Restart Teams Continue to Meet and Review Multiple Scenarios for Welcoming Students in the Fall

Faculty & Staff,

There is a lot of good information in this communication  – please read this one in full.  

As we shared last week, Clarkson’s Restart Task Force teams are moving forward in planning multiple scenarios to return faculty, staff and students to our campus operations in Potsdam, Schenectady and Beacon based on guidance and directives from Federal, State and local agencies and with the counsel from our Faculty Experts Group with knowledge in specialized areas related to safety and public health.  Office hours for each Restart Task Force team leader to respond to Restart questions are at the end of this communication. 

Academic Planning

Next week, small groups of faculty and staff will begin a “Future Look Exercise” of scenarios for a Fall 2020 reopening to students.  The starting baseline will be a hybrid of in-person instruction coupled with online technologies, recognizing that some members of our community may need to continue to teach, work, learn and study remotely throughout the semester or at various times due to personal illness, isolation protocols, etc.

In these sessions, we will also review the calendar for when students are on campus, which may look very different from the dates announced pre-COVID-19. (For example, there are distinct advantages to starting the semester earlier in order to end the semester by Thanksgiving; hold a December/January term remotely for some classes and resume in Spring full-time in-person to optimize flexibility, minimize travel and avoid the traditional flu season.) While initial invitations to these future-look exercises have been randomized to cover all schools and a range of disciplines, if you would like to be included in these sessions, please reach out to Robyn Hannigan.  

Return to Work

The North Country and Capital Regions are both in the Phase I of reopening their economies as part of the NY Forward Plan.  Hudson Valley, where our Beacon campus is located, has currently only met 5 of the 7 criteria needed to begin the reopening process.   As communicated earlier, only a limited number of employees will be returning to work in the immediate future during these phases.  

Consistent with both federal and NYS guidance on reducing density, most faculty and staff with job functions predominantly done in an office or interactions that can still be done remotely from home will not return immediately.  This could be a prolonged process for some.  This may be the case even if your lab and office can be accessed safely.  Based on plans being prepared by your manager/department chair with you and HR, you will receive individualized information for when you can return to campus.  These plans may also include modifications to your work space and schedule to further ensure a safe and productive work environment.  

Health & Safety

As faculty and staff with job functions that are best fulfilled on campus receive notice that they can return to work, they will be asked to first complete a required training* from Clarkson’s Health & Safety Office on protocols that must be followed on campus that ensure their own health and safety as well as for others working on campus.  For the immediate future, this includes checking into campus through the Foster House Entrance on Clarkson Avenue, staying in your own work space zones, wearing PPE in common areas such as hallways and bathrooms where you interact with others  as well as issues related to disinfecting spaces you use on campus.  

When you do arrive on campus, Restart signage has been added to most doors and common areas that is broken down into a color-coded framework of:

  • Directives (Red)  – things you MUST do or follow per regulations (example: you must wear PPE in public spaces and when you can’t exercise social distancing greater than six-feet apart)
  • Guidelines (Yellow) — things you SHOULD do (example: how to wash your hands)
  • Good-to-Knows (Green) – helpful information related to Clarkson’s Restart such as faculty /alumni seminars on COVID-19 or optional training programs and opportunities to learn new skills.

St. Lawrence Public Health System CEO David Acker also addressed the Board of Trustees, the President’s Cabinet, and the leadership from Faculty Senate, CUSA and GSA on Saturday, May 16.  His presentation on our local hospital system’s preparedness for COVID-19 and the return of students can be viewed here:

Restart teams from the Associated Colleges of St. Lawrence Valley (Clarkson, St. Lawrence, SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton) met with St. Lawrence County administrators, Public Health, hospital and emergency planning teams earlier this week and all colleges in Congresswoman Stefanik’s district met with her earlier today on Federal priorities.  While there is general agreement on testing as part of the reopening of our campuses, the guidance on how is still fluid.  Employees who are asked to return to work in the coming weeks ahead and who want to be tested will have options.  Testing is not required.
We anticipate more specific guidance directed to colleges and universities on our comprehensive reopening plans from New York State in the next two to three weeks that will further advance and clarify our next steps.

Communications/ Information Sharing

The Clarkson Restart Task Groups and Subgroups, announcements and guiding principles are on the Web at which is accessible from the main web site and will replace the COVID-19 page which is being phased out.  Some policies, procedures and scenarios surrounding our Restart for employees will remain on the intranet under HR and .  
As we look to be future-ready under multiple scenarios, your willingness and support to pivot for evolving recommendations, required practices and scenarios as our nation faces unprecedented challenges.  We very much appreciate everyone’s contributions to the Restart planning and ongoing commitment to our mission, vision and values. 

Restart Team Leads Reporting to President Tony Collins

Communications, 315-268-4499,  Kelly Chezum, VP for External Relations
(Please send questions and comments for this communication and other requests for general information.)
Communications Restart Office Hours: Tuesdays Noon to 12:30pm and Thursdays 1pm to 1:30pm

Academic Affairs 315-268-6544, Robyn Hannigan, Provost; Open Office Hours Tuesdays 12-1 and Thursdays 1-2

Facilities & Infrastructure – 315-268-6718, Joshua Fiske, Chief Information Officer
Next week, Tuesday 11-noon & Thursday 9-10am.

Student Affairs & Residence Life, 315-268-6419, Brian Grant, VP for Enrollment and Student Advancement; Open Office Hours: Wednesdays 12:30-1:00 pm and Fridays Noon to 12:30 pm

Personnel & Policies, 315-268-3788, Amy McGaheran, Chief HR Officer  Monday 8-10, Tues 8-10, thrus- 12-2*To participate in the next Safety Training for Returning to campus, please reach out to Erica Arnold.  

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