Message from the President / Reopening Updates

To: Paul Smith’s College students

Delivered: June 16, 2020

Dear Smitties,

I hope you’re all doing well and looking forward to the summer season. This message is for new and returning students who are planning to arrive on campus for the Fall 2020 semester. We look forward to seeing you soon!

I know you have been anxiously awaiting word on our plans for the fall semester. We are pleased to share that we plan to welcome you to campus in August 2020. Below are our current planned start and end dates for the fall semester. The essential news is that PSC plans to start classes two weeks earlier than previously announced, on August 18th. Please note, we await confirmation from New York State that our planning is consistent with state regulations and guidelines. We expect to get this confirmation very soon and will let you know as soon as that is received.

A college task force has been working since April developing a model for safely reopening campus. While some of the details are still being worked out, we are shaping our plans based on discussions with industry groups, advice from advisors to employers, talking to other schools, and conferring with local officials and health providers. The good news is that our region has thus far maintained a very low incident rate. We are a safe region and are committed to keeping it that way. We will need your help with that, and will be providing each of you with a toolkit when you arrive with a mask, safety protocols to follow, and other information.

The academic calendar for fall will start and end earlier than typical. Campus instruction will end with the Thanksgiving break. In order to ensure sufficient class days, we will not have a fall break. End-of-semester work such as reading days, exams, final projects and capstones will be completed remotely following the Thanksgiving break. This approach means that campus classes will be done before flu season, we will avoid a lot of travel with its corresponding risks, and we will even have more time to enjoy the nice weather on campus! Specifically:

  • August 13-16: Move-in to the residence halls. This will be staggered with scheduled time slots. Please watch for a notice from the Office of Residence Life with instructions for scheduling your move-in. If you are in the area and would like to drop off your belongings prior to officially moving in, we can help coordinate this beginning August 1.
  • August 14-17: New student welcome
  • August 18: First day of classes
  • November 20: Last day of face-to-face classes on campus
  • November 30-December 7: End of semester activities such as capstones, exams, etc. (done remotely)

I appreciate that many of you have summer jobs or other obligations through the end of August. We are prepared to work with students who have commitments that prevent them from attending prior to the original start date. We will let you know later who to contact if you need to discuss a flexible August schedule.

Health and Safety: These plans have been made with your health and safety in mind. Many things will be different on campus in the fall. Given health and safety concerns, all public interaction will require social distancing wherever possible. Face masks will be required when distancing is not possible. Increased levels of cleaning and disinfection have been established. More details will be distributed later, but please know that we are working with local officials and healthcare providers to ensure we have appropriate testing, contact tracing and quarantine practices in place when campus opens.

Learning: Learning will also look and feel a bit different. As a contingency we will be ready to move to remote learning again, but do not expect to have to do that. Physical spaces are being reconfigured to facilitate proper social distancing. The vast majority of courses will be offered face-to-face on a “high flexibility” model that includes capturing the content electronically. We will offer live classes while having the ability to offer remote learning to those who might need it.

Sports: Fall sports will forego a traditional preseason, but the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) is cautiously optimistic that competitive sports will be possible. Our Athletic Director Jim Tucker is working closely with our conference affiliates on the reopening sports plan to ensure athlete safety.

Finally, we recognize that many of you have faced incredible hardships as a result of the COVID pandemic, challenged economy, and anti-racism movement for social change. Emotional and mental well-being for all students is a top priority that we take seriously. The college’s counseling center is staffed with health professionals who have been trained in the delivery of trauma-informed care. These services are always available for you.

I look forward to announcing our final plans as soon as they are confirmed. In the meantime, please stay safe and enjoy the early summer. We’ll see you on campus soon!


Cathy Dove, President

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