SUNY New Paltz Sends Letter to Students About Switch to Online Classes
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:
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
Classes this week
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
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
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
Residence hall policy changes
If you are traveling during spring break
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.
Donald P. Christian, President
Barbara Lyman, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs