What You Need to Know About COVID-19 at SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College is taking proactive measures to protect the safety and security of students, faculty, and staff while closely monitoring the development of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The college is in close contact with SUNY System Administration and the New York State Department of Health and will share updates and new guidance quickly with the SUNY Empire community. 

In order to help reduce density, most of our campus locations will follow a distance learning model beginning March 17, 2020 and continuing through the Spring 2021 terms. This map helps you find your SUNY Empire location and determine if it is open by appointment only or following a distance learning model:


 


Certain campus locations will be open to students by appointment only. Those campus locations are:

  • Saratoga Springs
    • 111 West Ave Student Campus Center

Despite following a distance learning model, several campus locations are equipped with eduroam, a higher education roaming WiFi service that provides internet access to students using their same SUNY Empire network credentials even from a building's exterior. Those locations are:

  • Rochester
  • Saratoga Springs
    • 2 Union Ave
    • 111 West Ave
    • 113 West Ave Student Campus Center
  • Selden

The following campus locations will be full distance learning:

  • Albany
  • Auburn
  • Binghamton
  • Brooklyn
  • Buffalo (Cheektowaga)
  • Corning
  • Fort Drum
  • Harlem
  • Harry Van Arsdale Jr. School for Labor Studies
  • Hartsdale
  • Hauppauge
  • Lakewood
  • Latham
  • Manhattan
  • Olean
  • Rochester
  • Rockefeller Institute of Government (Albany)
  • Queensbury
  • Saratoga Springs (2 Union, 111 West Ave)
  • Schenectady
  • Selden
  • Staten Island
  • Syracuse (East Syracuse)

As vaccine distribution advances, SUNY Empire is continually evaluating all contingencies related to student, faculty, and staff safety. Any re-opening plan will be done so in consultation with SUNY administrators, as well as federal, state, and local authorities.

Academic Support Services

Educational and Emerging Technologies offers faculty the ability to book one-on-one support at a distance with an Educational Technologies or other campus expert to for support on topics such as course design, LMS/Moodle training, accessibility review, or training on SUNY Empire supported communications platforms. In addition, we have increased the number of synchronous technology training and professional development opportunities for both faculty and students to better facilitate the transition to incorporating remote pedagogies in their teaching and learning. The college service desk offers flexible hours for faculty and students to receive technical support through the use of the newly enhanced online portal. 

International Student Services

Beginning in April 2019 and continuing in the Fall 2020-21 and Spring 2021 terms, all international travel for students and faculty has ceased.   All SUNY Empire classes previously held in a classroom-based capacity abroad were converted to a completely online format with synchronous classes held multiple times per week in all cases.    

Online classes will continue at all sites in Europe, the Middle East and in Latin America through the current Spring 2021 term.   

Student Support Services

SUNY Empire continues to offer robust student services virtually, including:

At the limited-open locations noted above, we will offer the following in-person services by appointment only:

  • Student services
  • Academic support
  • Computer labs

Mental Health Resources

In addition to the mental health resources that SUNY provides all students, as well as our own health and wellness offeringsSUNY Empire also partners with ThrivingCampus, an application providing access to local mental health professionals. This application allows students to find local mental health options by filtering for the types of requirements they are looking for in a mental health provider. Students without health insurance are able to find providers who work on a sliding scale based upon income for payment.  

Campus Activities

  • Campus activities will be moved to virtual for summer 2020.
  • There may be some special exceptions, which must be approved by the Office of Administration.
  • SUNY Empire will celebrate and recognize our spring 2021 graduates with a virtual commencement ceremony on June 5 beginning at 12pm. We have successfully celebreated two other sessions of graduates in a virtual setting. 

Location Expectations and Protocols

Social Distancing and Face Coverings

  • All students, faculty, staff, and visitors will be required to adhere to social distancing restrictions and wear face coverings in public areas and in individual office spaces (unless alone)
  • SUNY Empire employees are required to wear face coverings when in direct contact with members of the public
  • reasonable accommodation request will be needed if wearing a face covering would inhibit or impair the employee’s health

Personal Protective Equipment

  • PPE will be available to all students, staff, and faculty who enter into one of our open facilities
  • PPE will be distributed at the entrances to all of our buildings and shall include masks and hand sanitizer
Protocols for locations that will be open on a limited basis:
  • No more than 25% personnel
  • Only personnel designated by the college as mission critical
  • Pre-approval required
  • Staff may be placed on staggered work schedules
  • Wearing of masks at all times except when alone
  • Student services by appointment only
  • Meetings will satisfy social distancing protocols
  • All faculty, staff, students, and visitors will sign in upon entry to all SUNY Empire buildings to assist identification in the event that contact tracing or other emergency notification is required.
  • Classrooms, computer labs, and all meetings rooms are arranged to ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines
  • Office space in the college will be designed and marked to ensure path-of-travel as well as entrance and exits to avoid two-way doorways
Office space protocols:
  • Shared offices will be reduced to a single person
  • Employees in cubicle space, if deemed mission critical, will have staggered work times to limit density
  • Bathrooms will be addressed by closing every other stall and sink
  • Floors will be marked for path-of-travel to paper towels and garbage receptacles
  • All employees will be required to follow good hygiene and infection control practices including hand washing, encouraging staff to stay home when sick, and encouraging proper respiratory etiquette for coughs and sneezes
Protocols for out-of-state travelers:
  • Any visitor, student, or employee at a SUNY Empire location who is traveling from or has visited one of the states listed in the New York State Department of Health's COVID-19 Travel Advisory must complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
  • All travelers from out of state must complete the New York State Department of Health's Traveler Health Form. The form may be completed online, or a student, employee, or visitor may take a screenshot of the final page of the form and submit it to Director of Facilities Joshua Fleming at joshua.fleming@esc.edu

Who is Mission Critical?

  • In conjunction with Human Resources, directors and program leaders will determine which employees are necessary to carry out the mission critical functions of each department.
  • The Office of the President has final authority on designations.

Vulnerable Populations

  • SUNY Empire is able to accommodate students and employees that are concerned about returning to on-site work and studies due to health concerns and personal circumstances
  • Accommodations may include but are not limited to: use of remote working agreements, online courses, staggered work schedules, and reasonable accommodation requests

Cleaning Protocols

SUNY Empire Leased Space

  • Each custodial service provider (external contractor) will be required to submit their COVID cleaning protocols and procedures to the Office of Facilities, which will review each plan to ensure it complies with New York State and SUNY Empire guidelines and maintain a copy on file. Checks will be completed by the Office of Facilities and the Office of Safety and Security to ensure quality control on at least a monthly basis.
  • SUNY Empire cleaning staff will coordinate their daily cleaning schedules based on pre-approved staff that are working on site and the surrounding common areas. The custodial staff clean and disinfect common areas including entrance doors, kitchens and bathrooms on a daily basis.
  • SUNY Empire will continue the cleaning and disinfection of high-density and high-touch areas at an increased frequency. These areas include building and elevator lobbies, restrooms, common area furniture and fixtures, countertops, shared conference spaces, and building mats and handrails. Office of Human Resources will coordinate with Facilities regarding supplemental cleanings as part of contact tracing and suspected infected employee or student protocols.
  • HVAC/air filtration systems are tested on a regular preventative maintenance schedule. SUNY Empire also works closely with property management staff to ensure that all leased properties also are in compliance with air quality regulations and preventative maintenance

SUNY Empire Owned Space

  • SUNY Empire cleaning staff will coordinate their daily cleaning schedules based on pre-approved staff that are working on site and the surrounding common areas. The custodial staff clean and disinfect common areas including entrance doors, kitchens and bathrooms on a daily basis.
  • SUNY Empire will continue the cleaning and disinfection of high-density and high-touch areas at an increased frequency. These areas include building and elevator lobbies, restrooms, common area furniture and fixtures, countertops, shared conference spaces, and building mats and handrails. Office of Human Resources will coordinate with Facilities regarding supplemental cleanings as part of contact tracing and suspected infected employee or student protocols.
  • HVAC/air filtration systems are tested on a regular preventative maintenance schedule and will be maintained in compliance with state regulations and guidelines. SUNY Empire also works closely with property management staff to ensure that all leased properties also are in compliance with air quality regulations and preventative maintenance

Transportation, Mail and General Delivery Services

SUNY Empire continues to provide mail services to all of our locations twice per week and will expand this service to three days per week when limited staff return to on-site operations. The mail room sorts the mail by department and scans documents to the requisite departments based on their instructions.

Shutdown Contingency Plan

In the event the State of New York determines there is a significant risk of a second phase of COVID-19 to students and staff at higher educational institutions, SUNY Empire has prepared a Shutdown Contingency Plan that is activated under the direction of the college president.

The scope of the plan includes the administrative operations of the college as well as academic activities, including those performed online or from a distance. An essential component of the plan is mission critical activities (MCAs). These are activities that cannot be stopped for the given time period and examples include the disbursement of financial aid, student academic services or the disbursement of employee paychecks.

The plan is based on a process that can be followed to activate continuity measures within 12 hours of notification.

Testing and Tracing

 The CDC has provided institutions of higher education with a resource guide on testing students and staff for COVID-19. The guide located at Testing, Screening, and Outbreak Response for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) Updated Dec. 16, 2020 was referenced when deciding the testing regimen that would be implemented at SUNY Empire. This section of the plan provides an overview of our health screening assessment tool through pooled testing and an update in these guidelines for the spring semester. 

  • We will continue to work closely with local health departments to participate in the region’s contact tracing program in case of any COVID-19 positive cases.
  • Any individual may get a COVID-19 test at a state location. Find a testing site near you.
  • A mobile application has been developed by SUNY that will aid in screening and tracking employees reporting to on-site work. It is also available as a web-based application.
  • SUNY Empire will utilize this technology to ensure that we are meeting our density targets as well reaffirming our daily COVID screening questions.
  • This application will help us work with state and local health departments’ contact tracing program to ensure the fastest possible notification in the event of a positive case.

Contact Us with Questions or Concerns

Students: Contact the Student Information Center at 1stop@esc.edu or 1-800-847-3000, ext. 2285.

Employees: Contact Director of Facilities Joshua Fleming at joshua.fleming@esc.edu.

Media: Contact Assistant Vice President of Communications and Marketing Solomon Syed at solomon.syed@esc.edu

 

SUNY Empire State College is taking proactive measures to protect the safety and security of students, faculty, and staff while closely monitoring the development of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The college is in close contact with SUNY System Administration and the New York State Department of Health and will share updates and new guidance quickly with the SUNY Empire community.

Spring 2021 SUNY Empire Plan

SUNY Empire State College has released its plan for instruction and services for the spring semester. The plan has been approved by the State University of New York.

Read the plan

SUNY Empire COVID-19 Emergency Educational Grant

Our Emergency Educational Grant program has helped more than 900 SUNY Empire students continue their academic pursuits despite new financial challenges imposed by the pandemic. While funds for the fall term have been awarded, we are still accepting gifts.

Students, please continue to check back for updates on the availability for new awards

Support the Effort

Important Resources

The SUNY Empire State College community is volunteering, organizing, and donating their time and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read about the good work being done across the state.

Contact Us with Questions or Concerns

Students: Contact the Student Information Center at 1stop@esc.edu or 1-800-847-3000, ext. 2285.

Employees: Contact Director of Facilities Joshua Fleming at joshua.fleming@esc.edu.

Media: Contact Assistant Vice President of Communications and Marketing Solomon Syed at solomon.syed@esc.edu@esc.edu

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