Most recent guidance for campus response to coronavirus

SUNY New Paltz is publishing important messages and news updates related to the College’s response to COVID-19 on the campus news website. Use this link to view all these posts in one place.

The update below was shared with faculty and staff on Tuesday, March 17.

Campus community members can view updates at the Coronavirus Information and Coronavirus FAQs webpages, which are being updated regularly as this situation evolves.

Dear Employees:

Given recent CDC guidance and state directives regarding our state and nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are receiving new guidance daily.

We are grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding as we navigate a very fluid situation with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic that is impacting our personal and professional lives and those of the students we serve. We have received new up-to-the-minute guidance from SUNY today regarding this evolving situation and we share it below to help inform your planning for telecommuting and business continuity and your interactions with students. This is a shift from previous messaging we have provided to students and reflects the state’s efforts to manage the crisis with increased social distancing.

Today, SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson provided updated guidance on the academic planning preparations she has asked campuses to include in their COVID-19 response plans, and to ensure strong coupling of these academic preparations with communications to our students considering plans after spring break. The Chancellor’s guidance is in blue below:

This guidance addresses all SUNY colleges and universities, which are being directed by the state to require non-essential employees to work from home to ensure social distancing and accommodate the impacts of school and child care closures:

  • Students are strongly encouraged not to return to campus after spring break, until further notice. Students who may return to campus residence halls after March 29 are those who have special circumstances, including international students, students without other safe living and dining arrangements, or those with limited or no access to technology. Students should be in communication with Residential Life staff regarding these needs.
  • Furthermore, academic continuity arrangements on campuses or colleges should not require students’ physical presence to meet program requirements, until further notice.

We are in good standing with that second bullet because New Paltz had already decided to limit in-person instruction to clinicals and fieldwork that require licensure or certification, most of which occur off campus.  We know faculty will take the rest of this planning week and the next to ensure all instruction is provided by remote delivery as previously directed.

We will be closing some computer labs but will keep enough open to provide access to all software needed for remote instruction. Stay tuned for a message from ITS on this.

The library will be providing services in accordance with CDC safety guidelines and state directives.  Please check the library website for updates.

Employees who have confirmed off-site work plans should collect lap-tops, documents and other materials they will need to complete work remotely and begin off-site work as soon as possible. These employees should also feel free to come to the office intermittently (and as long as they remain healthy) to retrieve additional materials, water plants, etc.

Supervisors can work with employees to arrange staggered or rotating scheduling for those whose work may involve partial office time.  Not all our processes are digital or within a digital work flow and that means  many offices will depend on campus mail and U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, UPS and DHL for critical daily operations.

Offices can reduce points of in-person interaction to foster social distancing and protect front-line office staff by having those staff guide how work is received in their offices, for example, by using lock boxes, envelopes available outside of offices, encouraging scanning of documents, etc. Here is a sample of how an office is doing just that.

Stay tuned for additional messages about how we can fulfill our mission of supporting students and providing the best quality education under these trying and uncertain circumstances.

Donald P. Christian, President

Tanhena Pacheco Dunn, Associate VP for Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion