COVID-19 Read/ Act: Why Mask Wearing Is Important Right Now / Be Mindful of Increasing Community Caseload

Golden Knights Community,

You stepped up to the plate over the summer and took Clarkons’s vaccination policy seriously – more than 98% of our students are fully vaccinated and 99% of our employees.  

Why isn’t that enough? We live in a broader community that has rising cases of the Delta Variant for COVID-19, which can include breakthrough cases among vaccinated individuals.  From NYS data posted last night, there are 365 active COVID-19 cases in St. Lawrence County and 19 of those are currently in the hospital.  We also have seen updates today from other local campuses that are getting a growing caseload:  56 at St. Lawrence University; 10 at SUNY Potsdam and 15 at SUNY Canton.  Right now, we have one staff member with an active case that was reported prior to the start of classes and posted to a dashboard.  

It is reported in public health meetings that most of those ill are unvaccinated individuals but the challenge is that we can all carry and transmit the virus regardless of our individual vaccination status.  We have colleagues and peers with medical and religious exemptions that need our support as well as members of our community who go home to youth who are not yet eligible for vaccination or with immunocompromised circumstances.

Mask wearing right now is about being part of a caring community and not just about individual health and choices.  While it is required to wear a mask on campus as posted, it is the best personal habit we can each follow everywhere we go right now when we are interacting with people outside of our family unit both on campus and off campus.  

When we see someone not wearing a mask appropriately on campus or you are the one who is being reminded to wear a mask covering both nose and mouth, please give each other grace. This is the time to share with each other that wearing a mask is about being part of a community that cares about others as much as it is about following the posted requirements for mask wearing and other current COVID-19 practices like limiting visitors to campus, following travel policies and maintaining personal hygiene.  

In addition, if you have COVID-19 symptoms and/or feeling sick, students should reach out to the Student Health Center (315-268-6633, and employees should reach out to their own medical provider.  Do not go to class or work if you are sick.  We are following our protocols for testing and the NYS / local public health mandated guidelines for isolation and quarantine based on positive test results within our community.  

If you have questions about this communication, students and parents should contact and employees should contact

Jim Pittman

Dean of Students

Kelly Chezum
Vice President for External Relations

Communications Lead for COVID-19 Response Team

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