What is Paul Smith's College's current operating status?

Paul Smith’s College will open for residential housing and in-person instruction at the end of January 2021.

IMPORTANT NOTE: this page will not be updated in the event of a weather-related emergency closure or delay. Please visit our Emergency Information page for emergency updates.

How is the college making plans and decisions?

Emergency planning at Paul Smith’s College is a continuous effort led by a cross-functional team of faculty and staff. In January 2020 our Emergency Management Planning Group updated the college’s pandemic response plan to address the emerging threats of coronavirus and the seasonal flu.

In light of the widespread risks associated with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the college president has authorized a Fall Planning Task Force to monitor the rapidly-changing situation and lead campus-wide prevention and response.

The Task Force is charged with ensuring the health and safety of our community while also striving to avoid unnecessary disruption to our students, faculty, and staff. All policy decisions and official communications must be authorized by this group. If you have specific questions that are not answered by this page, please contact the Task Force at

Are visitors allowed on campus?

Families, friends, and other casual visitors are not permitted on campus. The following are currently the only types of guests allowed on campus provided they follow our health and safety protocols:

  • Business-critical vendors and partners

How can I visit with PSC students?

We are continuing our strict limited-visitor policy on campus. Here are suggestions for visiting:


Health & Safety

What can I do to stay safe?

  • Practice physical distancing.
  • Wear a face covering.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or flexed elbow, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people frequently touch.

How is the college handling COVID testing?

All employees are required to test the week of January 11, 2021. All students will be required to have a negative test 3-4 days prior to arriving on campus. Comprehensive testing of students and employees will be conducted the week of February 2-3, 2021.

Random testing will be ongoing throughout the semester. Individuals can obtain their test results by registering at

What happens if there is a COVID outbreak on campus?

In August 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo specified a trigger threshold that, if met, will require a shift to remote learning. This impacts colleges that report the lower of 100 or 5 percent of the campus population COVID-19 cases within a span of two weeks.

With our student population of approximately 650 students, our threshold is approximately 32 positive student cases. These numbers will be finalized when our Spring 2021 census is complete. If this threshold is reached, the following State required restrictions will apply for a two-week period:

  • All courses will shift to remote learning
  • Students may continue to stay in residence halls
  • No extracurricular or athletic activities can take place
  • Dining service will be restricted to take-out only

The Governor’s directive does not specify actions associated with positive cases of COVID affecting faculty and staff. This information will be shared when it becomes available.

What types of masks are OK?

We are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding which types of face coverings are effective. All face coverings, whether disposable or reusable, must:

  • be made with at least two layers of breathable material;
  • fully cover the nose and mouth;
  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face; and
  • be secured with ties or ear loops, allowing one to remain hands-free.

Recent studies regarding neck gaiters/buffs are inconclusive. Therefore, neck gaiters/buffs are an acceptable face covering, provided they meet the above requirements.

Face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind are not acceptable.

In some circumstances, such as working in a kitchen or doing food service, a face shield may be a practical substitute for a cloth mask. All use of face shields must be approved by the supervising Vice President. Shields should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.


How will students be supported in their studies?

We are elevating the college’s award-winning academic support. Key focus areas include:

  • Student access to high-speed internet and computer devices while off campus.
  • Student and faculty comfort level with online learning and computer-based classes.
  • Student needs for accommodative services, tutoring, and maintaining good habits for staying on track.

Our Center for Academic and Career Success is open. Peer Tutoring, Peer Writing, and Supplemental Instruction services are available. Please click here for details.

What type of computer will I need?

PSC has a “bring your own device” policy which requires all students attending the college to bring a PC laptop computer (not a tablet or a Mac) with them.

Please click here for details, including links to suggested models that meet the requirements. This also includes detailed computer specifications for majors (Ecological Restoration, Environmental Science, Forestry, Fisheries/Wildlife Sciences, Biology, Natural Resources and Conservation Management and Sustainability) which have additional requirements.

Students can include the expense of purchasing a laptop in their “cost of attendance” for financial aid. Please reach out to the Financial Aid Office if you have questions about this.


What is the plan for scheduled events?

All large-group events have been canceled through the end of the Fall 2020 semester.

For all student activities and co-curricular events, the college will maintain state and CDC guidelines such as facial coverings, social distancing, and not hosting group events for more than state mandated limits at any given time. Participants are required to wear masks or appropriate facial coverings and practice social distancing with a minimum distance of six feet at all co-curricular events and activities.

Attendance at campus events will be limited to Paul Smith’s College students, faculty, and staff. The general public will not be permitted to attend. Attendance at group gatherings will not exceed state mandated limits at any given time.

Events will be designated to occur in outdoor locations whenever possible based on programming and weather conditions.

Maximum capacity for indoor events will be designated as a reduced percentage of typical room occupancy.

How do reserve a meeting room or other campus space?

  • Campus spaces being reserved for any event must be reserved by a faculty or staff member.
  • The online booking calendar will remain offline.  Please us the online form to request space,
  • All requests must be submitted at least 5 business days in advance with the following information:
    • Event name
    • Date & time of event
    • Space requested
    • A/V needed
    • Number of participants
    • Required setup
    • How will health and safety protocols be enforced?
  • All extracurricular events must be attended by a faculty or staff member, all club sponsored events must be attended by either the club faculty/staff advisor or the student club president.  This person will be required to ensure health and safety protocols are being followed at the event.
    • Required health & safety protocols:
      • All participants must be wearing a mask during the duration of the event
      • Seating will be properly socially distanced and will not be moved by participants.
      • Any event using tables or desk, participants must use the provided brown paper to cover their table area.
  • All extracurricular events held Sunday – Thursday must end by 9:00 p.m.
  • Any space that has been converted to a classroom will only be available set as a classroom.  Primarily the Pine Room and Adirondack Room.
  • Tabling in the Alumni Commons will be limited to two tables at a time.
  • Space will be assigned based on what is appropriate for the number of attendees and event needs.
  • All events will be for the campus community only, outside guests will not be permitted unless permission has been provided by the Cabinet.

Is the Dining Hall open?

Lakeside Dining is open as follows:

Monday – Thursday

  • Continental Breakfast: 6:30 a.m.
  • Hot Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
  • Lunch: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Dinner: 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Late Night: 8:30 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.


  • Continental Breakfast: 6:30 a.m.
  • Hot Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
  • Lunch: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Dinner: 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.


  • Breakfast: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
  • Brunch: 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • Dinner: 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.


  • Breakfast: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
  • Brunch: 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • Dinner: 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Late Night: 8:30 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.

Please note that when the dining hall is not open, the doors will be shut.

In order to ensure proper safety, there will be a limit of 50 seats in the dining hall. During all meal periods you will have the option of taking your meals to go. All hot meals will be served by staff from a buffet line to allow you to select your items. Cold items will be prepackaged for you to grab. We will be offering made to order deli sandwiches and burritos Monday – Friday.

Late night will be to-go only, there will be no seating available.

Additional hand sanitizer stations have been setup around the dining hall. Per New York State, masks are required whenever you are not seated at a table. For those who decide to dine in, we ask that you leave your plates, cups, utensils, etc. on the table and we will bus and disinfect the table after you leave.

We ask that you use the Blue Room exit or the exit to the deck as much as possible to help keep directional traffic in the dining hall. Social distancing markers will be placed on the floor and at eye level. Reminders to wear your mask will also be posted. Please be respectful of the staff if they remind you to put on your mask or take a step back.

Is the Hutch open?

The Hutch is open Monday – Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

The Hutch will not close from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. as it did in the past.

NEW:  individuals will be able to pick up two meals at a time. All Lunch items will be available starting at 7:30 a.m. Due to space limitations dinner items will not be available until 2:00 p.m.

What buildings and offices are open?

Please click here for a detailed description of campus access and services.

Can I travel?

There will be no college-sponsored travel outside of the NY-designated North Country region during the Fall 2020 semester, with the possible exception of limited athletic team travel. Travel within the NY-designated North Country region is permissible; however, faculty are encouraged to minimize the number of labs or classes which require transportation.

Students and employees are encouraged to eliminate or minimize personal travel out of the NY-designated North Country region.

Community members planning personal travel are strongly advised to avoid all nonessential travel to countries under a CDC Level 3 warning. Those making international travel plans should check the CDC’s Travel Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations.


The pledge includes a requirement to "participate in efforts to advance social justice, diversity and inclusion." What does this mean?

The pledge is all about maintaining a healthy campus. Mental and emotional well-being depend on people feeling secure and valued as members of our community. We plan to offer various forums, workshops, and similar programs to explore this on campus, and encourage everyone to take part in this important dialogue. Based on current events there will be a focus on antiracism and the Black Lives Matter movement. The college stands firmly with the values of BLM. We are also first and foremost an educational, not political or activist, institution.

What happens if the pledge is violated?

Students who flagrantly violate our health and safety protocols will be directed to leave campus and complete the semester via remote learning with no room or board charges refunded.

Students who host or attend large parties of 50 people or more will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension, with no refund of room or board charges.

Faculty & Staff

Are employees able to work from home?

The office of Human Resources is available to assist in situations where you may have concerns about returning to work. The College offers a Flexible Workplace Policy to help meet the needs of individual employees. Specifics are to be coordinated between you and your supervisor with guidance from Human Resources.

Where can I find Canvas/online teaching resources?

  • Faculty are encouraged to join the new Faculty Peer Group: Online Teaching in MS Teams to help share tips and resources and ask questions. This will supplement the Canvas Faculty Learning Center.
  • Important reminder: all material needs to be organized in Canvas. If you use external tools, make sure you include the link in Canvas.
  • A recorded Microsoft webinar “Online classes & lectures with all your students” can be viewed at this link.

How do I handle unplanned COVID-related expenses?

Any costs outside the planned budget require approval by the supervising Vice President. Please code expenses and invoices to the account 1-4451-40400 for tracking purposes.

Key Contacts

COVID Coordinator
Teresa Grosskopf
(518) 327-6451

Student Health Services
Abigail Smith, RN, BSN, Director
(518) 327-6349

Housing & Residence Life
Lou Kaminski, Director
(518) 327-6488

Campus Safety
Holly Parker, Director
(518) 327-6300