April 2, 2020
Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the day that my husband and I started dating. We met in Bowman (I lived in East, he lived in South) during my first year at SUNY Potsdam. Yesterday should have been a huge celebration, but it wasn’t. To be honest, I’m heartbroken. My entire adult life is shaped from the experiences that I had in our residence halls. I look out my office window at Bowman East and no one is there. No one is falling in love. No one is fighting with their roommate. No one is making memories of a lifetime.
I share this with you because this is really hard for me too. I have committed my entire career to supporting the experiences that you all get to have here at Potsdam, especially the ones that happen outside of the classroom and in the residence halls. I sit here now unsure of so much. I don’t know how long this is going to last. I miss my staff, especially our RAs. I miss seeing students on campus. I even miss fighting to find a parking spot.
As you all know, we had our first positive cases of COVID-19 on campus over the weekend. What you may not know is that anyone who had close physical contact with them (within 6 feet) is required to be in quarantine for 14 days. They have to move to a quarantine area and cannot leave their room at all; even food is being delivered to them. This is not SUNY Potsdam’s policy, this is a mandate from Public Health. Those who do not comply will be court ordered.
There is so much that is uncertain right now, but there is one thing that I am confident on: if we want any chance of getting through this, we must adhere to social distancing. You all received the expectations for remaining on campus when you were approved to stay, you signed your acceptance of these, and were reminded of them from our Interim Dean of Students, Eric Duchscherer. I know that many of you are adhering to the expectations of remaining on campus and I am deeply grateful for those who are taking this serious. However, we continue to hear and see students who are not understanding the gravity of the situation, so let me be clear:
- There are no guests allowed. The only person allowed in your room is you. You cannot go to another student’s room. If you want to hang out, do it digitally.
- Only approved individuals are allowed in the building. Do not have people come visit you. Do not hold doors open—if they have access, they can swipe. In addition, you are only allowed in your current building. You do not have any reason to go to another residence hall nor do you have access to those spaces.
- You need to maintain 6 feet of distance between you and others. This is always true, but especially when you are getting food. PACES has tape on the floor. If you come with other people, each of you need to stand on your own piece of tape.
- There are no social gatherings. This is a directive from the Governor. Do not go to parties. Do not hang out with your friends. There are so many great ways to connect digitally, please do not do these things in person.
While these are easy steps in concept, I know that they make life difficult. However, we are not asking anything of you that we are not all following ourselves. We all have a responsibility to adhere to these and students who fail to do so will be held responsible, to include being removed from campus.
I know that this is a very lonely time. Please remember, though, that we are here to support you. You can expect to be contacted by one of the RDs who will be here for you throughout the semester. Counseling Services are still available, although they are being done remotely. You can set up an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, there are a number of events that are starting to transition online, which you can learn about at getinvolved.potsdam.edu.
These are not the days that I want to be living. I am grieving for the Potsdam that we know and love. I cannot wait to have more students back on campus, learning in the classroom, filling the residence halls, making memories that will last a lifetime, and falling in love. Until then, our number one priority is to work to keep ourselves and others healthy.
All my best,
Julie M. Dold
Director, Residence Life