We realize that students and families understandably have many questions regarding the Governor’s announcement about transitioning all SUNY and CUNY classes to distance learning for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. This process for us will begin on Monday, March 23, following a one-week extension of student Spring Break at SUNY Potsdam.
First, we would like to apologize for the confusion that this announcement has caused. This is an unprecedented public health issue, and New York State is working to take swift action where possible to try to limit transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). SUNY Potsdam is still working on answers to all of the questions that we are receiving.
We intend to send numerous updates on specifics in the coming days. In particular, we plan to have more details about academics next week, as our faculty and staff take time over the extended student Spring Break to make plans for a path forward on distance learning.
Please know that our number one goal is to uphold our academic mission, while at the same time protecting the health of our students, faculty, staff and community members. We will do everything possible to ensure that this is a seamless process. In the meantime, here are some initial responses to some of the questions that we are receiving.
Please remember that the campus remains open. While there will be no on-campus classes for students to attend, campus operations will continue. Dining options and student services, including, but not limited to, the Student Success Center, Student Health Services, College Libraries, the Counseling Center, University Police, the Maxcy Hall Athletic Complex, art studios, music practice rooms and the Bear Shuttle, will all be available at this time.
Options after Spring Break
Residential students are welcome to stay on campus at SUNY Potsdam. Now that we have received guidance from SUNY, we can confirm that students are welcome to return at any time during the extended Spring Break and afterward. If you choose not to return, the campus will make every effort to ensure you complete your academic coursework remotely. Note that you may collect your belongings and check out of the residence halls at a time that is convenient for you. Off-campus students can continue to make their own independent housing decisions and arrangements as usual.
No matter what you decide, we are asking all students to fill out this questionnaire to inform us of your intentions, so that the College can get a better sense of students’ needs. We ask that you complete this questionnaire by the end of the day on Monday, March 16.
If you are an on-campus student and are choosing to leave campus, please check out with Residence Life using the check-out process. This process will be posted in the residence halls and will also be available on the website.
Students who have belongings in academic buildings (such as personal musical instruments) may also retrieve those items during normal building hours.
Student medical concerns
SUNY Potsdam has received a number of questions from students who may have medical conditions that put them at a higher risk to respiratory illnesses, including the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. Any student with such health concerns is encouraged to seek medical advice and follow the guidance of their medical provider. We want students to feel comfortable to make the decision that is best for their personal circumstances.
Public health actions
In order to help reduce the spread of germs, SUNY Potsdam is having its facilities cleaned more frequently and is increasing efforts to keep high-touch areas sanitized. For anyone remaining on campus (students, faculty, staff and visitors), we will continue to encourage good hygiene practices and everyday preventive actions such as frequent handwashing and staying home if you are sick. As a reminder, Student Health Services is moving to become a fully call-in center for the foreseeable future. To make an appointment, call (315) 267-2377.
PACES will continue to offer dining services throughout the semester. Lehman Dining Center and Becky’s Place will both be open during the extended student Spring Break. The current dining schedule will be updated once we have a better understanding of how many students will be on campus.
College Express bus
SUNY Potsdam is working with the bus operator that runs the College Express bus, North Fork College Express. The buses that were originally scheduled to return this Sunday will now return to campus on Sunday, March 22. More communication will be forthcoming to those individuals who had already purchased tickets.
The Student Mailroom will remain open for students who are on campus. If a student chooses not to return to campus this semester and will also not be returning in the fall, they should return their mail key to the mailroom. All mail will be forwarded to a student’s permanent address unless otherwise indicated. Please note that UPS, FedEx and DHL deliveries cannot be forwarded, per their company policies.
More to come
In the coming days, we will communicate about Commencement, academic requirements and much, much more! We recognize that this situation is not ideal for anyone, and we appreciate your patience and understanding.
All updates will continue to be posted comprehensively on the College’s coronavirus response page: www.potsdam.edu/covid19.