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Campus Messages

President Christian’s Message to Students on Eve of Spring Break

Posted on: Friday, March 13, 2020 at 1:40 PM

Dear SUNY New Paltz Students:

We recognize how stressful and even sad this time is for our students and employees because the semester looks so different than expected. Thank you for being as patient and productive as possible during these extraordinary times. Our job is to continue to keep you safe and healthy and to provide assurances and clear direction as this global situation evolves. In that vein, here are several important things you need to know today:

  1. We will continue to function as the place that we all love, just temporarily through other means. We value our sense of community and the close interaction among students, faculty, and staff that make SUNY New Paltz such a special place.  We will do everything possible to sustain those values during this difficult time.
  2. The campus is open. All services, including food services, are available and all offices are open for face-to-face and remote access to students. You will be hearing more from your faculty about their office hours and how to remain in touch with your professors.
  3. Residence halls remain open for those who choose to stay here during spring break as well as for students who wish to return for the rest of the semester. Students may live in the residence halls and take classes remotely. Remaining on or returning to campus after spring break will allow access to high-speed internet and other technological resources to access remote instruction. Students need to choose whether to continue living on campus based on what is the safest, most comfortable and practical for them.
  4. Financial Impacts: SUNY leadership is working quickly to resolve the financial impact that leaving campus and returning home will have on students and families.
  5. For graduating seniors, we know this has been especially stressful. We are working diligently to ensure you have the opportunity to complete your degree requirements. We recognize that there is great sadness among seniors and other students regarding missed opportunities to exhibit and celebrate your academic achievements and participate in club and program activities. Again, we are working on ways to keep you connected and to preserve our sense of community and engagement that makes us New Paltz.
  6. Commencement: We will be making a decision regarding commencement in the coming weeks and will communicate it as soon as we know.
  7. Cleaning: Even though COVID -19 is very infectious, it is also very fragile and has a relatively short lifespan. If we have any cases of COVID-19 on campus rooms can be readily cleaned by a third-party cleaning and disinfecting contractor that we will hire for this purpose, making them safe for re-occupancy.
  8. We know that some students are concerned about learning through remote delivery as well as in a seated classroom.  Know that your professors are working hard and creatively to provide you with excellent experiences.  Provost and Deans will be sharing a P/F (Pass/Fail) grading option for this semester to alleviate concerns among students who are not familiar with distance learning. A separate message about this and other academic matters will be coming soon from the Provost’s Office. Faculty continue to prepare to move instruction for all courses, including labs and studios, to remote delivery and will be in touch with their students directly about these plans. Our plan is to complete the semester on our original schedule.
  9. Wherever you are during spring break and the rest of the semester, be mindful of social distancing guidance. Avoid large gatherings, and limit travel where possible. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is discouraging all travel, domestic and international. Wash your hands fully and frequently, particularly after touching surfaces (door knobs and handles, light switches, computer keyboards, etc.) that others have touched.
  10. We recognize there is lots of uncertainty and we will keep sharing guidance and information regularly through the extended break and beyond.
Even as we face these challenges, I am heartened by the exchange of ideas and offers of support among members of the community to assist others in managing this transition from our traditional seated and residential learning environment. I am proud of our faculty who continue to demonstrate their commitment to our mission and to educating you, our students. I’m grateful to staff and administrators who have and continue to help in planning and supporting needed changes. Only by working together as a community can we ensure that New Paltz remains among the best examples of public higher education.

Be safe and well.


Donald P. Christian

Message originally distributed via: Office of the President