SUNY New Paltz Plans for Fall Opening as Pandemic Clouds Future

In Brief- SUNY New Paltz is operating under the assumption it will hold in-person classes this fall semester, but the final decision will most likely be made by SUNY central administration.

The university is finalizing draft plans on what in-person classes might look like this fall and putting together new behavioral guidelines for students regarding safety on campus during the pandemic.

These issues were discussed during Wednesday’s meeting of the SUNY New Paltz College Council, which was held online, as have the university’s classes since March 19.

University President Donald Christian said the college had “analyzed all sorts of different models and scenarios” and their draft plan for the fall semester would be submitted to SUNY central administration for modifications and feedback.

Any reopening would be coordinated with the state government, health officials, and the Mid-Hudson Valley’s Regional Control Room, he added.

Colleges around the country are struggling with the question of how to safely hold in-person classes this fall. Cal State, with its 23 campuses and half-million students, decided last week the majority of its classes will be online.

To ensure prospective students can make an informed decision about attending SUNY New Paltz, the due date for the fall deposit has been moved from May 1 to July 1, and therefore deposits are lagging from last year, according to Christian.

However, the other enrollment figures are encouraging, according to SUNY New Paltz Vice President of Enrollment Management David Eaton, who said at the meeting this summer’s classes – which are all online – as well as fall classes are seeing better enrollment numbers than last year.

“Our students are undeterred,” he said.

Student life will be significantly different if students return.

The university was still developing health guidelines “about the kind of behavioral expectations that we’ve put in place” for students, including wearing masks, not gathering in large groups, and more frequent sanitizing.

“We’re developing plans that will include helping students in resident halls understand that this will not be like it has been in the past, at least for the foreseeable future,” he said.

It is not yet known how much the state will cut funding to the school. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said public education could see its state aid cut by 20 percent without additional federal financial help.

 

 

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