On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, it was announced that all SUNY and CUNY schools would be switching to online remote learning classes because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, that all SUNY and CUNY schools will begin teaching classes remotely on Thursday, March 19. Cuomo said the decision was made as part of a move to reduce density as New York grapples with at least 213 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 121 in Westchester, 48 in New York City, 28 in Nassau, six in Rockland, six in Suffolk, two in Saratoga, and two in Ulster County.

In response to the announcement from Governor Cuomo, SUNY New Paltz sent an email to students and faculty addressing the situation. In the email, they said that spring break has been extended by a week. But within that week, the College will remain open. In-person and online classes will continue to be held through the end of this week, until Friday, March 13, 2020, as scheduled. Instruction will resume on March 30, 2020.

Below is the email in its entirety:

Dear Members of the Campus Community:

We write with an update regarding Governor Cuomo's announcement today that SUNY and CUNY will provide distance learning in an effort to reduce campus density and limit potential exposure to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) while ensuring the continuation of the academic semester.

It is important that you read this message fully, as there are several new items that we want all students, faculty and staff to be aware of prior to spring break.

Today’s announcement from Governor Cuomo
This afternoon, Governor Cuomo announced that SUNY and CUNY will implement changes to maximize distance learning and reduce in-person learning and campus density for the remainder of the spring semester in light of the evolving novel coronavirus situation in New York. While spring break has been extended a week, the College remains open. We are consulting with SUNY System administration and our local health department to plan our course offerings after spring break. We will provide further information as our planning continues.

Classes this week
In-person and online classes will continue to be held through the end of this week as scheduled.

We are extending spring break for an additional week and instruction will resume on March 30.

This will allow us more time for continued planning and preparations as we work to ensure continuity of our classes and operations. Information Technology Services (ITS) is working closely with deans and faculty and will continue to do so to ensure they are ready for this alternate learning model. We will communicate with the campus community once these plans are finalized.

Before leaving for spring break: how students can prepare this week
For students who live on campus, please be sure to take home whatever you need from your residence hall (books, notes, laptop, etc.) as you may need to continue your academic requirements through distance learning if necessary. We are aware that some students may not have access to high-speed internet and technology at home, and are including these considerations in our plans. Campuses and residence halls will remain open to accommodate special circumstances, students in need of housing and hands-on laboratory course work.

Please know that we are aware that international and some other residential students may not be able to go home for spring break, including due to concerns about exposure to the virus in their home communities. Please contact the Department of Residence Life as soon as possible to discuss your specific needs. This student population will be able to remain on campus with food and other services provided.

Faculty and staff updates
While spring break has been extended a week, all College offices remain open and all services remain available. Deans will be in touch with you to communicate additional division-specific information and to discuss how you may continue operating over the next several weeks. Please review this helpful message from Instructional Technology Services for information about preparing to support distance learning.

We also want to help employees understand what to do regarding reporting to work. If you are sick, please stay home and notify your supervisor of your absence as per the protocols established within your department. Remaining home allows you to get well and reduces the possibility of spreading any illness to others in the campus community. The Office of Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion (HRDI) asks supervisors to complete this form which will notify Benefits if an employee has been absent more than three days. Timely notification to HRDI ensures support for supervisors as well as employees’ access to important benefits information. Employees should use their sick accruals for absences related to their own illness or charge family sick leave if you are absent to take care of a family member.

If you have underlying health conditions or compromised immunity, please consult with your health care provider about whether there are special measures you should be taking to ensure your well-being. If those recommendations impact your ability to meet your obligation or work schedule, please complete the ADA accommodation form. Benefits staff will contact employees who submit the form and they will work with you, supervisors and department leadership to help identify appropriate processes and support measures.

The College has also asked vice presidents to work with leadership in their areas to assess critical business functions, staffing levels and resources needed for continuity of service or business in the event that we experience low staffing levels or, if by order of the governor, we close campus. This means that vice presidents and department leadership should plan for and document work that can be accomplished off-site with the understanding that not all jobs on campus lend themselves to accommodating off-site work arrangements. HRDI is offering assistance for this planning.

Campus events as of March 19
Effective March 19 through April 19, all campus events are cancelled with the exception of SUNY New Paltz athletic competitions. Athletic competitions will proceed with competitors only. No spectators will be admitted and all contests will be livestreamed.

Residence hall policy changes
Effective March 23, the Department of Residence Life is implementing new guest policies for all residence halls. Until further notice, only students who reside on campus and essential College employees can enter residence hall buildings. Resident students cannot invite outside guests to visit them and off-campus students and non-students are not permitted in residence halls at any time.

If you are traveling during spring break
We continue to ask all campus community members to consider carefully any plans to travel during spring break, because such movement increases the risk for encountering those who may have come in contact with the coronavirus.
Thank you to those who have completed the voluntary travel registry. If you have yet to complete the form, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible here.

As a reminder, the College has cancelled all campus-sponsored and official campus international travel for faculty, staff and students to CDC Level 2 or higher level countries or areas (as of today, Italy, South Korea, Iran, Japan and China).  We will be working closely with affected individuals to mitigate financial impacts. Anyone, employee or student, anticipating travel to CDC Level 2 or 3 countries (see above list) over spring break or during the spring 2020 semester, is strongly discouraged from doing so. As new countries or areas of the United States are added to CDC level 2 and 3 classifications, the same College-mandated travel restrictions will apply. Anyone who does travel to such areas will be required to notify their local health department, self-quarantine for 14 days and will not be permitted to come to campus for two weeks upon their return. The CDC is also discouraging all cruise ship travel.

We know this continues to be an uncertain and challenging situation for all of us, and that disruptions and inconveniences will likely result because of this virus. The safety and security of all members of our campus community remains our highest priority.

We are committed to continuing instruction so that students may complete their academic requirements this semester. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we monitor this rapidly changing situation and adjust our plans and actions accordingly.

Please stay tuned for further updates.

Sincerely,

Donald P. Christian, President

Barbara Lyman, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

 

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