Booster Shots Recommended
The CDC and Orange County Department of Health are strongly recommending COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for anyone 18 or older.
Message from Dr. Kristine Young
Announcing Changes to Operational and Instructional Plans for Spring 2022 in Response to Omicron Variant
As 2021 draws to a close, I hope each member of our College community enjoyed a happy and healthy holiday. As we’ve moved through this festive time of year and now prepare for a return to operations next week, we’ve watched the omicron variant drive escalating numbers of positive COVID cases and hospitalizations throughout New York and the Hudson Valley.
Given the current health landscape, it is prudent that we act now with definitive and purposeful adjustments to our operational plans that are intended to preserve the overall health and safety of our College community in the coming weeks as a post-New Year’s surge is a certainty.
Today I am announcing that our key Spring 2022 semester dates (Jan. 3 for return to operations and Jan. 20 for the start of academic instruction) will remain as they are on academic calendar. However, we will implement a “delayed start” to our in-person operations upon our return to campuses on Monday. Likewise, we will spend the first seven class days of the Spring 2022 semester in a mostly remote delivery of academic instruction. These changes provide us all with some distance between holiday gatherings and our in-person activities on campus so that we can be on the strongest possible footing once we get back to in-person operations and academics. Aside from these adjustments, our Spring 2022 COVID Response Plan remains largely unchanged.
College employees (with the exception of Safety and Security, and Facilities who will report as usual)) should prepare, to the best extent possible, to work remotely on Monday (Jan. 3). By the end of the day on Monday, administrative leadership and department managers will outline internal plans for necessary in-person staffing, based upon operational needs, for the period from Tuesday, Jan. 4 through Friday, Jan. 14. They will also communicate any needed information for a successful two-week remote work period for those who will work from home. Our primary objective is to continue supporting the enrollment and registration process for the semester. Employees should direct questions to their supervisors on Monday. Barring any unforeseen circumstances related to COVID, all staff will report back to campus Tuesday, Jan. 18.
Academic instruction will commence on Thursday, Jan. 20 with all classes meeting remotely (except for those courses and labs that will be identified as being required to meet in person). Students should keep an eye on your @sunyorange.edu email in January for further instructions on how to access courses on Jan. 20. Beginning on Jan. 3, students may direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. All planned in-person, on-campus classes for the Spring 2022 semester will begin meeting in person on Monday, Jan. 31.
Additionally, all students registered for in-person, on-campus courses, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to participate in on-campus surveillance testing during the week of Jan. 24-28. Students may elect to submit a negative COVID test online in lieu of participating in surveillance testing (test must not be dated earlier than Jan. 24). Surveillance testing schedules and instructions will be announced in January. Those members of the College community who have had a positive PCR test should not participate in surveillance testing for 90 days from the date of their positive test. Employees are highly encouraged to participate in surveillance testing between Jan. 24 and 28 as well.
Also, I have determined that we will prohibit on-campus visitors for the month of January, with the exception of those who are here to conduct necessary business.
I’m seeing reports that those who have been fully vaccinated, and have received a booster, are largely experiencing mostly mild symptoms. Therefore, I encourage students and staff to strongly consider getting a booster shot if you are eligible. We are partnering with Orange County to bring booster PODS to our campuses on Jan. 13 and 14, as well as perhaps later in January. More details to follow.
Below you will find key dates and info. It is important that we act decisively now so we are all confidently working together in pursuit of a successful, safe and healthy Spring 2022 semester. As always, I appreciate your flexibility as we continue to react to our changing environment.
Dr. Kristine Young
- 3 (Monday): administrative planning day (College employees, aside from Safety and Security and Facilities should work remotely)
- 4 (Tuesday): Beginning of limited employee presence on campuses, based upon operational needs
- 13-14 (Thursday-Friday): On-campus booster PODS scheduled for the Middletown campus on Jan. 13 and the Newburgh campus on Jan. 14. Times TBA
- 18 (Tuesday): All academic and administrative offices return to in-person operations
- 20 (Thursday): Spring 2022 semester begins with remote instruction for ALL courses (exceptions are those designated courses and labs that require hands-on instruction)
- 24 (Monday): Testing period begins. All students registered for in-person, on-campus courses, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to participate in on-campus surveillance testing during this week (Jan. 24-28). Students may elect to submit a negative COVID test online in lieu of participating in surveillance testing (test must not be dated earlier than Jan. 24). Surveillance testing schedules and instructions will be announced in January.
- 31 (Monday): ALL courses identified as in-person, on-campus classes and labs return to in-person learning (established remote courses continue in their assigned modalities)
Masks, Mask Types, and Distancing
During the Spring 2022 semester, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, must mask up upon entering any campus building and remain masked, unless eating or drinking, in all common areas, including classrooms, lounges, hallways, etc.
Please note: Gaiter-style face coverings will no longer be acceptable. While cloth masks are still acceptable, College employees and students are strongly encouraged to upgrade to surgical masks, KN95 or N95 masks.
Additionally, our Facilities staff has increased the number of mask dispensing stands on both campuses so that most every entrance to our buildings will be outfitted with a stand to assure all members of the College community have access to masks.
Vaccinated individuals may be unmasked on the external grounds of the campuses (outside of campus buildings, in parking lots, etc.), but must maintain safe social distancing at all times during all on-campus activities, both inside and outside. Special attention to social distancing is expected while eating or drinking. Unvaccinated visitors will be expected to wear masks at all times, whether indoors or outdoors.
Beginning Feb. 1, 2022, SUNY Orange looks forward to welcoming more visitors back to campus for approved activities in Spring 2022. Indoor spaces will still be prioritized for courses and student use, but the College hopes to expand opportunities for members of the general community to reconnect with our campuses.
Visitors will be permitted on campus for a specific purpose, for a set period of time, and must adhere to the College’s Spring COVID Response Plan. Vaccinated visitors will be expected to wear masks at all times indoors. Unvaccinated visitors will be expected to wear masks at all times, whether indoors or outdoors.
Visitors are broadly defined as individuals who are not employees, credit students, or non-credit students of the College. In Spring 2022, approved activities of the College will remain those activities that have a defined sponsor and that are clearly fixed in time and space. Examples include but are certainly not limited to: Cultural Affairs public events, admissions and financial aid sessions or appointments, campus tours for prospective students, and external group reservations of a meeting space if sponsored by a specific employee/department. Attendance at indoor events where visitors are welcomed will be capped at a suitable number so as to allow for safe social distancing.
All other campus visits will be by appointment/registration to facilitate contact tracing should this become necessary. Employees may also welcome individual visitors to campus to conduct business, such as vendors, professional colleagues, speakers, and similar. All visitors must comply with masking, social distancing, and other campus health and safety protocols.
Indoor visitors to our campuses without a reservation, corresponding event, or sponsoring employee/department cannot be accommodated during the Spring semester. Access to campus libraries, micro-markets and associated dining areas, lounges and public areas shall be accessible only to current SUNY Orange students and employees.
Examples of activities not approved for visitors include, but are not limited to: public library use, use of micro-markets and associated dining areas, use of computer kiosks, use of waiting areas. Outdoor visitors without a clearly defined activity (walkers, those reading on benches, those waiting for a friend, etc.) are welcome.
If you feel sick and have symptoms of a virus, you should stay home and contact your doctor or healthcare provider. Do not go to your doctor or urgent care without calling first. They can direct you on the proper way to visit their office or how best to address your symptoms at home if they are mild.