COVID-19 Lead: Making the New Normal Work for Everyone

In this communication:

  • Together we are in charge of Clarkson’s COVID-19 response
  • Masks – Wear it Indoors.
  • Sick or Symptoms – Stop Your Routine
  • Routine Testing, Random Testing and Adding Optional Testing Appointments 
  • Assigned Seating in Class Begins on Monday

To: All Potsdam

Clarkson Golden Knight Community,

This weekend will be among the most “normal weekends” in the last 20 months of University life.  Alumni are coming back, varsity and club sports have scheduled matches that welcome spectators, and many other community activities are taking place helping everyone get to know one another.  With COVID-19 cases on the rise both locally and nationwide and how science has shown how infection spreads, every one of us needs to acknowledge that through our own actions we are individually in control of the University’s COVID-19 response and protecting not only the health of others but the kind of Clarkson experiences students, faculty and staff love to share and do. 

The following information is in response to questions that have come in this past week and a recap of the key protocols we are following to live, learn, and work with COVID as part of our world. 


Wear a mask indoors.  It is a simple thing to do that makes a difference.  Contact tracing on positive cases shows that transmission is occurring in settings where people don’t wear masks including at home and within the family unit.  From reviews of current cases among employees and students, current positive cases on campus did not come from exposures in class, labs or meetings where people are diligently wearing masks. 

Sick or Symptoms of COVID-19 

Regardless of your vaccination status, if you are sick and/or have COVID-19 symptoms do not go to class or work and do not interact in close contact with others. Residential students can get tested for COVID-19 at the Student Health Center and everyone can get tested at one of the local testing sites.  ALL positive results activate a state-wide response, including results going to Clarkson’s Health Center, regardless of the location where the test was administered.  Students should still immediately notify the Health Center and employees the HR Office when you get a positive result to further help initiate the process.   Clarkson counts in its dashboard all positive test results for our in person campus faculty, staff, students and vendors — including cross-registered students and those results obtained from external testing centers.

Everyone: Do not interact with people who are sick and or showing symptoms of COVID-19 and be proactive in supporting their return to good health.   Faculty and supervisors: Send your employees to their medical provider and do not allow sick people to remain around others. If employees are a caregiver to someone sick, please work with your supervisor and consult Human Resources as appropriate.  Students:  Send your peers to the Student Health Center to see a Provider.  

One other note: Right now, we are seeing several cases of mono on campus that also can be transmitted through close contact.   Please do not interact with sick people. 

Routine Testing, Random Testing and New Optional Testing Appointments 

Among our campus members, 98.7% of students and 99% of all employees are fully vaccinated. The other area campuses did not begin their academic years with this comprehensive safety measure and made their opening testing plans based on lower vaccination against COVID-19 in their populations.    We are one of the few higher education institutions in NYS and the nation to have achieved this level of overall vaccination.  With that background, all unvaccinated Clarkson students provided a negative test result prior to returning to campus in August.  As posted and with personal emails with an appointment schedule all unvaccinated students in our community are tested weekly plus a random sample from the general population of vaccinated individuals.  Some athletic teams are also testing more frequently based on league play and requirements.  The posted travel policies for employees also share the scenarios for testing.  Through this system, we are routinely testing 250 to 350 persons per week.  

Any member of the University community who is considered a contact of a positive by Public Health gets a notice and the message about being tested. All students /employees with symptoms are directed to testing. 

New Starting Next Week: If you do not have symptoms and do not feel sick, but you want a COVID-19 test, we will be offering  150 appointments per week connected to our other routine testing clinic set up.  Email to schedule a time to get tested 

We get the results of all positive test results in the DOH system — including those tests from our Health Center — and post all positive cases on the dashboard.

 Employees:  All interim COVID-19 related policies are at: and cover travel, visitor and related testing policies.  

Assigned Classroom Seating to Begin Monday

As part of the University’s Safety Plan and Hero Act activated by Gov. Hochul earlier this month, we are asking all faculty to ask students to be seated in the same seats in a classroom starting Monday and to create a seating chart with those in place. Faculty do not have to take attendance, but please send your seating charts to   This has been further requested from Public Health to support greater efficiencies for them while they are experiencing a higher load across the county.

As the Provost noted in earlier communications the automated message to faculty regarding students who are not cleared to be on campus, for example, is not solely sent when there is a positive test result.  Indeed most of those notices are initiated due to students failing to submit required documentation for vaccination/exemption or failing to come to a scheduled test.  

COVID-19 Response Team Leads

President Tony Collins
Provost Robyn Hannigan
Chief HR Officer Amy McGaheran
VP for External Relations Kelly Chezum
VP for Enrollment & Student Advancement Brian Grant
CIO Josh Fiske
Environmental Health & Safety Manager Erica Arnold
Director of Athletics Scott Smalling

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