Message from the President / Reopening Announcement

To: Paul Smith’s College students, faculty and staff

Delivered: July 9, 2020

Dear Paul Smith’s Students, Faculty and Staff,

It feels a lifetime ago that we were forced to abruptly shut down all campus activities and complete the Spring 2020 semester remotely. Since that time we have been hard at work developing plans to reopen in the fall, balancing safety considerations with our commitment to offer a meaningful PSC education.

Today I’m writing to confirm that we plan to open as communicated a few weeks ago with the first day of classes starting on August 18th. Please note that due to the ever-changing nature of this pandemic, we may need to adjust our actions. Any such change in status will be communicated immediately for your planning.

Below is the planned Fall 2020 calendar. The schedule anticipates a “normal” Spring 2020 semester start.

For this Fall, students who are unable to arrive on campus early due to summer schedule conflicts or other challenges are encouraged to contact the Center for Academic and Career Success at to request accommodations.

Move-In Calendar

August 1:  Move-in for students arriving from states and regions that have a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19.
August 3:  Local students may deposit their belongings; no overnight stays are permitted.
August 10:  Student athletes move-in.
August 13:  First-year students begin move-in.
August 14–16:  All remaining students move-in.
August 14–17:  New student welcome/orientation.

Academic Calendar

August 18:  First day of classes
November 20:  Last day of face-to-face classes on campus
November 30-December 7:  End of semester capstones, exams and other projects handled remotely

This modified schedule, similar to those adopted by colleges nationwide, will reduce the number of times students typically travel to and from the region, as well as allow a safe return home prior to the flu season.

As national trends have shown, outcomes are dependent on behaviors. Each of us is responsible for the well-being of all. So often the PSC family has demonstrated the ability to come together and care for each other. I know that Smitties will step up and follow the thoughtful protocols that we have put in place, ensuring a safe and successful academic year for all!

Please note some additional important information:

  • We strongly encourage everyone, especially those coming from high risk areas, to get a COVID-19 test seven days before coming to campus.
  • Per state regulations, anyone coming from a high-risk area will need to be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.
  • All other students must self-quarantine at home for seven days before arriving on campus.
  • Everyone will be screened upon arrival; anyone reporting symptoms will be tested immediately.
  • We are finalizing our plans for additional testing during the semester. More information will be shared as these plans develop.
  • COVID-related questions may be emailed to the COVID Coordinator at

Additional Information

The current version of the reopening plan is available on the college website. Key information includes:

Health and Safety

Individuals arriving from states and regions that have a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Please refer to the NY State Covid-19 Travel Advisory website for a current list of affected locations. Students from these areas will be able to quarantine on campus and are encouraged to arrive by August 1 so that the quarantine period is complete before classes begin. No additional room or board fee will be charged. We also encourage those coming from high-risk areas to get tested before arrival and bring their test results with them. All other students are asked to self-quarantine for 7 days prior to their arrival on campus; those who do not will be required to self-quarantine for 7 days upon arrival.

Prior to arriving on campus, students who demonstrate or self-report COVID-19 symptoms must take a PCR test and quarantine at home for 14 days and after symptoms disappear. The college will work with students in this circumstance to access their coursework remotely.

Support services for students in campus quarantine include contact-free delivery with food, medications and any other necessary items placed at the student’s door for pickup. In addition, there will be a daily health and welfare check.

Faculty and staff will begin a gradual return to campus in July, aligned with implementation of safe work conditions such as installation of barriers and other measures to maintain social distance. Policies and expectations with regards to safety will be communicated to each employee. Guidelines to address employee concerns about returning to work will include consideration of Flexible Work policy, health and safety, and ADA accommodations.

The college is working with Adirondack Health to coordinate health screening and testing. All students, faculty, and staff will complete a screening questionnaire upon arrival and each day afterward. We are currently assessing the viability and efficacy of testing all students 7 days after the semester begins, followed by random cohort testing of students, faculty and staff. Employees who need testing will arrange for it in collaboration with Human Resources.

PSC is committed to addressing the needs of those who are at high risk for contracting COVID-19 and/or need to take extra health and safety precautions. Examples include older adults and persons with pre-existing medical conditions or compromised immune systems. Students needing accommodations should contact; employees should reach out to Human Resources.

Face masks and social distancing will be required in public areas. To align the College’s health and safety expectations with the well-being of each member of our community, all students, faculty, and staff will be asked to sign the Smitty Safety and Civility Pledge as a condition of their return to campus for the 2020/2021 academic year.

Coursework Adaptations

To make remote learning possible for students who might require it, faculty will provide real-time web access wherever feasible for classes that are delivered in person on campus. In addition, nearly all lectures and labs will be recorded for later viewing. These provisions will also enable our faculty and students to quickly pivot to distance learning if the campus is forced to close due to a resurgence of the virus.

Student Activities

We know non-academic life is an important part of the college experience! Clubs and other activities will continue, with some modifications to protect our collective health and safety. We are still awaiting determinations from our athletic conferences regarding the feasibility of running athletic programs; this information will be shared as soon as it becomes available.

Many thanks to each of you for all you are doing to ensure a safe and successful academic year!


Cathy Dove

Key Contacts

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

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

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

Emergency Management
Teresa Gay, Compliance Coordinator
(518) 327-6451