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Potsdam Prepared: COVID-19 Updates

SUNY Potsdam Welcomes Students Back for Spring 2021 Semester

January 29, 2021

Returning Students to SUNY Potsdam Begin Weekly Testing & Self-Quarantines to Start Semester Safely

Students check in after completing their COVID tests in the Barrington Student Union at SUNY Potsdam.

SUNY Potsdam is welcoming students back to campus for the Spring 2021 semester. The College has strong plans in place to ensure a safe start to the semester. 

All returning students are being tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and then self-quarantining until they receive their results. Classes start on Monday, Feb. 1, and will remain virtual for the first two weeks, so that the College can complete two rounds of surveillance testing before allowing in-person classes to resume. 

“We are delighted to see our students returning to campus for the Spring 2021 semester. I have been so proud of the responsibility and respect that our students have shown throughout the past year. As we enter a new phase of the pandemic, we are counting on them to remain vigilant to protect our campus and community,” said President Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg. “I am grateful to our dedicated faculty and staff for all they continue to do to uphold our academic mission, and to our neighbors and community partners for helping us in our planning and response to these immense challenges.” 

SUNY Potsdam requires all residential students, students with any reason to come to campus, and those living within 15 miles of Potsdam to complete regularly mandatory surveillance testing, using the Upstate Medical Center pooled saliva testing. Students in the College’s Watertown-based programs at Jefferson Community College and those who are completing applied learning experiences like student teaching are also tested regularly. As the semester kicks off, this mandatory testing will now be offered weekly, under a new directive from SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras, and all on-campus employees who have been required to be tested will now do so weekly as well, including dining services staff. 

To support students while they self-quarantine and study virtually in the first two weeks of the semester, SUNY Potsdam is offering a fully online Winterfest. A full slate of virtual events is planned, from trivia nights to appearances by guest comedians. Alumni volunteers are also getting in on the fun by hosting a series of virtual Winterfest events sharing their knowledge and passions, while engaging with current students. 

Faculty and staff have adapted to offer flexible instruction and support services again this semester—with 61 percent of classes being offered virtually, and many offices continuing to meet and connect with students digitally. Social distancing and disinfection measures remain in place across campus, and masks continue to be required for students and employees in all public spaces. Students and employees reporting to campus must complete daily health screenings and isolate if they show signs of illness. 

As a hopeful sign in the fight against the pandemic, SUNY Potsdam is continuing to host a New York State vaccination clinic in the Maxcy Hall Fieldhouse throughout the semester. The clinic currently vaccinates 500 individuals each day. Members of the campus community who meet the eligibility criteria may book immunization appointments just as the general public does, by registering online or by calling 1 (833) NYS-4VAX. For more information about the state-run site, visit 

To find out more about SUNY Potsdam’s reopening plans and safety measures for the Spring 2021 semester, visit 

About SUNY Potsdam:  

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit 

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