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Restart Plan: Get the details.

Are admissions events including open houses cancelled?

All in-person Admissions events are canceled until October 2020 at the earliest. Virtual Open Houses, virtual information sessions and virtual chat sessions are in place to help with enrollment management.

Are field trips allowed on campus?

For the foreseeable future, field trips will not be allowed as we continue to restrict access to campus and as school districts await guidance on the fall.

Are campus offices and facilities open?

SUNY Potsdam has restricted access to many campus facilities, including academic buildings, in response to the pandemic. Now that our Restart Plan has been approved, the College will soon begin to phase back the return of employees to campus. We have plans in place to safely reopen facilities needed to support on-campus students and instruction. Many offices will continue to offer support services virtually to encourage social distancing, and campus access will continue to be restricted in the fall. This plan is contingent on approval of the Governor and SUNY System Administration, so if it should change for any reason, offices and departments may need to adjust plans accordingly. Any adjustments should be approved by each department’s President’s Council representative.

Can departments choose to change their hours or close their office?

Yes, following consultation with their President’s Council representative. Given the new guidelines directing non-essential personnel not to report to work for the next two weeks, and the agreements with the major unions on a telecommuting policy, SUNY Potsdam is restricting access to many campus facilities, including academic buildings. Faculty may conduct office hours virtually. Essential service offices may adjust their hours depending on staffing and social distancing requirements.

What are some of the strategies in place for cleaning?

We have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipe stations available throughout campus for individual use. SUNY Potsdam will continue to deep clean facilities that are in use more frequently and keep high-touch areas sanitized and disinfected.

What is our social distancing policy?

All students and employees returning to campus will be expected to adhere to social distancing recommendations, including maintaining a distance of six feet from others and wearing face masks in all common areas (unless alone in their individual office or dorm room). We will continue to have restrictions on campus group gatherings and classes, especially those planned for indoors. There will be requirements for spacing, fixed seating, ventilation, cleaning protocols before and after, and for attendance notes to be taken.

Are there any specific policies or procedures for faculty or staff related to the coronavirus?

Yes. For more information on the directive regarding non-essential employees staying at home, see here. More information about the new telecommuting pilot program and application are also available.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to stay home if they are sick and must follow time and attendance policies and procedures, even with the new guidelines in place. All non-essential travel is currently restricted.

Even if you are designated as essential personnel do not report to work if you are experiencing symptoms of illness associated with the COVID-19 virus (such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or respiratory infection/distress). If you are experiencing symptoms, you should call your healthcare provider and self-quarantine as a precaution, until you receive medical advice.

If any employee wishes to discuss an underlying health condition as it relates to the coronavirus, please contact Melissa Proulx or Jennifer Murray, Human Resources.

What does it mean to be quarantined or isolated?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever or new or worsening respiratory symptoms including cough or shortness of breath. Anyone who feels they may meet the below criteria for quarantine should immediately contact their local health department in the county in which they reside and the Human Resources department. If the employee also has symptoms associated with COVID-19, they should also call their healthcare provider for further guidance.

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

What are the procedures if an employee exhibits symptoms of or tests positive for COVID-19?

Faculty and staff must follow the New York State guidance. As outlined in the guidance, it is critical that you contact your supervisor and Human Resources immediately.

Can I work from home during the pandemic?

Governor Andrew Cuomo on March 16 directed all New York State employees that are designated as non-essential to not report to work for the next two weeks, starting on March 17. At this time, non-essential employees shall work from home to the extent practicable. Where non-essential employees can perform critical work outside of their normal state workplace, this is permitted. Employees will not be charging their accruals to fulfill this directive. Any employee who plans to work remotely, whether essential or non-essential, should work with their supervisors to complete the statewide telecommuting application. The telecommuting policy can be found here. The telecommuting pilot has been extended through October 2, 2020. SUNY Potsdam has chosen to approve telecommuting plans through July 30, to the greatest extent possible. After that time, SUNY Potsdam is planning on beginning to bring employees back to campus in phases. You must have approval from your supervisor to extend a telecommuting arrangement, along with an approved application on file with Human Resources.

What if I need to take a leave?

Employees should follow normal time and attendance procedures and contact Human Resources to discuss leave options.

I have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?

You should immediately contact your healthcare provider for guidance. You should then contact Melissa Proulx at (315) 267-2086 or Jennifer Murray at (315) 267-2492 in Human Resources as soon as possible. Please note that Human Resources is following the directive to telecommute as much as possible. Please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

Who should I notify if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?

You should then contact Melissa Proulx at (315) 267-2086 or Jennifer Murray at (315) 267-2492 in Human Resources as soon as possible. Please be advised that the College reserves the right to request medical documentation. If you test positive for COVID-19 and you are required to be quarantined by the Department of Health you will be provided with 14 calendar days of leave without charge to accruals. 


What if school or daycare is closed, and I need to stay home with my children?

Accruals other than sick leave are available for employees to use when they determine it is in their best interest to not work during this time. Employees should follow normal time and attendance procedures to request time off. Employees who are eligible to utilize the statewide telecommuting policy should work with their immediate supervisor. Children should not be reporting to campus with employees.

I want to stay home because I have a personal health condition or an immediate family member with a health condition. What are my options?

Individuals that want to discuss a personal health condition for themselves or immediate family member should contact Melissa Proulx at (315) 267-2086 or Jennifer Murray at (315) 267-2492.

Can a supervisor send home an employee who appears to be ill?

Any employee that is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately report those symptoms to their supervisor and Human Resources. The employee will be directed to leave work, or stay home if they have not already reported to work, and self-quarantine as a precaution. 

Do I still need to submit timesheets?

Yes. All employees, whether essential or non-essential, even if working remotely, must continue to submit timesheets.

Do I have to disclose my underlying health condition to my supervisor?

No. Supervisors are encouraged to speak with employees to discuss any concerns that the employee may have about the safety of the workplace and actions the College is taking to help ensure a safe workplace. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety can also be contacted to discuss any workplace safety concerns. Supervisors should not ask employees specific questions about their health history or current health condition, nor should they seek out employees with whom they suspect may have a current health condition. Employees with health-related concerns should contact their personal healthcare provider for their advice and direction in regard to reporting to work. The employee should then contact Melissa Proulx at (315) 267-2086 or Jennifer Murray at (315) 267-2492 for further discussion related to their situation and needs.

Does Matilda’s Law apply to SUNY Potsdam?

No. However, if you are older than 70, have an underlying condition or are immunocompromised, Human Resources will work with employees to find a safe work option.

What happens if I am at maximum vacation balances and I am unable to use them by the April 1 deadline?

The Governor’s Office on Employee Relations has extended the deadline for employees in the classified service to December 31, 2020. Any questions can be directed to Jessica Haggett.


Can I stop the deduction from my paycheck for dependent care since I am no longer in need of child care?

Employees can stop their deductions or change their election amounts if they experience an eligible change in status. Changes can include a change in care provider or change in work schedule (for the employee or their spouse). There are several reason listed on the website, that can help employees make changes to their DCAA(dependent care). Employees can call 800-358-7202 or e-mail if they have any questions.  

I need mental health support in coping with this crisis. Where can I go for help?

The College Counseling Center has put together a list of resources to help both employees and students. If you need support for your mental health, email Gena Nelson at The College Counseling Center is offering one-time video meetings for support and advice for faculty and staff, and can also offer a list of private practitioners for ongoing counseling. The Governor’s Office has also established a free hotline staffed by volunteer mental health professionals, available anytime by calling 1 (844) 863-9314.