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Coronavirus Update: Planning for the Fall Continues

May 19, 2020

College community,

I want to open by expressing my most sincere thanks and appreciation for the work each of you has undertaken since mid-March to keep our College open and operational for the benefit of our students and community. Creativity and innovation; projects large and small; work that was visible and work that was done behind the scenes; crises and brushfires; planning and executing remote systems and services; supporting students and colleagues; and envisioning what’s possible at a moment’s notice … all done within an environment none of us could have envisioned.

As we cap the Spring semester this week and transition to Summer sessions next week, the College has begun considering how we will deliver academic instruction, provide support services and maintain College operations in the Fall.

There remains much uncertainty, and with that comes a level of anxiety. I know many of you are asking or wondering what our plans are for the Fall, particularly as we see the wide range of “re-opening” messages being shared by various of our colleagues at both community colleges and four-year institutions across the country. I wish I could give you concrete answers right now, but those simply don’t exist. There are too many variables to consider, and too many circumstances that can change in the coming months.

With certainty, I can say that while we’d welcome the chance to open the Fall semester in a more “normal” fashion with bustling campuses and full classrooms, we are preparing contingency plans for a semester in which we offer a blend of in-person and remote instruction. However, at this time we just can’t commit to how that will look, or exactly which courses will be affected.

Within the parameters of continued safe social distancing, we are also assessing how we refine remote student support services, how we’d provide some in-person services and how we transition employees back to their on-campus locations.

Throughout this pandemic, we have adhered to two core principles: maintain the health and safety of our College community and provide, with integrity, academic instruction and support services from a distance. From my perspective, we have lived those two principles over the past two months and they will guide us in our decision-making regarding the Fall.

It is my hope that we can announce more details about the Fall semester format in early June. That announcement will likely begin a cascade of messages throughout the summer that outline additional academic details, provide clarity on student services for the Fall and explain how we’ll integrate more employees back into the day-to-day campus operations.

I ask for your continued patience and welcome any suggestions you may have. Feel free to share them via the Ask Kris button on my webpage.

I again thank you for your commitment to our students and your passion for SUNY Orange.