March 27, 2020
As we approach the end of our first week of remote instruction, I want to thank each and every one of you. Because of your extraordinary efforts, students are continuing to learn from their remote locations. We continue to provide support for our students, wherever they may be, and our campus is safe. I am deeply grateful for your creativity, your ingenuity, and your compassion in the face of this terrible pandemic.
It is just this compassion for our students, our colleagues and our community that makes SUNY Potsdam a special place. I couldn’t be prouder of the Potsdam family and our efforts to care for each other and our students in this difficult and ever changing environment.
Many of you are working from home and finding ways to keep up, even as you are juggling childcare or caring for loved ones. At the same time, we are all adjusting to the new social distancing guidelines. We miss our students. We miss being able to gather together for music, for events, and for all of the activities that provide the vital connections for our small campus community. We are also fearful for our health and that of our loved ones, and concerned for the livelihoods of those in need.
This a moment that will test us all. During the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, when the deadly second wave came to the North Country, Potsdam Normal School was closed for five weeks amid a ban on public gatherings, and the students stayed at home. When the crest of the illness had passed, we mourned as a community. Then we returned to our studies and our celebrations with ever more appreciation of just how precious our time together is.
We may not have imagined that we would be tested again in such a way, but here we are. We will get through this together. Through the steps we take each day, we can protect each other and uphold our mission.
My thoughts are with you all. I can’t thank you enough for all you are doing.
Kristin G. Esterberg, Ph.D.