Student Move-In Focused on Safety, Lower Density
Students are returning to campus residence halls over the course of six days at SUNY Plattsburgh, a phased-in approach to move-in that varies greatly from past years' large events.
Ahead of the fall semester that begins Monday, Aug. 24, students began moving in nearly a week early. The 10 residence halls are accepting up to 30 students each over the period, split between early and late afternoon shifts.
"Keep them safe, keep us safe, and keep our community safe," said Steve Matthews, director of campus housing and community living.
Students are limited to up to two guests for help during the move-in process. The helpers will need to wear face coverings and complete a health screening questionnaire along with each student when they arrive at their residence hall for move-in.
A mandatory social distancing and face-covering mask-wearing policy and a daily health screening on campus is in place for students, faculty and staff for the semester. Additionally, students were required to complete a health screening form daily for the 14 days before arriving. A link to the form is on the homepage of the website.
"I have a lot of faith in all of the students to come in and follow through with all of the regulations and rules, because at the end of the day we want to keep our community safe and each other safe," said senior and Student Association President Rudaba Ahmed.
The college expects about 1,700 students will be in residence halls, down from about 2,200 in a typical fall semester. Residence halls will have more limited access and designated isolation and quarantine space for such needs. Students can access Student Support Services, the Feinberg Library and a range of other assistance as they complete classes during the semester. About half of the courses will be in remote-learning formats and roughly one-third in face-to-face modes.
Students, staff, and faculty will have access to dining halls during regular service hours. Meals are available for take-out or eat-in service. Following New York State Department of Health recommendations, seating capacity is limited in dining venues by 50 percent. Students are allowed to sit at the tables and dine with their peers.
The college is following state protocols and procedures for re-opening the campus, including the residence halls. The Clinton County Health Department toured residence halls and provided input on the college's plan.
The college has also advanced education with the Cardinal Pledge, which is seen across campus and in communications. Included in the daily health screening form, the pledge for all members of the campus community includes agreeing to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash hands, avoid large social gatherings/parties, complete a daily health screen, and staying home when sick and informing the Student Health and Counseling Center (for students) and Human Resource Services (for faculty and staff).
Incoming freshman Alexandra Aponte from Warwick, N.Y., feels strongly about mask-wearing.
"I believe it's really respectful to wear your mask in front of other people – to keep other people safe and so we don't go home earlier than we have to," she said.