Update on New Paltz planning for spring semester 2021

The following message was sent by email to students, faculty and staff on Nov. 11.

Dear Members of the Campus Community:

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras recently announced that all SUNY campuses will begin in-person instruction for spring semester 2021 on Monday, Feb. 1, and that coursework that begins before that date shall be remote. At New Paltz, our spring semester is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Jan. 19. We will maintain that start date and the vast majority of our courses will need to be delivered remotely before Feb. 1.

However, the SUNY-wide guidance for spring also allows for exceptions to the Feb. 1 in-person start date to be granted by SUNY.

I draw your attention to this excerpt from the guidance:

“Spring term start dates prior to February 1 must occur in a fully remote format except for those clinical practicums, research, and applied learning experiences that require physical presence as outlined above. Such acceptable in-person instruction includes licensed professional practicums, teaching practicums, laboratory research, and other types of hands-on applied/experiential learning that takes place in specialized facilities and/or requires specialized equipment.”

Campuses should notify SUNY System Administration of any courses which fall into the above categories. For courses that do not fall within the above categories, campuses may request specific exceptions to SUNY System Administration to begin in-person instruction prior to February 1. Both notification and/or requests for exceptions must be submitted no later than December 1, 2020 to provost@suny.edu.”

New Paltz will notify SUNY that it would like to begin in-person instruction on Monday, Jan. 25, for some science and engineering lab courses, some art studio courses, and other courses that meet the above criteria. We will also consider some exceptions. Academic deans are currently collecting these two lists of courses from faculty, and New Paltz must submit the list to SUNY for notification and consideration. We will share more information about these courses with faculty and students once we hear from SUNY.

Specific details about spring return to residence halls, and implementation of the SUNY-wide requirement that all returning students, faculty and staff who will have an on-campus presence either provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days prior to arrival or within five days of return to campus, will be shared at a later date. These plans are still being worked on by our Testing and Tracing Work Group, and SUNY guidance requires that such details of a campus’s spring semester plans be approved by SUNY before they can be finalized and publicized. We will share these plans with key campus constituencies before we submit them to SUNY. Please remember that all planning is subject to changes in federal, state and SUNY guidance caused by the pandemic.

We are only two weeks away from Thanksgiving Eve, when in-person instruction for fall semester will transition to a remote finish to the term. I congratulate you all on such a successful and safe semester up to this point and wish you a continued safe and productive few weeks as you prepare for this transition.


Barbara G. Lyman

Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs