July 1, 2020 - Message to Undergraduates
Clarkson Students and Families,
We hope this message continues to find you and your family safe and well, and looking forward to the Fall Semester starting soon.
We recognize that this is a long communication to all students. We appreciate your time and diligence in reviewing this information as well as being on the lookout for additional targeted communications that will come on each topic as we get closer to the beginning of the semester.
We also ask for your indulgence to take a few moments to think reflectively about the world we live in and how each of us can influence it for positive social good.
Students, you are tomorrow’s scientists, engineers, educators, entrepreneurs, business people, health professionals and imaginative leaders -- the essential workforce that the world needs right now and into the future. As hard as it may be to consider now, 2020 is on pace to be the year you acquire skills and insights far superior to the Clarkson alumni who have come before you. How we come together to handle adversity, create social change and accept responsibility for protecting each other will further differentiate our abilities to apply scientific knowledge, analytical thinking and technology to better the world for all people.
Through diligence by many working together, our North Country region has by far the lowest incidence of COVID-19 in New York State. We have proven during this crisis that we have one of the best rural medical networks in the nation for prevention as well as treatment. The St. Lawrence Health System (SLHS) that runs Canton-Potsdam Hospital (CPH) and our Student Health Center on campus, the St. Lawrence County Board of Health and St. Lawrence County Public Health Department have worked diligently with institutions like Clarkson as well as the community at large to keep us all safe.
Early in the pandemic, the University shared its engineering and air-borne particle expertise with SLHS to help change the HVAC and construct a new COVID unit in Canton-Potsdam Hospital (located one mile from our campus) that is isolated from other emergency and in-patient units. This was among other innovation and technology projects to help respond to the pandemic and shortages of critical equipment early in the crisis. As part of our assurances in bringing students back, SLHS CEO David Acker shared with our Board of Trustees their readiness to respond to COVID-19 as well as to keep patients safe who have other medical needs.
We are completing our required reopening plan for New York State, which will have details beyond those shared in this message and will be posted and made available to the greater Clarkson community when finalized. As we reopen, your safety and well-being remains our shared priority and is reflected in our decisions that meet and exceed the mandates issued by NYS.
Chief among these protocols outlined and linked below is that everyone will wear a face covering in classrooms, indoor public spaces and offices at all times when around others. In other settings, any time an individual comes within six-feet of another person who does not reside in the same residence (i.e. roommate), acceptable face coverings must be worn (mask). Individuals must be prepared to don a face covering if another person unexpectedly comes within six feet. Coupled with a rigorous hygiene routine and mindful social distancing, all evidence points to facial coverings doing more to protect each other than all of the additional measures we are taking for disinfecting, installations of plexiglass, air-handling/HVAC changes, etc. It is everyone’s job to stop the spread and save lives.
Our greater Clarkson community, including the Village of Potsdam, wants to see you. We respectfully ask that everyone in our University community who returns to campus this fall accepts the responsibility to protect themselves and each other, including those who serve us in the wider community.
It is in this lens that we share this update with you and the greater University community for your education that begins later this summer.
President Tony Collins and Restart Task Force