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Q & A guide to Sullivan Forward COVID-19 testing can be found here.
Read Chancellor Malatras’s Emergency Uniform SUNY-Wide Safety Protocols to Strengthen Penalties for Reckless Behavior and Non-Compliance of COVID-19 Codes, click here.
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SUNY Implements Comprehensive COVID-19 Plan for Spring Semester to Include Mandatory COVID-19 Test for Returning Students at All Campuses, Moving the Spring Semester In-Person Start Date to February 1st, and No Spring Break
Continues to Require Frequent Surveillance Testing for COVID-19 at Every Campus During Semester
Face Coverings Will Be Required on Campus at All Times, Including in Classrooms
Campuses to Provide “What Students Should Know” Plain Language Information Detailing What Students Should Expect for Spring Semester So They Can Make Informed Decisions
Plan Subject to Any Changes in Federal and State Guidance
Complete Guidance Found Here
As New York State and the nation continue to grapple with the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras has outlined a sweeping, system-wide plan that will allow campuses to safely return to in-person instruction for the spring semester, subject to any changes in federal or New York State guidance. Developed in consultation with public health experts within the university system, as well as campus, faculty, student, and union leadership, the plan combines a series of new protocols with proven strategies already being employed across SUNY’s colleges and universities.
Main components of the comprehensive plan include:
- All students to be tested for COVID-19 upon return.
- Pushing the start date of the spring semester for in-person instruction until February 1, 2021.
- The cancellation of spring break in 2021.
- All returning students must complete a seven-day precautionary quarantine prior to their arrival on campus.
- Mandatory mask wearing at all times, even with social distancing.
- A “What Students Should Know” plain language information to be sent to all students so they know what to expect this spring at individual campuses, such as how many courses will be online, hybrid, or in person.
“With COVID-19 surging nationwide, and with increased cases in New York, SUNY has devised a comprehensive plan to keep this virus at bay throughout the flu season and through the spring semester,” said Chancellor Malatras. “We’ve demonstrated this past fall that by implementing an aggressive strategy to manage COVID, students can safely return to campus. These additional efforts—testing all students upon return, ongoing testing throughout the semester, pushing out the start of the spring semester, and mandatory masks at all times, coupled with uniform enforcement and compliance—illustrates that SUNY is setting a nationwide standard for controlling COVID-19 in the weeks and months to come. I have talked with countless students since August who have made tremendous sacrifices so that they can stay on campus and learn. Our students have done a remarkable job given the circumstances. This aggressive strategy gives us the best chance to return our students once again to classrooms in early 2021. But as we know, this is a fluid situation so we will continue to adapt and be flexible as issues emerge.”
Mandatory Testing of All Students Upon Return to Campus & Continued Surveillance Testing Throughout the Semester
Any student planning to live, work, or take classes on campus, or utilize campus facilities such as the library, gym, or dining hall must test for COVID-19 when they return for the winter and/or spring semester. Students must first confirm that they have completed a seven-day precautionary quarantine prior to returning to campus. They must then either present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days prior to their return, or submit to a campus-administered upon arrival—but no later than five days after their return to campus. Students who present documentation of a positive diagnostic test within the prior three months are exempt from the return test.
In addition to mandatory pre-testing, all students must complete a seven-day precautionary quarantine prior to returning to campus.
SUNY has the capacity to process approximately 200,000 COVID-19 tests per week, thanks in large part to the cutting-edge, FDA-approved saliva test developed by SUNY Upstate Medical University.
Pursuant to SUNY’s mandatory surveillance testing program announced back in September, colleges will resume regular surveillance testing for students, faculty, and staff as on-campus services resume. Since August, SUNY has conducted 371,701 COVID-19 tests with an overall positivity rate of 0.48 percent.
Push the Start of In-Person Instruction for the Spring Semester Until February 1
To reduce additional risks associated with flu season, winter term instruction will be fully remote, and spring term instruction must remain remote until February 1. During this timeframe, exceptions will be granted for clinical practicums, specialized research, and applied learning experiences that require students to be physically present. Campuses must notify SUNY System Administration of any courses that require in-person instruction. Pooled surveillance testing will remain available for students engaged in this type of hands-on coursework during this timeframe.
SUNY Community Colleges, that are members of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), have continued collaborative efforts to assess and plan for what we hope will be the safe resumption of spring sports, including traditional fall sports that have been moved to spring, per NJCAA 2021 Sports Guidelines.
Campuses will have the option to either cancel intercollegiate athletics, sponsor Return to Play/Practice (RTP) or Return to Competition (RTC) Plans. RTP Plans offer the option to hold on-campus workouts and training with student-athletes, in a structured and monitored environment, without engaging in competition. Detailed, sport specific RTC Guides have been developed, and while there will be autonomy on each campus for health and safety policies, SUNY CCs will adopt RTC requirements that each member institution will be expected to follow in order to compete. RTC Guides were informed by governing athletic associations, and made to be consistent with CDC, NYS Guidelines, SUNY and local DOH, and institutional recommendations and protocols.
Each institution’s RTP and/or RTC Plans are dependent on local COVID-19 data, being able to safely resume operations and being approved by their respective local DOH. NJCAA SUNY Community College decisions will continue to be guided by best practice and cautious adherence to health and safety protocols intended to safeguard the well-being of our student-athletes, staff, campuses, and communities. We commit to ongoing collaborative efforts in support of our student-athletes.
At this time, SUNY Sullivan is committed to working to find a safe path to return to competition in the traditional Spring sports of Baseball, Men’s & Women’s Track and Men’s & Women’s Golf. It is our hope that we will be able to provide opportunities to our dedicated student/athletes that have worked hard to put themselves in a position to compete for our nationally recognized Athletic Program. We realize that our stance is fluid and contingent upon standards and guidelines set by SUNY, NYS and Sullivan County. All of our plans will continue to be developed and refined in accordance with SUNY Sullivan’s COVID Re-Opening Plan, the NJCAA Guidelines on return to Competition and our local Health Department recommendations. If it is safe and possible, we will provide an environment for our Generals to once again return to competition. Go Generals!
Spring Break Cancelled to Limit Potential Spread of the Virus
Given the risks associated with COVID-19 spread and travel, spring break and other holiday break periods are cancelled for all SUNY campuses. Campuses are allowed to build in single-day, midweek reading days throughout the semester as an alternative instructional pause. If colleges opt to do so, students will be highly discouraged from leaving campus. Any on-campus services in support of religious observances must follow normal density, face-covering, and quarantine/isolation protocols.
Masks at All Times
Face coverings will now be required in classrooms, conference rooms, and all other public spaces where students are not by themselves, even when six feet of social distancing is possible. Students eating in dining halls must be seated and remain socially distanced.
Data Transparency Continues
Just as they have this fall, colleges will report positive cases daily via SUNY’s easily accessible COVID-19 Case Tracker. The database tallies tests and active cases by campus and provides trends and positivity rates in rolling three-, seven-, and 14-day intervals, allowing people to understand the trajectory of the virus at any given time.
Also mirroring the fall semester and in accordance with New York State of Department of Health guidance, colleges that eclipse either 100 active cases or an on-campus positivity rate above five percent within prescribed two-week windows must pause in-person learning and activities for two weeks. All campus dining and food service options must also be converted to take out and delivery. In these scenarios, residential facilities remain open and students stay on campus.
Students with Special Circumstances
To protect students’ families and hometown communities and prevent community spread, SUNY is requiring testing for approximately 140,000 students prior to their departure from campus for Thanksgiving break. From that point on, the majority of students will complete their fall coursework remotely off-campus.
However, students with special circumstances or facing unique challenges can request permission to remain on campus between Thanksgiving and the start of the spring semester. Those granted permission will be routinely tested for COVID-19. These students will have access to meals. Trained staff will remain on campus and attendant to students’ needs, and can connect students who feel isolated or lonely to mental health and wellness services.
In October, recognizing the nationwide uptick in mental health and wellness needs due to the impact of COVID-19, SUNY expanded access to mental health services to every student. The expansion included a new partnership with Thriving Campus, an app that more effectively connects students to a network of more than 6,000 licensed mental health services providers in their geographic vicinity. It also expanded both tele-counseling and peer-to-peer assistance services.
Campuses will continue to assist students with access to devices and internet connectivity in order for students to be successful with remote instruction.
Uniform Enforcement Standards
Chancellor Malatras’ uniform emergency disciplinary standards will be extended through the spring semester so that every effort can be made to ensure compliance with the necessary COVID-19 safety protocols. The uniform policy was drafted in consultation with campuses across the system. The vast majority of students are complying. Students who violate COVID-19 safety protocols face immediate academic and housing suspension, as well as possible dismissal, and student organizations in non-compliance face a permanent campus ban.
SUNY Sullivan Hybrid Learning Format For Fall Semester
SUNY Sullivan has moved all instruction to a hybrid format for the fall semester. The majority of courses are offered remotely, with classes that meet at specific times and feature real-time interaction through distance learning platforms. Students will also be able to stay on track with flexible study options. Certain classes will be conducted in a hybrid environment with a combination of in-person and distance learning instruction. And student support activities, such as tutoring, advising, counseling, and club activities, all of which help provide the full college experience, will take place in virtually networked communities.
“The SUNY Sullivan working groups have produced a plan that is designed to balance the desire to open against the risk of COVID-19 outbreak,” said SUNY Sullivan President Jay Quaintance. “The college has opted for a moderate course that ensures access to high quality programming without sacrificing safety concerns.”
Courses that do not require specialized equipment will be taught at a distance, limiting both faculty and student traffic on campus and further reducing the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Classes that involve laboratory experiences or clinical experiences, including nursing, respiratory care, medical assisting, culinary, and theater will include in-person instruction. This will help facilitate social distancing as the on-campus programs will have virtually unlimited space, and address social distancing issues in hallways and classrooms. These programs will front-load experiences to minimize disruption if there is a general campus shutdown, and most on campus instruction should conclude by Thanksgiving week. The semester will continue via distance learning instruction through Friday, December 18.
Given the circumstances of the current environment, all plans are subject to change due to new information, guidance, or direction from the state.
In coordination with the NJCAA, SUNY Sullivan will shift Volleyball, Men’s & Women’s Basketball and Wrestling to the Spring 2021 semester. At this time, Cross Country will remain as scheduled in the Fall 2020 semester. Spring sports, including Baseball, Men’s & Women’s Golf and Men’s & Women’s Outdoor Track and Field will remain intact with minor adjustments to dates.
Sullivan County Public Health has inspected the residence halls, and made recommendations which will be closely followed. The college will reopen and house between 150 and 170 students in single units. Students will be assigned to social “families” on their floor numbering 25 individuals, and each family will have designated times in bathroom and recreational facilities. In the event of an exposure the entire family would be tested and quarantined. Boxed meals would be available to quarantined students.
Students who arrive on campus will complete a health screening on the day of arrival, and at recommended intervals thereafter. The college plans to conduct mass testing of all students, and who have a documented exposure to COVID-19, or who have traveled outside of New York State in the previous 14-day period.
The campus provides and maintains hand hygiene stations throughout campus, including dispensers at all entrances, in bathrooms, and in public spaces. All employees, students, and visitors must wear face coverings when they come within 6 feet of another person on campus, with the exception of individuals who reside in the same residence.
Staff and students will each receive two reusable PPE masks. Programs that make social distancing difficult or improbable will have higher levels of PPE available, including face shields (for instance, for our campus heath service).
The campus health office will conduct training with students and staff designed to ensure that all individuals follow proper pandemic hygiene precautions – hand washing, social distancing, self-reporting and mask wearing. Campus Health and the Human Resources department will be responsible for health screenings, evaluating ill students or staff, and contacting public health.
The campus will adhere to CDC requirements for hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection requirements as outlined in the CDC/EPA Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting and the Cleaning and Disinfecting Decision Tool. Staff have access to sanitizer and cleaning wipes to disinfect frequently touched surfaces both before and after use, and our cleaning staff disinfect occupied spaces twice a week, keeping a log to ensure compliance. Restrooms, in particular, will receive regular cleaning and disinfection. In the event of a confirmed exposure on campus the facility will be closed, and a complete disinfection will occur after droplets have been allowed to settle. Our campus safety monitors are responsibility for disinfection compliance.
Public spaces have been redesigned to maintain social distancing requirements. In areas where staff and public must interact droplet barriers have been installed or planned – for instance, at the college’s One Stop registration center. Bathrooms have had their capacities lowered, and droplet barriers have been or will be placed between sinks and other fixtures, as required.
Students and staff who present as vulnerable populations will have a range of options available to them. After consultation with our disability services or HR office, as appropriate, they may be offered higher levels of PPE, increased social distancing, or modified content to ensure that they meet the learning outcomes of the course safely. Alternatively, students and staff may be allowed to complete assignments remotely.
Individuals who report an exposure, who report a positive test, or who are not feeling well will not be allowed to enter campus buildings. Individuals who meet the criteria for suspected COVID-19 exposure will, if staff or commuter students, be sent home immediately. Sullivan County Public Health will lead the contact tracing efforts.
Students will complete health screenings at least twice a week. Those with influenza like symptoms or other indicators of potential COVID-19 will be isolated and sent for testing, and our tracing protocol with Sullivan County Public Health will be activated. The college will monitor our daily isolation/tested/positive rate to ensure that an outbreak is not occurring, and we will remain in constant contact with Sullivan County Public Health to ensure that we are following recommendations regarding any possible shutdown.
Given the circumstances of the current environment, all plans are subject to change due to new information, guidance, or direction from the state. In the event of a shutdown decision, faculty are prepared to move to remote instruction for the fall semester.
If you have additional questions or concerns please reach out to the following campus contacts who are here to help:
Academic Policy question:
Register for classes or contact a personal counselor:
Financial Aid questions:
For questions regarding campus health services:
Pamela J. Jones, RN
Questions regarding Athletics Programs:
or Chris DePew
Questions regarding campus housing:
For a summary of our policies click here to go to our FAQs page.
For Information about student grants through Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, click here.
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation is changing rapidly, both domestically and abroad. SUNY Sullivan is working closely with the Sullivan County Department of Health, the State University of New York and other authorities to do our part to protect against the spread of the virus in our region.
We are closely monitoring this fluid situation and following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), Sullivan County Department of Health and the New York State Education Department.
There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health:
- Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty. It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you or a family member begin showing symptoms of a respiratory disease and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.
In addition, New York has established a Novel Coronavirus Hotline, which can provide additional information. Call 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms. SUNY Sullivan will continue to share information as it becomes available.
Please know that, as always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.
About the Novel Coronavirus
Recently, a new coronavirus – 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus which causes an illness called COVID-19 – was detected that has not been previously found in humans. This coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and shortness of breath. There are thousands of confirmed cases in China and additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally, including the United States with several cases recently reported in New York.
For more information go to
- CDC: Coronavirus
- World Health Organization: Coronavirus
- Local NYS County Health Departments: https://www.health.ny.gov/contact/contact_information/
- Sullivan County Health Department http://sullivanny.us/Departments/Publichealth/Coronavirus