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Coronavirus Information

Coronavirus Information

Frequently Asked Questions
+  Is the College closed?

Update, March 20, 2020

While the campus remains open, all buildings with card access will be locked to the public. All faculty, staff and students will need their New Paltz ID to access all exterior doors of those buildings (this is a similar process to our current weekend policy).

Many offices and departments are closed or operating with reduced staff. Visit https://www.newpaltz.edu/officeclosings/ for the latest information about office staffing and contact information.

+  Are any campus buildings closed?

Yes. The following buildings are closed to all students, faculty, staff and members of the public: 

  • Sojourner Truth Library (closed until further notice) 
  • Children’s Center (closed through April 13) 
  • Speech-Language Hearing Center (closed through the spring semester) 
  • Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (closed through the spring semester) 

In addition to these standing building closures, the Office of Emergency Management has published a real-time list of buildings being closed and reopened for cleaning in the event of contamination. That list can be viewed via this link.

+  What is the College doing to protect the community?

Update, March 27

Consistent with SUNY and state guidance, the College’s distance learning plans are being implemented to reduce in-person learning and campus density for the remainder of the spring semester.

In addition to actively monitoring the latest developments in the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, the College is conducting cleaning across campus, including focused cleaning on high-contact areas like doors, handrails and public computers.

When we are alerted that a community member has tested positive, we are taking additional steps in any affected buildings, including temporary closure and enhanced cleaning by Facilities staff with appropriate training and Personal Protective Equipment, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. 

there are additional steps we need to take in the affected buildings to further ensure the safety of our community. 

We are partnering with state and local health officials and have created a task force to provide guidance to campus units in preparing for any potential future occurrence of the virus in the region.

We continue encouraging all campus community members to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, and use hand sanitizer and wipes to avoid transmission of germs.

The College maintains Emergency Response Plans for students and faculty that can be reviewed on our website. Additional resources are available at the webpages of the Office of Emergency Management and the University Police Department.

+  What do I do if I was exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19?

Follow this guidance provided by the NYS Department of Health here.

Residence Life

+  Who is allowed to come back to campus and where they are being housed?

Update, March 27

A limited number of residence halls are open to house approximately 200 students who meet one of three criteria, per SUNY: 1) International students; 2) Students with no other safe living or dining options; or 3) Students with no or limited access to technology at home.

+  What if I am unable to leave campus?

We recognize that international and some other residential students may not be able to go home for spring break or for the remainder of the semester. During the extended spring break, some residence halls and limited dining options will remain open in order to accommodate these students.

We ask that any students in this situation, please contact the Department of Residence Life (845-257-4444, reslife@newpaltz.edu) as soon as possible to discuss their specific needs.

+  Can I have visitors in my residence hall?

No. Effective immediately and for the remainder of the semester, there will be no visitors permitted at any time of day in the residence halls.

This policy does not apply to parents, family members and others who are assisting students who have chosen to move out of residence halls.

Student Accounts Credits and Refunds

+  Will students be refunded for unused room and board fees for the remainder of the spring semester?

Update, March 25:

Yes. Students who lived on campus prior to the COVID-19 situation are eligible to receive refunds for the portion of the semester in which they didn’t live in the residence hall. 

To be eligible for a credit/refund you must have: 

  • Paid your bill in full (students with partially paid bills will have their room, board or other charges reduced in-line with the timing calculation). 
  • Completed checkout, removed belonging and returned keys by Sunday, March 29, at 10 p.m. 

For students who have already officially checked out with residence life, no further action is required. The refund for your room will be calculated and added to the other services for which you will be reimbursed. Please be patient as we have nearly 8,000 refunds to calculate.   

Students will also receive a refund or credit for the unused portion of their meal plans, where applicable.

+  Will the College offer refunds for tuition?

No. The College will continue to deliver credit for coursework via distance learning and remote instruction, and is taking every measure to make sure students continue to receive a high-quality education. 

 

+  Will commuter students get a refund for our parking passes?

Yes. All students will be refunded for the unused portion of their parking passes.

+  Will any other fees be refunded or credited to student accounts?

Update, March 25

Campus leadership is analyzing other fees, such as course fees, some of which have been spent and some not, to determine approaches that are fair to students who have remained on campus and those who have left.  

The calculation of the amount of the refund or credit is being determined for each of these fees. Some fees eligible for partial refund include:

  • Athletics fee
  • Student activity fee (Student Association reserves the right to determine refund)
  • Other fees as appropriate (for example, parking registration fee and unused course fees)

We are working with all faculty who have courses with lab/course fees attached.  Each course fee is different (different amount and different purpose).  All appropriate refunds for lab/course fees will be included in your refund check for other fees. 

+  I’m a student employee on campus. How will this affect my employment?

Update, March 24

Campus leadership is committed to keeping our students employed and paid through the end of the spring semester to ease the disruption and hardship that leaving campus and moving to remote instruction has created for them both emotionally and financially.

Due to Governor Cuomo’s stay at home order, student temporary employees and work study students will need to complete their work remotely. As we move to distance learning next week, the campus will continue to assess ongoing needs for student employment to help ensure the academic success of our students this semester.

Employees of Sodexo or the Campus Bookstore need to work with those areas to understand work schedules and expectations.

Students should get in touch with their supervisors to learn what tasks they may be able to perform remotely for the remainder of the semester.

Read more about student employment during distance learning via this link.

+  What resources are available for students in financial crisis?

The Student Crisis Fund provides quick-response, one-time grants in the event of a qualifying emergency. Funds can be used toward essential academic needs (books and supplies); replacement of lost or damaged items; or basic needs such as utilities, childcare, short-term housing or transportation. Average awards are $100-$1,000.

Click here for the Student Crisis Fund application.

Students with special circumstances are encouraged to contact Student Financial Services to learn more about what additional resources are available. Please note that the office is practicing social distancing strategies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). To help us maintain the best customer service possible, please submit any financial aid questions or concerns via e-mail to fao@newpaltz.edu.

Student Services

+  Are campus dining options open?

Update, March 26

Yes, but all campus dining will be to-go only until further notice.   

Nester’s and Pomodoro’s are currently open with limited hours. Students must place to-go orders with the GrubHub app. If you are unsure of how to do this, please ask a food service manager the next time you visit Nester's or Pomodoro's.

+  Who should I contact with questions about my meal plan?

Campus Auxiliary Services is available to help students with questions about campus dining and meal plans. Please direct questions to the following CAS staff:  

+  Is the Student Health Center open?

Yes, but effective March 18, the Health Center is no longer open to walk-in visitors. 

Only those who have called first and set an appointment will be allowed to enter the building.  

Students can call 845-257-3400 to set up an appointment at the Student Health Center. Phones will be on from Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–4:30 p.m. Saturday hours have been suspended until further notice.  

When you arrive to your appointment, please call the front desk at 845-257-3400 to let us know that you are here, and a staff member will come to the door and let you inside. 

+  Are any campus computer labs open?

Yes. The following computer labs will remain open effective March 30, 2020:

  • College Theatre 126
  • Wooster Hall 221 and 223
  • Resnick Engineering Hall 211/212
  • Science Hall 231
  • Coykendall science Building 55, 118/119 and 321
  • van den Berg Hall 221
  • Lecture Center and Wooster Hall kiosks

All other computer labs, including residence hall labs, will be closed.

Please use this link for more details on public computer lab hours of operation.

All computer lab spaces that are remaining open will be at 50% reduced capacity as part of the College’s social distancing practice.

Sanitizing supplies will remain available in open labs but will be removed from closed labs.

+  Will the Library make accommodations for students, faculty and staff with books and other materials checked out?

Yes. Effective March 13, 2020, Sojourner Truth Library Dean W. Mark Colvson announced that any Library materials, excluding iPads, laptops, headphones and other technologies, may be returned to any SUNY library, and that loan dates for such items will automatically be extended or renewed through the end of the spring semester. This includes Interlibrary Loan materials.

Visit https://library.newpaltz.edu/ for more information and Library resources to support remote learning.

+  Are any other resources available to students who have limited access to textbooks?

Yes. The campus bookstore is now able to offer free ebooks thanks to a partnership between Follett and RedShelf.

Students must use their “.edu” email address to access this program, and there is a limit of seven ebook units that can be borrowed per student.

To learn more about this program and borrow the free ebooks, visit www.sunynewpaltzshop.com.

+  Will tutoring be available to students while remote learning is in effect?

Yes. The Center for Student Success is providing free online tutoring in an interactive whiteboard platform through STAR-NY to SUNY New Paltz students from 7 p.m. – 12 a.m., Sunday – Thursday, until May 7, 2020.

Students can sign up for free online tutoring by following the instructions at https://www.starny.org/tutoring_schedule. If you have any questions about this service, please contact the Center for Student Success at css@newpaltz.edu.

Learn more via this link.

+  Is the Disability Resource Center still open and operational?

Yes. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) will continue to provide services to students remotely. 

Please note that students should request support directly, as federal law prohibits staff from disclosing student information without the student’s expressed consent. 

Contact the DRC at drc@newpaltz.edu for more information. 

+  Can students still get support from the Career Resource Center?

Yes. The Career Resource Center (CRC) is available to help students practice for job interview, search for an internship, have their résumé reviewed or discuss graduate school options.

Students can schedule a virtual appointment to meet remotely with a career coach via phone, WebEx, Skype or Facetime. Use this link to learn more.

The CRC has also created a comprehensive page of available online services for students' convenience. See that list via this link.

And, the CRC will also continue publishing its newsletter, to keep students informed and help them navigate the job market in these uncertain times.

+  Is the Campus Food Pantry still open?

Yes, but the Food Pantry is no longer accepting walk-in visitors as part of the College’s practice of social distancing.

The Food Pantry has created a Google Form for accepting emergency requests from students living off campus.

Access the Food Pantry emergency request form using this link.

Requests should be submitted Sunday – Wednesday to allow staff to gather items in a reasonable time frame. Students will receive email confirmation when their requests have been received and are ready for pickup. The confirmation email will include additional instructions for pickup.

The Food Pantry staff is available to answer questions at nppantry@gmail.com. You can also follow on Instagram (@nppantry) and Facebook (@SUNY New Paltz Food Pantry).

+  Is the University Police Department still open and operational?

Yes. UPD continues to operate with dispatchers on-duty 24/7 to answer calls.

However, as part of the campus-wide effort to practice responsible social distancing, UPD has restricted public access via the UPD Service Building entry doors.

In-person visitors to the station are asked to use the phone in the UPD Service Building vestibule, which will directly connect them with the dispatcher. Requests reported this way will either be handled over the phone, or by an officer who will meet the visitor at the vestibule phone.

As UPD works to limit unnecessary contact while still providing necessary police services for the campus community, the department asks that community members report less urgent matters over the phone using the non-emergency line at x2222 (845-257-2222).

Those who require copies of records or reports are asked to call x3802 (845-257-3802) for assistance.

Distance Learning

+  How will the distance learning work?

When instruction resumes on March 30, all classes will be offered remotely through the end of the spring semester, except for fieldwork or clinical experiences that are required for licensing or certification.

+  I’m a faculty member. What can I do to prepare for distance learning?

There are lots of resources available to assist faculty with this transition, regardless of your prior familiarity with remote instruction.  

Instructional Technology Services (ITS) is working with deans and faculty to provide essential skills trainings, software updates and guidance related to distance learning.  

ITS has created a Campus Contingency Guide as a growing resource for needs related to remote work and instruction. ITS is also offering a number of Educational Technology Workshops for faculty and staff. 

The College has also created processes for faculty members to provide and receive voluntary mentorship on online teaching from their colleagues.  

Online forms have been set up to allow faculty to register to provide or receive online teaching peer mentoring.  

Use this link to register to provide training. 

Use this link to register to receive training. 

SUNY has also been creating and gathering resources for use by all members of the state university system. These include a COVID-19 Response resource library, with a range of services and helpful publications for all SUNY campuses, and “Characteristics of a Successful Online Learner,” an overview of the skills and best practices that correlate with student success in remote learning formats. 

+  What is the College doing to prepare for distance learning?

SUNY New Paltz is using the extended spring break to continue developing a comprehensive plan to maximize effective course delivery via distance learning.

We are offering guidance and support to students and faculty who have limited experience with distance learning technologies, including a number of useful links and other tools that can be found by clicking the Support tab on Blackboard.

The College is continuously updating the Contingency Planning & Preparedness website with information for students, faculty and staff, to help our community prepare for the rest of the spring semester.

In addition, the State University of New York has created a “Characteristics of a Successful Online Learner” guide full of suggestions for how students can succeed in distance learning courses.

+  Is the College offering any additional Pass/Fail options for the spring 2020 semester?

Yes. The College will allow students to opt in to a special Pass (P) grade option for spring 2020 courses.

Unlike the standard S/U option, courses for which a student has earned a P grade will satisfy degree, major and minor requirements and can be applied whether or not the student has declared a major or minor. There may be restrictions for accredited programs leading to licensure or certification. Students will be able to apply P grades to letter-graded courses only when they have earned a D grade or higher.

Students will be able opt in to this new Pass grade option beginning May 21, and the opt-in period will continue through Oct. 16. We encourage students to discuss this option with their advisors after their spring semester courses are graded. The method for requesting the P grade will be developed and communicated before the end of the semester. 

+  How will office hours work in the distance learning plan?

In order to meet the directives from state leadership to reduce campus density, office hours will be conducted remotely for the remainder of the semester.  

Students are encouraged to watch for messages from each of their instructors for more details about holding office hours.  

Faculty may consider scheduling windows of time each week when they will be available for remote office hours, and/or inviting students to make appointments to talk by phone, email, chat, web conference, Blackboard Collaborate or other medium. 

+  Will Summer Session be offered online as well?

Yes. All Summer Session 2020 courses must be delivered in a remote format. 

Faculty who are scheduled to teach a seated or hybrid section should work with their Dean or Associate/Assistant Dean to revise their summer schedule accordingly.

Faculty & Staff

+  Should I be working from home?

While the College remains open, Governor Cuomo has issued a directive that nonessential state employees should work from home effective Tuesday, March 17.

For the purpose of this directive, the definition of essential employee is not the same as with weather emergencies. See the question below for information on essential and nonessential employees.

Keep in mind that the spirit of this directive is to thin out density of employees on campus to protect health and safety and to alleviate the impact on employees whose children’s schools and daycares have closed. Therefore, where possible we encourage you to work from home.

+  Who qualifies as a nonessential employee?

For the purpose of this directive, essential employees are any person whose job function is essential to the effective operation of the campus, or who must be physically present to perform their job, or who is involved in the emergency response to COVID19.

Nonessential employees should be considered any person who does not need to be physically present to perform their job functions, or who is not currently required to meet the core functions of their agency or authority during this emergency response.

Academic faculty are considered essential employees to provide continuity of instruction via distance learning. They have the option of doing this remotely or from their offices.

The campus may change an employee’s designation as either essential or nonessential at any time and will provide notice if that change is necessary.

+  If I work from home, will my accrued time off be charged?

No. Throughout state government, nonessential employees will not be charged accruals during this time.

+  Is there anything I need to do before I begin working from home?

Yes. Campus employees are asked to consult their supervisors as soon as possible to complete the Telecommuting Pilot Program Application and develop an off-site work plan, if they have not done so already.

The Office of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion is working with supervisors and providing trainings to help units plan for these telecommuting requests. Additional guidance, including opportunities for training on best practices for telecommuting, will be forthcoming.

+  What is the Telecommuting Pilot Program?

The State of New York has entered into agreements with the CSEA, PEF and UUP bargaining units to create telecommuting arrangements as part of the state-wide response to COVID-19. The Pilot Program also applies to M/C employees.

The full bulletin announcing the Telecommuting Pilot Program can be read via this link.

Some details about the program that may be relevant to SUNY New Paltz employees:

  • This pilot program is for a temporary period of 2 months beginning with an effective date of March 17, 2020 through May 14, 2020.

  • Upon receiving a request to work off-site, supervisors have 48 hours to review and make an initial determination on the request.

  • Supervisors who are reviewing the off-site proposal should inform HRDI of the decision.  HRDI will provide final approval within 48 hours of receiving the request in their office.

  • If the request is disapproved or if an employee wishes to contest mandated telecommuting, they may appeal to the agency head or designee (Jodi Papa) in writing within 24 hours of the denial. The appeal shall state the reasons for disagreement with management’s determination and a decision on that appeal shall be provided within 7 calendar days. If the appeal is denied, the reasons for denial must be provided.
     
  • Any denials of request for telecommuting are not grievable under any collective bargaining agreements.
+  What should employees do if they begin experiencing symptoms?

According to guidance issued on March 15 by the State of New York Executive Chamber, any employee who is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 (including fever, cough, shortness of breath and respiratory infection/distress) should not report to work.

Any employee experiencing symptoms should immediately report to their supervisor and the Office of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion.

The employee should first contact their primary health care practitioner to see if they are available and able to collect a sample for testing. If not, the employee should contact the New York State COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065 to be referred to a regional testing site that can collect and submit a sample for testing. The employee must notify HR of the test results as soon as they are received. 

If the test results for the employee are positive (+), HR officials will immediately direct the employee to maintain their quarantine for fourteen (14) days and advise the professional contacts to maintain their quarantine and, if they become symptomatic, seek testing from their health care provider. HR will also notify the supervisor of the positive test result and send a notice to all employees who work within the nearby work location.

If the test results for the employee are negative (-), HR officials will expect the employee to return to work after they have recovered from their illness and direct the professional contacts under quarantine to resume their daily activities and return to work after the 14-day period if they are asymptomatic.

For Prospective Students

+  Will the College be extending the deadline for accepted students to pay the pre-enrollment deposit?

Yes. As of March 18, 2020, deposit deadlines for General Admit first-year students and transfers have been extended until July 1, 2020 (or, if accepted after June 1, no later than 30 days after acceptance).

The deposit deadline for students accepted into the Educational Opportunity Program is May 1, 2020.

Deadlines may be extended further, in which case we will notify accepted students and campus community members of the change. 

Please visit www.newpaltz.edu/admissions for the most up-to-date information on deposit deadlines.

For all graduate students accepted to begin their programs during the fall 2020 semester, the deposit deadline has been extended to July 1, 2020.

Graduate students accepted to begin their programs during summer session 2020 should place their deposits by May 1, 2020.

Please visit www.newpaltz.edu/graduate/ for current information for graduate students.

In no case will refunds be considered if a written request is received after the official first day of classes for that semester (SUNY Administrative Policies 057.7).

Commencement

+  Is Commencement taking place as scheduled?

Update, March 19

No. The May 2020 Commencement ceremonies have been postponed indefinitely.

In light of current federal, state and local guidance related to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the consensus of science and medical experts, the College is unable to guarantee the safety of our students, faculty, staff and guests at large gatherings this May.  

By making the decision to postpone now, we hope to provide enough notice for students and families to adjust their travel plans.  

This decision applies to major College-wide events (our graduate and two undergraduate commencement ceremonies) and to all other large celebratory gatherings typically held during May. 

Our goal is to reschedule the 2020 Commencement celebrations so that we can proudly recognize our graduating students in a manner befitting their exceptional achievements. Given the uncertainty of the coronavirus situation, we do not know when we will be able to reschedule but will provide updates as they become available. We welcome suggestions on these efforts at commencement@newpaltz.edu.  

+  Can I get a refund on my cap and gown?

Our cap and gown provider, Herff Jones, has confirmed that students will be able to receive refunds for unused regalia. More details will be posted at https://newpaltz.edu/commencement/.

+  If I'm graduating this spring, can I still get my diploma?

Diplomas will be distributed directly to individual graduating seniors and graduate students once all course requirements are completed and Records & Registration clears each candidate for degree conferral.

Other Spring Semester Events

+  Will there be campus events?

Update, March 16, 2020:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance on Sunday, March 15, recommending that for the next eight weeks, in-person events consisting of 50 people or more, anywhere in the United States, should be cancelled or postponed.

Consistent with that guidance and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s directive issued Monday, March 16, SUNY New Paltz has decided to extend the cancellation of all campus events through May 10.

This includes the cancellation of Accepted Student Open Houses originally scheduled to take place on March 28 and April 4.

We are working to offer remote options for students to engage remotely with the campus and each other. We will notify you of these opportunities in the coming weeks.

+  Will there be athletic competitions?

There will be no competitions through the spring semester. In light of the NCAA’s decision to cancel the winter and spring sports championships, the State University of New York Athletic Conference has cancelled its spring sports season. The College will cancel its seasons as well for men’s and women’s sports in all conferences.

+  Have community programs been cancelled?

Yes. Programs including the Literacy Center and the Lifetime Learning Institute have been closed indefinitely, and the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will be discontinued for the remainder of the semester. 

Update, March 27

Effective immediately, the Curriculum Materials Center in Old Main Building will close for the remainder of the semester.