The following message was shared with campus via email on Wednesday, Oct. 21
Dear SUNY New Paltz Students,
Congratulations and thank you for all that you have done, individually and collectively, to keep each other safe and healthy and to significantly limit the spread of COVID-19 on our campus.
We know that at this time of the semester – after weeks of mask wearing, social distancing, and being only in small groups and mostly outdoors – it will be tempting to get together with friends at Halloween gatherings to blow off steam and enjoy a holiday that has likely been a fun part of your lives since you were little.
Please think carefully. Do not risk the possibility not only of putting your and others’ health and safety at risk but also of contributing to an uptick in COVID-19 that would require an abrupt pivot to all remote instruction and further restriction of your activities before Thanksgiving.
The experience at many other campuses, in SUNY and across the country, has shown that the dangers of large – especially indoor – gatherings without masks and social distancing are very real. Don’t throw away all that you’ve achieved this semester. It has set SUNY New Paltz apart from many other campuses.
We are both optimists and like to think that encouraging, educational messages will motivate students to comply fully with necessary safeguards. And we have seen that most students are responsive to such messages. But we also are realistic. As we have written before, we are fully prepared to discipline, and have disciplined, students who violate behavioral expectations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those actions are consistent with SUNY guidelines that have been widely shared and that we are responsible to uphold. Such consequences are another form of risk to your ability to continue your on-campus housing or presence in classes for the remaining weeks before Nov. 25.
The Center for Student Engagement, in collaboration with many departments across campus, has developed a day-long suite of fun, socially distanced, outdoor Halloween activities that will allow you to enjoy the holiday while remaining safe. We hope you will consider participating in these programs and foregoing activities that put you, your fellow students, and a safe completion of the semester at risk.
Be safe, be well, exercise good humor when you can, and best wishes for a successful remainder of the fall semester.
Stephanie Blaisdell, Vice President for Student Affairs
Donald P. Christian, President