequency of testing as needed. 
  • Students at our Watertown extension programs have a separate testing process through Jefferson Community College. 
  • As always, any student with symptoms may receive a test through Student Health Services or their local healthcare provider.

Mental health

We realize that getting some space to breathe and rest is so important for students’ health and well-being. While we are not allowed to have a spring break under SUNY guidelines, we have built midweek break days throughout the semester schedule to allow students to rest, while still reducing the temptation to leave the area or join unsafe gatherings. We also have many resources in place to help you, through both the Counseling Center and our student activities and programs.

Protect yourself and each other.

If you have any concerns about possible violations of the BEAR COVID-19 Pledge, you may email (and/or, if you are unsure which campus a student is affiliated with).