Restart: Important: Clarkson School Starting Dates and Return to Campus Information

**This email went to The Clarkson School Students**

I am excited to congratulate you on joining The Clarkson School Class of 2021 and am eager to welcome you to campus in the fall!

Here on campus, we have been busy preparing for the start of the Fall semester and carefully making necessary adjustments to reduce risks associated with COVID-19. We have recently received more comprehensive interim guidance from Governor Cuomo and NYS. As noted by President Collins, Clarkson University is on track to meet and/or exceed all of the mandatory requirements put forth by NYS. Given this recent guidance and after rigorous scenario planning, counsel from our faculty experts panel, and robust new safety measures being implemented as part of NYS and federal protocol, there are several things we would like to share with you as you prepare to come to campus this fall. There’s a lot of information in this email and additional information with more precise plans will be coming in the couple weeks as we firm things up.

Important dates:

  • We are excited to announce that we plan to begin the Fall Semester in Potsdam on Wednesday, August 19 and end on Tuesday, November 24, 2020. There will be no official fall break, however there will be days structured as alternatives to breaks. These are date changes to what has previously been published.
  •  Now that there is a reopening start date for the Fall Semester, the Office of Student Affairs is working quickly to set move-in dates. Undergraduate student move-in to the Potsdam campus will be staggered over multiple days to reduce the density on the residence hall floors. Students will receive more information soon on the revised processes and requested arrival dates.
  •  We are currently planning for classes in the Spring semester to begin on January 13, 2021 which is one day earlier than originally scheduled to balance the shortened Fall Semester calendar.
  •  We know some students have pre-arranged travel plans and vacations that will delay arrival. We expect all residential students to be on campus no later than August 30. To the extent possible, for these students who will arrive later please participate remotely in your classes and communicate with Brenda Kozsan, Associate Head of The Clarkson School and Jim Pittman, Dean of Students if you will have a delayed arrival for residential living. 

Information about local healthcare facilities, testing, and vulnerability:

  • Clarkson University is working closely in partnership with the St. Lawrence Health System (SLHS) and the County Board of Health on protocols. Canton-Potsdam Hospital, within the SLHS, is prepared to respond to the pandemic and is ready for college students to return. 
  • Students who do return to campus in person will need to undergo COVID-19 testing with RT-PCR (not serology). You must schedule this test to be performed within 7 calendar days prior to arrival on campus. Students with a positive test prior to arrival will not be allowed to be present on campus in person. More information is coming from our local health system on this topic and additional testing during the semester as part of systematic testing through the semester. 
  •  We recognize that not all states give access to on-demand testing as is available for NYS residents, and Clarkson University will need to set up a system to help those of you in this situation. That system is now being developed based on the guidance from local and state officials. Most county public health websites will have information on testing sites near you and scheduling information if your own provider does not perform this service. 
  •  Vulnerable students who are not comfortable returning can still safely participate in remote education and online learning with support services that will allow them to maintain progress toward completing their degree on time. Undergraduate students who elect to attend remotely this semester and are remaining at home will need to have their financial aid package reviewed. Please contact Matthew Rutherford, Director of Admission and Financial Aid.
  • Wearing masks indoors and when in close proximity to others in public spaces dramatically reduces coronavirus transmission. Each member of the Clarkson community will be given a mask in addition to those they bring themselves. We will all be expected to wear a mask in public spaces (e.g., classrooms, dorm halls) and be ready to put one on when we interact with someone. Coupled with a rigorous hygiene routine of good hand washing and mindful social distancing, facial coverings will do more to protect each other than all of the additional measures we are taking for disinfecting, installations of barriers, and air-handling/HVAC changes.
  • Color-coded signage is being placed throughout campus to help remind us of the protective measures public health is sharing: red stands for NYS directives that must be followed (e.g., wearing a mask in public spaces/classrooms when around co-workers/students); yellow are guidelines (e.g., how to wash your hands effectively); and green are good-to-know things (e.g., seminars faculty and staff are sharing to further explain the science and systems behind prevention methods).  
  • To help people gauge six-feet, we are also adding spaced out floor signage and some fun examples like it’s one inch less than the 73” hockey stick for our 6’7” Golden Knight Connor McCarthy ‘21. We are also installing one-way directional traffic directions for travel in/out of buildings, indoor common areas, and rooms.  

Where to find updates and information about current operations:

  • Currently, we are restricting access to our campuses to meet current density guidelines issued by NYS for the Phase we are in, doing online training on safety protocols, and employees have a series of check-in/check-out routines. Students will get communications later in July about daily routines and specific training on safety measures. 
  • Regular updates will be posted on the website as we move through the NYS process, our own decision-making steps, and how we are responding to fluid circumstances.  
  • Throughout this reopening, we remain committed to the safety and wellness of everyone in our community. The number one factor that will drive our reopening success is our collective commitment to  protect each other. 

I know this information is a lot to digest, and I am sure you have more questions in light of this information! Both in The Clarkson School and at the University level, we are working quickly to finalize concrete plans on move-in dates, safety and wellness protocols, housing, health monitoring, orientation, and class schedules. We know you are eager to receive this information as you try to make plans to come to campus in the Fall. We will share information with you as quickly as possible! Thank you so much for your patience as we work through the fluidity of some of the details and get more clarity about some of the directives.

I hope you are having a good summer, staying healthy, and making time to relax. I am very excited to see you on campus in just a couple short months! Please continue to check your email for more information as we finalize plans to reopen and welcome you to campus!

Dr. Knack

Jennifer M. Knack, Ph.D.
Interim Head of School for The Clarkson School
Associate Professor of Psychology

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