March 19, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
As the COVID-19 virus spreads further into our communities, unprecedented measures have been taken across our nation to contain the spread of the virus. These measures require us to change our plans and behavior in order to remain committed to our own health and safety and that of our families and our communities. Therefore, I write to you this morning, at the mid-point of our spring break to provide you with several key updates.
We strongly discourage students from returning to campus residence halls, except for students with extenuating circumstances. Students who had requested to return to campus after spring break to live in their residence hall room and complete online and distance education from campus are being asked not to return to campus, until further notice. Students who were approved to stay on campus for the break, but have left campus, are also being discouraged from returning until further notice. We are making this difficult decision based on guidance we have received from New York State, our local health department and SUNY administration. Our students who left campus may have traveled to many different locations during break, locations that now may have individuals with the COVID-19 virus. We are taking this action to reduce the possible additional spread of COVID-19 to our region. As we know, this rapidly spreading disease can overwhelm healthcare systems and therefore cause more dire outcomes. We must each do our part to contain this pandemic, protecting ourselves and others.
- Students who stayed on-campus during spring break may continue. However, many buildings on-campus will not be open and we will require you to distance from others socially at all times and to not congregate. Reduced on-campus food options will be offered only through take-out at Cooper dining Hall and Crossroads Café. We encourage you to consider checking out of your room and leaving at this time unless you have extenuating circumstances.
- Starting on Monday, March 23, all courses will be delivered ONLINE OR THROUGH DISTANCE EDUCATION until further notice. That is a change from our original guidance that designated April 13 as the date we might come back to campus delivery of instruction. We will continue to monitor the situation and assess if we might be able to return to residential face-to-face instruction before the end of the semester.
- Governor Cuomo has directed all non-essential State employees to work remotely until further notice. SUNY Oswego notified all employees immediately on Monday, March 16 and we distributed a form for employees to request remote work. More than half our workforce is now working remotely and that number may grow. This action is being taken to promote recommended social distancing, limit population density, and discourage group meetings and congregation on campus.
- We remain committed to providing all of our students access to essential academic and student support services either via digital connections and platforms, phone or in person. If you wish to reach any of our offices, please email or call them to request assistance – the offices all remain open, even if from afar.
- For students who will return in the fall, we intend to credit unused room and board fees for students who have returned home for the remainder of the semester. For students graduating in Spring 2020 or Summer 2020, refunds will be credited to their student account. We are organizing the details and we will share them in a separate letter by the end of this week.
- Students’ belongings that were left in their residence hall rooms remain safe and secure. Given federal, state and local health guidelines, we ask students not to return to campus at this time to retrieve personal belongings. If you need to pick up your belongings soon, please call the housing office (315.312.2246) for guidance on when you may do so. As soon as the situation improves, we will provide information on when resident students can return to campus.
- We understand our seniors have worked extremely hard to be prepared to graduate this May. You and your efforts deserve celebration, and we will continue to examine all possible Commencement options as the COVID-19 impact continues to unfold. It is likely graduation will be postponed. We will share more information as soon as we are able.
- Please visit our COVID-19 website daily to remain current of this very fluid situation and to access new learning and teaching resources that continue to be posted to that website to help students and faculty with their courses and academic progress.
Lastly, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us in the campus community if you need assistance. All spring semester classes will resume on Monday, March 23rd through online and distance learning delivery and our SUNY Oswego professors are ready and eager to reconnect with you in this new format. As we strive for your well-being and success, we will work together to make the remainder of this spring semester as positive, productive, and academically rewarding as possible for all of our students, and we will honor our seniors.
We will get through this together because we are #TogetherOz – please join us in sharing your stories of completing your courses, continuing your learning, caring for each other, and celebrating your Laker pride with us. We invite you to tag your photos and messages on social media with the hashtag #TogetherOz. We will be in touch with you again soon. In the meantime, please stay safe and take good care.
Deborah F. Stanley
Office of the President
706 Culkin Hall
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