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March 5: More updates: Novel Coronavirus / COVID-19

March 5, 2020

To the campus community:

SUNY Potsdam would like to share several updates related to the international spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The College is preparing for a number of contingencies, led by the task force of faculty and staff members assembled by President Esterberg earlier this week.
 

International travel

We encourage all students, faculty and staff to be cautious when considering international travel plans. If you are traveling internationally, be sure to check the most current travel advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and theU.S. Department of State. You should consider that restrictions could expand, as new cases of COVID-19 are identified in new areas. Travelers who return from countries with a Level 3 travel advisory or higher due to COVID-19 outbreaks may be subject to a quarantine order from the New York State or County Department of Health requiring a period of isolation from all other individuals.

Following the CDC guidelines, the State of New York has prohibited all State work-related employee travel to China, Italy, Japan, Iran and South Korea, until further notice.

 

Spring Break

As a reminder, all on-campus students are welcome to stay in the residence halls over Spring Break. The dining hall schedule for PACES Dining Services is available here. As a reminder, meal plans are prorated during break periods. The Campus Food Pantry will be open during regular office hours as always in Dunn Hall.

 

Academic & work arrangements

We must be proactive in preparing for the possibility of academic interruptions, due to illness and any possible outbreak. SUNY Potsdam asks for faculty members’ patience and understanding when making accommodations for students. Provost Bergeron has provided recommendations and resources in her latest newsletter, to assist in preparing for alternative course delivery in the event of an outbreak.

Student Health Services always advises any student with a fever not to attend class, take part in activities or report to work. Students are encouraged as always to communicate with their professors about making up work or completing assignments remotely, when they are absent. Any student who is concerned about financial hardships because they cannot report to work due to fever may qualify for assistance from the College’s Emergency Care Fund. To inquire, contact the Student Success Center at ssc@potsdam.edu.

Faculty and staff likewise should not report to work if they are sick and possibly contagious. Employees must follow proper policy and procedures when taking time off.  Employees with questions about taking sick leave should contact Human Resources at (315) 267-4816.

 

Programs abroad

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced yesterday that the State University of New York and City University of New York will suspend all study abroad programs in China, Italy, Japan, Iran and South Korea. SUNY and CUNY are making arrangements to bring back all non-essential students, faculty and staff currently studying or working in those countries and begin a 14-day quarantine. SUNY Potsdam has two students who are currently participating in a study abroad program sponsored by another SUNY campus who will now return to the U.S., based on this directive.

SUNY Potsdam is monitoring travel advisories in all countries where our students are studying abroad, and making contingency plans for the programs we sponsor, should conditions in those locations change.

As was announced on Monday, SUNY Potsdam has canceled all upcoming College-sponsored international travel courses and short-term programs. Please note this is effective for all programs through Aug. 1.

 

Respect and empathy

In keeping with the Potsdam Pledge, we ask that you be respectful, empathetic and understanding to each other—at all times, but especially when there is such uncertainty and when there are health concerns in particular. Please be mindful. As an institution of higher learning, we can take a leadership role in fighting stigmas and sharing facts. We can help protect ourselves and each other by respecting one another, taking common health measures and practicing good hygiene.

 

More information

As a reminder, we have created a page on the website where we will compile all important information regarding the virus and our campus response, which can be found at https://www.potsdam.edu/covid19.