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SUNY Potsdam is transitioning to distance learning for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester. In order to promote social distancing to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, SUNY Potsdam has canceled or postponed most events and activities, reduced access to facilities and is taking steps to encourage both social distancing and important health and hygiene measures. Read the Chancellor's Letter (PDF)

Important health reminders

To our on-campus students: If you become sick with a fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, and have recently traveled to or from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19 or had a potential exposure, you should immediately self-isolate and call Student Health Services at (315) 267-2377. They are open from Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please note that Student Health Services has moved to become a fully call-in center offering telehealth appointments for the foreseeable future. As a reminder, after-hours and weekend care is available at the Urgent Care Center or the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Emergency Department.

To maintain the health and safety of our campus community, we are asking that any student who has traveled internationally, been potentially exposed or has symptoms complete a 14-day precautionary self-isolation, as required by the CDC. We ask that you do this 14-day quarantine at home before returning to campus.

On-Campus Experience

  • The State University of New York is now discouraging students from returning to campuses after Spring Break, until further notice.
  • At this point, the only students who will be allowed to remain in the residence halls will be students who: (1) do not have a safe or appropriate alternative location, (2) are international students who are unable to return home, and/or (3) have limited or no access to technology at home.
  • Due to the new social spacing directives and the staffing limitations we are faced with, SUNY Potsdam is restricting public access to most campus buildings until further notice, out of safety and staffing concerns.
  • The remaining on-campus students will be able to access the occupied residence halls, the open dining location, the Barrington Student Union and limited computer labs.

Events and Activities

  • Following the Governor’s order limiting mass gatherings, and following consultation with public health officials, SUNY Potsdam is canceling or postponing College-sponsored or third-party events or activities for 50 people or more. A full list can be seen here, but here is a brief overview:
    • All Potsdam Bears athletics games or practices are canceled, following decisions from the NCAA and SUNYAC.
    • A decision on the 2020 Commencement ceremony is forthcoming. The College hopes to find a way to celebrate the Class of 2020. We will livestream honors convocations and award ceremonies.
    • Campus Life is reviewing all events and activities and SGA is consulting with student club leaders. Springfest will be rescheduled for the fall.
    • Most in-person concerts, performances, exhibitions, guest lectures and arts events will be canceled.
  • In keeping with a directive from the Governor, the Maxcy Hall Athletic Complex will be closed to both campus and community users for the foreseeable future. The Merritt Hall pool has already been closed to the public.

Checking Out

  • All students must complete their virtual checkout by Sunday, April 5 at 11:59 p.m., in order to be eligible for a credit/refund.
  • All residential students are expected to complete the virtual checkout, regardless of whether you have already turned in your key and/or kept belongings in your room.
  • Please note that due to the New York State on PAUSE Executive Order, the College is not currently allowing students to come collect their belongings. Once travel is again permitted by state and local authorities, Residence Life will resume making individual appointments to facilitate removing personal belongings from on-campus residence halls. 

PACES / Dining Services / College Store & Textbooks

PACES Dining Services:
ALL items must be pre-ordered from Becky’s Place by calling (315) 267-2652. Customers will be given a specific time for order pick up (or if quarantined for delivery.)Visit social media for specials: are available  online.

For students on campus:
Breakfast, lunch and dinner orders will start at 7:50 a.m. and will end promptly at 5:30 p.m. (NO EXCEPTIONS.)  We ask that all patrons follow proper social distancing for everyone’s safety.

For students that are quarantined:
We will deliver food two times a day: noon and 5:30 p.m. Orders can be placed anytime after 8am but must be received by 11:30 a.m. or 5 p.m. for delivery.  Please allow time for staff to deliver to all quarantined students, delivery time is approximate.  Please stay in your room while our staff delivers:  they will announce themselves upon arrival and let you know when they are leaving.  Allow time for them to exit the area before retrieving your order.

Meal Plan Refunds:
We are awaiting clarification and directives from our Campus Administration and SUNY Central regarding Spring 2020 Meal Plan refunds. We will keep you posted as decisions are made.

PACES’ Administrative Offices in Merritt Hall are closed to walk in traffic due to restricted building access.  Staff are working both in offices and remotely. Please contact us by phone or email for assistance with any of the following:

College Store Operations
The store is closed to physical shoppers until further notice.

Orders can be placed Monday - Friday prior to 2:30 p.m. for pick up outside the store (entrance near Dexter’s Café). All orders must be retrieved by 3:30 p.m. A list of items is available online at Call (315) 267-2573 or 3052, or email to place your order.

For students that are quarantined:
If you have ordered food, Dining Services will deliver your order from the store. Orders will be delivered Monday-Friday at noon only: orders must be placed by 11:30 a.m. for same day delivery. You must pre-pay with Bear Express or credit/debit card. Call (315) 267-2573 or 3052, or email to place your order.

eBooks Available
To ensure that all students have access to their course materials amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, The College Store is making SUNY Potsdam students aware of RedShelf, which can provide free access to eBooks. RedShelf has partnered with the publishing community to provide up to 7 free eBooks from participating publishers through May 25. PACES, The College Store and SUNY Potsdam have no affiliation with RedShelf.

Textbook BuyBack and Rental Returns
We are encouraging students to keep their books for online classes. Currently, Rental Books are NOT due back until May 29. The College Store is researching and developing a plan for students who can’t return their rentals or who want to sell back their books. We will communicate that plan as soon as it is finalized

Free Shipping
The store is offering free shipping for online purchases of $50 or more (before tax). Coupon code is freeship20 and expires May 31, 2020. Exemptions include orders made on third party sites and textbooks. 

A.W. Collins has reduced time dated goods from vending machines on campus. They continue to refill and stock machines with longer shelf life.

Public Health Measures

  • 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.
  • The College has canceled and rescheduled most large gatherings, and curtailed access to some facilities, in order to encourage social distancing.

Student Health Services

Student Health Services will be switching to a Tele-health platform using '' to manage health care appointments for our SUNY Potsdam students whether they are in the immediate community or at home.  

Students will simply call (315) 267-2377 to obtain an appointment time and date. One of our Nurse Practitioners will send a link to that student's Potsdam email address. The student will enter the virtual waiting room online and soon afterward the appointment will begin. For those of you that would prefer a phone call, we will accommodate that as well. is HIPAA compliant and all of your information will be documented by our staff in our secure record system (Medicat). Please make sure when you are interacting with the healthcare provider that you are in a quiet, private place to enhance the secure environment on your end.

Please be aware that SHS staff continues to work to take care of your healthcare needs despite the campus moving to online format for the remainder of the Spring Semester due to the current pandemic.  Please heed the warnings of social distancing, proper cough etiquette, appropriate hand washing, and remember to refrain from touching your face. Let's all work together to maintain our health and the health of others.

Counseling Center / Coping with the Pandemic

  • The Counseling Center will reach out to students with appointments with the option of choosing from tele-counseling or in-person appointments.
  • It is normal to experience a range of emotional reactions to this evolving public health situation. This may include worries about loved ones, direct or indirect experiences of stigma or racial discrimination, practical considerations related to educational barriers and other personal concerns. The Counseling Center has compiled an extensive list of resources for everyone.


  • The Student Mailroom can be accessed via the Sisson Hall entrance at the Barrington Student Union building connection. The Mailroom will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (closed between 12 and 12:30 p.m.).
  • 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.

Bear Shuttle

  • Due to the ongoing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus and the guidelines limiting non-essential travel, Bear Shuttle service has been temporarily suspended, until further notice.
  • St. Lawrence County Public Transit will offer SUNY Potsdam students alternate transportation during business hours from Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Transportation is limited to trips in the following categories: Medical appointments, employment, pharmacy or food sources. To request a ride, fill out this form. Note: Riders can only go 1 person per vehicle due to social distancing – friends cannot share rides.
  • Canton-Potsdam Hospital has discontinued some services and some locations are now closed. See Closures
  • Prior to your ride, you are expected to wash your hands, per CDC guidelines. Drivers also following a handwashing protocol and the vehicles are disinfected regularly.
  • If you are unable to leave campus but would like to arrange for pick-up/delivery of your prepurchased food or pharmacy items, call (315) 386-2600. Items must be paid for in advance.

Programs Abroad

  • The State University of New York and City University of New York have suspended all remaining campus-administered study abroad programs for the Spring 2020 semester. The precautionary measure is designed to protect SUNY and CUNY students currently studying in countries not yet designated as at-risk locations for novel coronavirus spread by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • SUNY Potsdam is in contact with all of our students who were studying abroad, whether in one of our campus-sponsored programs, or a program administered by a different campus. We are assisting with their travel plans, and will ensure that any student in our administered study abroad programs is able to complete their academic requirements remotely.
  • SUNY Potsdam has also canceled all College-sponsored international travel courses and short-term programs, effective through Aug. 1.

International Travel

  • The U.S. Department of State has issued a level 3 global health advisory, advising all U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad, due to the global impact of COVID-19.
  • The President has now barred entry into the U.S. for foreign nationals traveling from China, Iran, most countries in the European Union, the United Kingdom and Ireland. U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents may return from these nations through specific airports and with health protocols in place.
  • Additionally, all cruise ship travel is now discouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • As of March 18, the U.S. and Canada have agreed to temporarily close their border to all non-essential traffic. Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be allowed return entry.

Student Employment

  • Now that we are transitioning to distance learning for the rest of the semester, and campus access has been restricted, a number of student assistant positions in campus offices and departments may be affected. Please talk to your supervisor to see if alternate assignments are available.
  • Student employees can utilize the new Telecommuting Policy to complete assignments where applicable. They should fill out the application and receive permission from their supervisors. This policy can be used for both Federal Work Study and student assistant positions.
  • Please note that only student employees in University Police may be deemed essential for the purposes of the COVID-19 response.
  • The U.S. Department of Education has provided guidance on Federal Work Study (FWS). Federal Work Study students who are unable to work because the College is moving to distance education can be paid for the work study hours they were scheduled to work for the remainder of the semester. In order to qualify for this, students must submit a timesheet reflecting the hours you would have worked, and would have been on campus to work, to your supervisor. You must continue to be enrolled academically in order to be compensated. 
  • Please contact the Office of Human Resources if you need assistance in having a paycheck mailed to you, at (315) 267-2096 or