Skidmore College classes, return to campus suspended through 3/22
Dear members of the Skidmore community:
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 continues to spread in the United States and across the world. As serious as this situation is globally and nationally, it is important to note that the risk to most individuals in the United States remains low. As always, the health and safety of all members of our community are our highest priorities. We strive to make decisions that are informed by science, public health principles, and compassion, along with a commitment to access and equity for all members of our community.
While there are no known cases of COVID-19 on our campus, two cases have recently been confirmed in Saratoga County. In response to this developing situation, the College has activated our Emergency Management Team, and we have augmented it to create a more focused COVID-19 Working Group that is meeting daily. We are prepared to implement appropriate responses and take proactive steps, based on guidance and recommendations from city, state, and federal officials. Because this virus is spreading rapidly, we know that now is the best time to put policies in place before it reaches our campus.
Thus, out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to suspend classes next week (March 16-20) and delay the return of students from spring break by another week through March 22, as we explore alternatives to in-person classroom instruction. During this time, students may not return to campus. Students with questions regarding their specific housing situation should contact Ann Marie Przywara in the Office of Residential Life at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-580-5765. In addition, the College is implementing the following measures:
- Self-service in the dining hall and other dining locations is suspended.
- Phone triage system: Students seeking services from Health Services, the Counseling Center, and Campus Safety must call first.
- Additional hand-sanitizer stations have been placed in selected high-traffic areas on campus.
- Facilities staff will be conducting deep cleaning in common and high-touch areas.
- All non-Skidmore visitors are prohibited from visiting residence halls.
- All college-sponsored travel on common carriers (trains, planes, buses, etc.) or to events with more than 50 people in the U.S. and abroad has been suspended.
- All on-campus and off-campus college events (except classes and course-related activities) that involve large gatherings with more than 50 people are suspended.
- All collegiate athletic practices and competitions are suspended.
These measures will remain in place until further notice, with the understanding that we will provide additional updates as more information becomes available.
Based on official guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anyone returning from China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea is instructed to stay home for a period of 14 days and take the steps recommended by the CDC to monitor their health and practice social distancing. Those individuals will not be allowed to return to work or classes and must stay home until the 14-day period has elapsed. Please read more about self-monitoring in related previous messages.
This situation and related developments may be troubling to many in our community. If you are feeling anxious or worried because of the news about COVID-19, we encourage you to use College resources. Students may contact the Counseling Center. Employees may make use of the Employee Assistance Program.
Please continue checking Skidmore’s COVID-19 webpage for updates. Further guidance is being developed; the next scheduled update will be issued on Thursday, March 12.
The New York State Department of Health has set up a hotline, 888-364-3065, to answer questions about COVID-19.
Skidmore College is committed to maintaining an environment of respect and support for all members of our community. I encourage everyone to support one another and demonstrate the generosity of spirit that characterizes the Skidmore community at its best. We can all do our part to promote an effective, educated, and compassionate response to this global crisis.
Philip A. Glotzbach