SUNY New Paltz Shares Campus Re-Opening Plan

NEW PALTZ – Following the higher education guidance from the Governor and New York State Health Department and SUNY, SUNY New Paltz will offer a mix of remote, online and face-to-face courses this fall with appropriate social distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and focused cleaning protocols. Residence hall capacity will be reduced. Classes begin Monday, Aug. 24.

“Our goal is to provide high-quality learning experiences in ways that prioritize the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” said President Donald P. Christian. “We know fall 2020 will not be like any other semester any of us have experienced. We must have a mindset of “we,” not “me,” and safeguard the health of those around us by wearing masks, and following social distancing and hand washing protocols.”

The College convened a COVID-19 Planning Team that included representatives from across the academic and administrative units on campus, including all five academic deans, and specialists in emergency management, environmental health and safety, health services, information technology, online learning, human resources, diversity and inclusion, student affairs, residence life, communication and government relations. The Planning Team developed policies, guidelines and recommendations with a focus on continuing to fulfill the College’s educational mission, while maintaining our community’s health and safety and consistent with state guidance for public universities.

“Given the pandemic’s continued uncertainty, we remind you that our approved campus plan is still subject to change due to new information, guidance and/or direction from the state,” Christian said.

A few key elements of the plan include:

* Classes will begin Monday, Aug. 24, per the College’s existing schedule, and instruction will cease on Wednesday, Nov. 25. The final exam period will be online after Thanksgiving.

* The College will prioritize face-to-face instruction with reduced density for select laboratory, studio, clinical and equipment-essential courses, as well as some General Education (GE) and gateway courses to our majors with appropriate social distancing. However, a majority of fall semester courses will be taught remotely.

* All students, faculty and staff will be required to wear masks or other face coverings in classrooms, restrooms, elevators, lecture halls, common spaces, studios and labs whenever they are occupied by more than one person.

* All students and employees will be required to complete a daily health screening (self-screening) and self- report. It will require students and employees to take and report their temperature, ask them to indicate the presence of COVID-19 symptoms and ask them to report any exposure to confirmed cases.

* Student Health Service will offer some COVID-19 testing, working closely with the Ulster County health department to allow students to get tested at community sites.

* Residential students with a confirmed diagnosis will be relocated to the College’s quarantine site, Awosting Hall, which will be set aside as unoccupied at the start of the fall semester. Alternatively, such students may quarantine at home. Commuter students with a confirmed diagnosis will be directed to quarantine at home. In all cases, the College will deploy its contact tracing protocol to notify classmates and faculty members of their potential exposure and work directly with the county health department.

* Residence hall capacity will be reduced. Students will be required to quarantine for a period before the start of seated classes, per the Governor’s recent directive. International students must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

* Given social distancing guidelines and to mitigate risk of COVID-19 spread, use of campus indoor facilities will be restricted to faculty, staff and students. Visitors will be allowed under current health guidelines to visit the Dorsky Museum of Art, have limited access to the Speech-Language and Hearing Center for audiology services and may utilize outdoor walkways and grounds.

* Limited in-person events and gatherings will be offered on a very limited basis with prior approval.

* Sodexo, the College’s food service provider, has adopted new protocols to ensure that students and employees can safely enjoy meals on campus. This will include a phased approach to reopening that begins with all food venues operating as grab-and-go.

* The College will follow SUNY, SUNY Athletic Conference and NCAA guidelines regarding intercollegiate fall sports. Any fall sport teams will begin with a phased approach on Aug. 24, consistent with NCAA policy.

* To prepare for the possibility that in-person, on-campus operations cannot safely be sustained, the College has developed a “Pause and Pivot” procedure that can be implemented if the College is so directed by the state’s Regional Control Room, SUNY, or the state or local health departments. The plan outlines steps to be taken to shut down in-person activities, reduce campus density, including in residence halls, and return to remote operations.

To view the plan in its entirety, learn more through our FAQs and read the latest news about the College’s reopening, visit

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