Restart SUNY Cortland

Message from President Erik J. Bitterbaum

The COVID-19 pandemic has sorely tested all institutions of higher education, forcing us to abandon old ways of doing things and reconsider every aspect of our operations. That will continue as we move forward with plans to return to on-campus instruction for the Fall 2020 semester. The safety and well-being of our community — students, faculty, staff, guests and neighbors — continue to be SUNY Cortland’s top priority. The framework for our restart is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, New York State Department of Health, SUNY system and the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo. As more decisions are made and details become available, you will find them here.

SUNY Cortland Restart Plan

The information below is the original SUNY Cortland proposal. A more detailed SUNY Cortland's Restart Plan (PDF) required by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also available.

I. Restarting On-campus Operations

In many ways, SUNY Cortland’s COVID-19 planning started taking shape last November, when a potential legionella outbreak compelled us to evaluate our infectious disease preparedness. This experience turned out to be a dress rehearsal for a mumps outbreak that began in February. Working closely with the Cortland County Department of Health (CCDH), our university worked diligently to meet the unique requirements for testing as well as quarantine and isolation (Q/I) operations. Subsequently, while still handling the mumps outbreak, the Incident Management Team (IMT) started to address COVID-19 moving into March. The university came together under our incident command process, responding to address unprecedented circumstances and conditions. In fact, our transition from incident response into recovery for the summer began in April. Our experience with mumps was somewhat fortuitous in that it provided a base risk assessment model for what might be required for COVID-19 operations, particularly in our quantification of needs for Q/I housing and student testing. Moreover, we documented lessons learned from our response operations and began in mid-April to plan for a fall restart in order to prevent problems such as heavy demand on assets and supplies.

We eagerly await additional state guidance, but we are doing much in the interim using current information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), SUNY and other entities. How we remold the operations of our campus will be directed by our desire to reduce densities and follow good hygiene practices and cleaning; social distancing; use of personal protective equipment (PPE); surveillance, testing and tracing; and Q/I operations. All will require varying measures of behavior modification and modeling of appropriate behavior to help adapt our community to our new circumstances. It is a huge undertaking to change how people live and work, especially under circumstances that threaten life and livelihoods. It is a task that requires a “whole community” effort, adhering to a plan that reimagines and delivers a safe and fulfilling academic experience for our students, establishes a protected and efficient workplace for our employees and breathes vitality back into the greater Cortland community.

A. Campus Planning Task Force

Following our Emergency Operations Plan, the Incident Management Team (IMT) is our campus lead for restart operations planning. The IMT serves as our central strategic planning and coordinating body for all tasks and personnel charged with COVID-19-related subject matter, and it is the primary advisor to the president and his cabinet.

The IMT is responsible for:

  1. Identifying and addressing overarching, interconnecting issues,
  2. Developing and driving COVID-19 task forces,
  3. Obtaining and disseminating situational awareness of progress on individual tasks and issues, and
  4. Developing Cortland’s Restart Plan on behalf of the president.

The incident commander (IC), a position rotated among the University Police Department (UPD) chief of police, the associate vice president (AVP) for Facilities Management, and the campus emergency manager, chairs at least three major meetings per week: one for the president and his cabinet, one for just the ICs and a third for the full IMT membership. IMT members include the campus medical director and representatives from Facilities Management Office, Division of Finance and Management, Communications Office, Environmental Health and Safety Office, Division of Academic Affairs, Information Resources and Division of Student Affairs. The IMT reaches deep into the campus organization and frequently elicits assistance and input from other key personnel such as the AVP for human resources and the vice president for institutional advancement as well as other directors and frontline personnel, as needed.

B. Academic Program Planning

The university’s plan for academic programming for the Fall 2020 semester is designed to prioritize the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff while ensuring a high-quality educational experience for all students. The plan seeks to balance meaningful in-person interactions, seen as foundational to the college experience, with strict preventative measures followed by all community members to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

SUNY Cortland’s academic calendar would be altered significantly in this plan. Classes will start as scheduled on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, but there will be no breaks between the start of classes and Nov. 20, 2020, the Friday prior to Thanksgiving. Labor Day will be a regular class day and there will be no fall break. There will be no classes during the week of Thanksgiving, allowing time for students to move out of their campus residence halls and return home. The remaining two weeks of classes (Nov. 30, 2020, to Dec. 11, 2020) and finals week (Dec. 14 to 18, 2020) will be conducted virtually.

To reduce classroom densities, we analyzed computer-aided design (CAD) drawings of all our 105 instructional spaces to determine the maximum capacity of each location that would enable occupants to maintain recommended distances; seats will be placed within a 96-inch diameter circle with 7-10 feet of teaching zones in front of them. Under these parameters, seating capacity of all rooms was significantly reduced, with the vast majority of spaces only able to accommodate between 20% and 50% of the normal number of seats. We subsequently identified an additional 12 to 15 spaces that could be converted for classroom use under social distancing conditions. We therefore expect to utilize approximately 120 classrooms for the fall semester. All instructional spaces that are too small to accommodate academic activities while maintaining social distance protocols will be closed.

With reduced capacities, a significant change in course delivery is needed for all but the smallest classes. All courses with enrollments of 60 students or more will be taught exclusively online. All other classes will be taught in hybrid fashion with some content presented online and the balance in person. In-person components of most classes will be conducted with one subset of enrolled students at a time as most classrooms will not be able to accommodate the full enrollment at once. Courses delivered twice per week (e.g. Tuesday/Thursday) will be assigned to a space that can accommodate at least half of the student enrollment. Courses delivered three times per week (e.g. Monday/Wednesday/Friday) will be assigned to a space that can accommodate at least one-third of the enrolled students. Faculty will be informed of the seating capacity of their assigned teaching spaces and this capacity will be posted in each space. Classroom furniture will be placed so that proper social distancing protocols are followed and designated classroom capacities are not exceeded. Signage and markings will be deployed to direct circulation. This arrangement will enable faculty to divide their classes into two or three groups, each of which can attend in-person sessions at least once per week.

Faculty can use these in-person sessions as they deem appropriate. Some may choose to put the majority of their content online (e.g. video lectures, class readings, problem sets) for students to engage with prior to an in-person class session. The in-person class sessions can then be used for discussion groups in which students interact with the instructor to explore the questions, issues, and ideas raised through the content. Other faculty may choose to use in-person class sessions to give presentations, demonstrations or lectures, which can be live-streamed via various mobile apps or captured on video so that those students not in attendance can access this content virtually. The university this summer will provide professional development to help faculty determine how their content can best be delivered.

Analysis of instructional laboratory capacity has also been conducted. Most lab sections can accommodate approximately 50% of their current enrollment. Faculty who teach in labs are working to determine how they will structure lab sessions so that participation in lab activities will only involve half of the students at a time. All lab spaces will follow the same safety and cleaning protocols described above. There are a limited number of research labs on campus with restricted numbers of lab staff using each space. Faculty with research labs must submit their plans for following all recommended social distancing and cleaning protocols to their respective dean for approval.

SUNY Cortland offers a significant number of courses that involve off-campus fieldwork (e.g. student teaching), internships and activities (e.g. physical education and recreation-related coursework). These courses frequently involve working with off-campus partners and delivery in non-traditional instructional spaces. If fieldwork involves transportation, departments will determine how to maintain social distancing and cleaning protocols during transport.

Human Resources will devise protocols for accommodating faculty and teaching staff who are not able to deliver in-person content due to health or other concerns. The Disability Resources Office will develop similar protocols for accommodating students in at-risk categories. It is expected that for these individuals, all teaching and learning will be conducted virtually. Classes for faculty and students who have mobility issues are scheduled on the first floor of accessible buildings so that no use of elevators will be needed to attend classes.

Each of our instructional spaces will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected twice per day once classes are back in session. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available at all academic spaces and there will be a quart bottle of disinfectant and a roll of paper towels for students and faculty to utilize for additional disinfecting as needed. The custodial staff will ensure the disinfectant and paper towels are stocked throughout the day. Posters reminding faculty and students about practicing preventative health behaviors will be posted in each instructional space, and no food will be allowed in those spaces.

During in-person classes or meetings, all students and faculty will be required to wear masks when engaging in academic activities. The Division of Academic Affairs is working with the Student Conduct Office to ensure that compliance with safety protocols is a part of the Student Code of Conduct.

C. Residence Halls

To minimize student living facility densities, the Residence Life and Housing Office will eliminate all triple occupancy in double rooms. To that end, the university is actively working with College Suites, a private residential facility in Cortland, to secure 185 additional beds. This added residence hall will be staffed by resident assistants and a full-time residence hall director.

SUNY Cortland is also planning to extend the student move-in timeframe from its existing three-and-a-half-day process to seven days, staggered by student type, hall and floor, so as to minimize density at any one hall or location. PPE will be available for employees, and we are working to ensure the availability of sanitizing stations and other mitigation measures for move-in and day-to-day usage.

As always, Residence Life and Housing will prioritize safety in the residence halls. Halls will be evaluated individually for circulation and flow under social-distancing circumstances. Signage will be used to guide and promote social distancing, safety and good hygiene. Residence Life and Housing will strive to communicate with students via email and social media channels with consistent and cohesive messaging. It will also be necessary to ensure that professional and student staff are modeling safe practices, such as wearing masks when in common spaces and hallways and avoiding large gatherings. In its communications, Residence Life and Housing will inform students and families what custodial staff is doing each day to keep facilities safe, how staff can be available virtually and the consequences for those who do not follow protocol.

Finally, the Residence Life and Housing Office has worked closely with Student Health Service on the development of quarantine and isolation (Q/I) protocols. During the mumps outbreak earlier this year, the office gained valuable experience developing and implementing elements of the university’s updated Q/I plan. Presently, our vice president for student affairs is coordinating with the Division of Finance and Management to contract with various hotels in the community so that at least 50 Q/I rooms are available should an infection on campus be suspected. Our process is fully integrated in terms of coordination with the Incident Management Team, Student Health Service and the vice president for student affairs. All Q/I locations will receive 24-hour safety and security services through the University Police Department. Meals, laundry and other necessary services will be provided for persons under Q/I.

D. Dining Services

For the Fall 2020 semester, students, staff and faculty will scan themselves into SUNY Cortland Auxiliary Services Corporation dining facilities; and self-serve options in dining units will be eliminated. Operating hours may be adjusted in order to accommodate all students. Queuing will be used to manage distancing, and diners will use separate entrances for ingress and egress. Circulation and densities will be monitored by dining management on the floor and via CCTV to ensure social distancing rules are followed. Cortland Auxiliary is also looking into using reserve seating via a mobile ordering application, using its Grubhub platform at the retail locations and offering take-out options. Outside groups and the general public will not be allowed to utilize residential dining units until further notice.

All employees will be required to wear masks and appropriate PPE, and all patrons will be required to wear masks and distance appropriately. Signage and markings may be used to dictate acceptable spacing. Enhanced cleaning procedures in all Cortland Auxiliary units are being implemented, including frequent disinfecting of counters, tables and areas of contact.

E. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Facilities Operations and Services teamed with the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office to create a PPE ordering form that will be distributed to all campus administrators and allow offices the opportunity to order PPE items needed for returning personnel. This form is accompanied by an office PPE assessment template developed by the Environmental Health and Safety Office which campus administrators can use to evaluate their office spaces and, with the assistance of Facilities Operations and Services and Environmental Health and Safety, determine how to operate their spaces safely. Responses to the form will also provide information regarding what PPE their office will need this summer and fall. In order to maintain our stock of PPE, we will add PPE to our internal campus central stores.

The university is obligated by the state and has made the commitment to purchase one reusable mask for every Cortland employee. We are also discussing the possibility of providing masks for all students. To meet these needs, we are participating in SUNY System’s purchasing consortium to procure more supplies. We have been informed that a SUNY resource request for masks was recently approved by the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, which will be very useful.

F. Screening, Testing and Tracing

Student Health Service has developed a comprehensive student screening strategy for our restart that includes both a mandatory pre-arrival screening questionnaire to be completed 10 to 14 days prior to arrival on campus followed by continuous, enhanced passive screening throughout the semester. Our pre-arrival screening method was adapted from similar processes used by the New York State Department of Health and the CDC. Positive screens will require isolation or quarantine for 14 days prior to arrival. Non-compliance with screening requirements may result in holds placed on student accounts or other enforcement measures.

The effectiveness of our screening plan will be fortified by testing. Students identified as at-risk based on their pre-arrival screening will be required to obtain and submit test results for COVID-19 (viral PCR or antigen testing) prior to arrival. Those who fail to complete pre-arrival screens or testing when indicated will not be allowed on campus. Those who test positive prior to arrival will remain off campus until their isolation is complete as stated in the Cortland Quarantine and Isolation Plan.

When a student is placed in isolation due to positive test results, the process of contact tracing will begin. Contact tracing within the county will be conducted by the Cortland County Department of Health (CCDH). Should CCDH tracing resources be outpaced by demand, Student Health Service has built redundant capabilities to support those efforts; four staff members have taken the Johns Hopkins contact tracing course. The university may identify additional faculty, staff or students to be trained and certified to assist the county with tracing efforts.

A pre-return questionnaire will be provided to all faculty and staff. They must also sign an attestation that they have reviewed and will adhere to university safety protocols. Positive screens will require a referral to a physician for further review and will be documented by the Human Resources Office. Positive test results for COVID-19 would require isolation/quarantine and contact tracing would be conducted by CCDH in conjunction with Human Resources. An online training module will be made available to employees that provides an overview of COVID-19-related safety and conduct standards.

G. Custodial Services

The university has developed practices for enhanced cleaning across campus. Routine cleaning will continue, although its frequency may be reduced to focus on higher-risk locations. Frequently touched surfaces in common areas of occupied buildings are cleaned and disinfected twice daily by the custodial staff using EPA-approved spray products effective in addressing human coronaviruses. Frequently touched surfaces include tables and chairs, door handles, handrails, faucets and fixtures, equipment handles, elevator and vending machine buttons and water fountains. Routine and enhanced cleaning and disinfection will require use of PPE, including disposable nitrile or latex gloves, chemical goggles and face masks.

Before an area is reoccupied, Facilities Operations and Services will be notified with at least one week through the Work Order System in order to allow time to properly clean and disinfect the space. Facilities Operations and Services will inform the requestor when the space is approved for re-occupancy and will maintain a listing of requests and approved areas. Once an area is reoccupied, FOS will implement routine and enhanced cleaning services as building occupancies dictate. It is likely that parts of buildings will be restricted from entry once Cortland has restarted public operations to reduce custodial cleaning responsibilities. Space utilization and use parameters are being determined and will drive cleaning duty scheduling. However, it should be noted that cleaning will not be the sole responsibility of campus custodians. Building occupants are asked to use disinfectant wipes or spray provided by Facilities Operations and Services to disinfect high-touch surfaces in their own workspace or shared spaces. Cleaning parameters will be included in our Return to Workplace Plan and other employee policies specific to restart operations.

H. Student Health Service

Student Health Service is using the American Medical Association’s COVID-19: A Physician Practice Guide to Reopening, the CDC’s Outpatient and Ambulatory Care Settings: Responding to Community Transmission of COVID-19 in the United States and the American College Health Association’s Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education in the COVID-19 Era as references for best practices.

Non-essential furnishings are being removed from Student Health Service to comply with physical distancing standards. The rearrangement of front office and waiting room spaces will improve traffic flow throughout. Traffic will move one way so that students will exit the office without passing through the waiting room area. Signage to facilitate physical distancing is being developed. Front-office staff will be protected by plexiglass barriers in high-contact areas. A policy prohibiting non-essential visitors will also be enacted, and Student Health Service is seeking satellite office space to segregate individuals with respiratory complaints from other visitors. Symptomatic patients will be isolated upon arrival in a private room with a closed door and a private bathroom (as available).

Staffing models that enable appointments to be spread out during expanded hours of operation are also being developed, and the use of telemedicine protocols will reduce non-essential, in-person visits. Changes in scheduling procedures will be put in place to eliminate both walk-in and online self-scheduling. A phone triage nurse will schedule all patients based on their health concerns. A triage process will include screening for fever and symptoms associated with COVID-19. All healthcare staff will perform daily enhanced, passive screening to monitor for signs and symptoms of illness and have access to weekly antigen and PCR tests to be performed on-site. All personnel will comply with PPE, sanitization and other protocols put in place to meet CDC guidelines.

I. Campus and Local Communities

Vision for “Town and Gown” Interactions

The City of Cortland, Cortland County and SUNY Cortland have a strong record of cooperation and collaboration to address the shared concerns of the university and community. For the past 12 years, the vice president for student affairs has coordinated meetings with representatives from our campus (e.g. Student Conduct Office, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, University Police Department) and from the city and the county (e.g. Cortland chief of police, Cortland County sheriff and representatives from Tompkins Cortland Community College). These meetings have focused on issues such as student safety, housing and policing concerns and have been instrumental in building trust and collaborative problem-solving.

During our region’s response to COVID-19, we have expanded the representation for these interactions. Internally, we added our associate vice president for student affairs, our medical director, campus emergency manager and director of communications. From the community, we have included Paul Heider, our State Control Board representative for the Central New York zone. In order to enhance the depth and breadth of these dialogues, we have also added the head of the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce, the executive director of Cortland Guthrie Hospital, the interim director of the Cortland County Health Department, county legislators, the executive director for the Cortland County Business Development Corporation, and the president/CEO for the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce. Going forward, we will convene this group at least on a monthly basis to address the issues surrounding the restart of university operations for the fall. The goals will be to ensure that all members remain engaged and informed, to establish university and community expectations, and to receive updates from the Control Board.

Busing and General Campus Vehicles

Campus transportation employees will clean and disinfectant all high-touch surfaces within busses twice daily using EPA-approved spray products effective against human coronaviruses. Hand sanitizer will be available at all bus shelters and on each bus. The front door of each bus will be the entrance point and the rear door will be the exit point. The university looks to increase the number of buses running to maintain lower occupancies. The first row of seats behind the driver will be vacant. Only one person will be allowed per seat every other row on each side of the bus with maximum occupancy of 15 riders. All riders will be required to practice social distancing and wear masks. 

Campus vehicles will also be disinfected with EPA-approved sprays effective against human coronaviruses before and after use. All vehicles will be provided with hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes.

Mail and General Delivery Services

SUNY Cortland provides inbound and outbound mail services for students, faculty and staff, including mail and package processing and warehouse processing. Mailroom and warehouse staff will interact with items received in a very limited capacity within a 24- to 72-hour window during which COVID-19 could be present. If a delivery driver is not using PPE, contactless deliveries will be made at a designated location where packages can be left. This method will also extend to any deliveries requiring signatures. A designated “resting zone” may be identified to allow for mail and packages to be handled without concern the following day. If possible, Cortland will eliminate limited-quantity mail deliveries directly to an office. Instead, central receiving will require campus departments and offices to pick up their mail directly from the central receiving location, limiting exposure areas and possible cross-contamination.

For warehouse items, gloves and disinfectant will be utilized to receive plastic or metal materials. Signage will be placed in easily observable locations to provide delivery drivers with notice of our COVID-19 protocols pertaining to our warehouses. Other measures include limiting the number of individuals entering a warehouse at a given time, disinfecting tools, materials and keys when withdrawing them from storage, and disinfecting again when returning items to storage. Implementation of other mitigation measures are being considered, such as the use of UV light for disinfection, installation of plexiglass at our service windows and staggering shifts.

Mailrooms, warehouses and stockrooms will be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as possible. Ideally, both operational staff and custodial staff will perform these duties. Operational staff will be provided with spray disinfectant and paper towels and disinfecting wipes so they are able to assist with frequent cleaning.

II. Tracing and Monitoring After Restart

Our continuous passive screening, adapted from CDC guidance, will be used after students arrive on campus. Passive screens use evidence-based questions regarding symptoms most commonly associated with COVID-19 and are self-administered on a serial basis. This strategy is enhanced by the use of automated text messaging to remind and prompt community members to self-evaluate and offer guidance should symptoms develop. Student testing will be a continuous process completed at Student Health Service. Indicators for testing by Student Health Service will include those identified as at-risk based on enhanced passive screening results, those identified as at-risk based on clinical evaluation, and those who have had close contact with a COVID-19 positive patient. Student Health Service capabilities will include on-site rapid antigen and PCR testing. Samples will be collected on-site with testing being conducted at an authorized commercial lab.

Employees will be required to perform self-monitoring checks before arriving to work each day. Checklists based on the Johns Hopkins Self-Checker and the CDC Self-Assessment Tool will be provided to all employees. Positive results from self-monitoring checks would require an employee to stay home and contact a supervisor, physician and Human Resources. Positive test results would also require quarantine and isolation and tracing protocols to be conducted. Testing for COVID-19 is to be completed by a medical provider or certified testing site. All notifications and documentation will be the responsibility of the Human Resources Office, specifically Mary Saracene for SUNY faculty and staff and Michelle Congdon for Research Foundation employees. Both individuals serve as benefits administrators and are responsible for tracking and reporting all COVID-19 activity in the state’s database.

Contact tracing within the county will be conducted by the Cortland County Health Department for both students and employees. Cortland may identify faculty, staff or students to be trained and certified to assist the county with tracing efforts.

III. Communication and Outreach Plan

Clear, consistent messaging will be critical to the successful restart of campus operations in the fall. First, a plan will be required for keeping our various constituents informed about how we intend to provide services. Second, a more comprehensive strategy will be aimed at changing the culture at SUNY Cortland to shape behavior to protect the Cortland community. Key to both efforts is an update to our website which will serve as a one-stop source for information related to SUNY Cortland’s restart and a FAQ section tailored to students, faculty, staff and parents. All communication tools available to Cortland will be used in this effort, including messaging screens, printed materials, official social media channels, email, educational activities, campus newsletter, news releases, university publications and our website.

We will need to coordinate the content we communicate across campus silos. To that end, SUNY Cortland is creating a multi-disciplinary communications task force that will implement a multi-media approach to ensure that employees and families receive timely and useful updates on our work efforts. The task force will be guided by our Incident Management Team and will include numerous key stakeholders from various groups such as the Marketing and Communications offices, Divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, the Human Resources Office, and others as required. This group will continue its work throughout the 2020-21 academic year with a mandate to educate constituents on what they need to do to stay safe, placing emphasis on the need to protect vulnerable individuals. This task force will also brand a campus campaign that engages and motivates students, making it clear that violating new protocols will have consequences. Key communications will come from the president, who will provide weekly updates on campus restart efforts that will be emailed to students, faculty and staff and posted on our website.

Other efforts will include the coordination and development of campus signage, placards and posters, and messaging in a way that protects and educates the City of Cortland as well as students who live off campus. Further, as new admissions materials are developed, they will focus on changes to the way the campus delivers services due to COVID-19. This action is intended to begin the acculturation process to the new normal before students arrive on campus. Materials for campus visitors also will contain information about the new protocols.

IV. Resources Required to Restart

For COVID-19/restart-related purchases, each department on campus has a procurement card (P-Card) to purchase office supplies and equipment. For purchases that are prohibited on P-Cards or that exceed the dollar threshold on the card, a purchase order will be entered into Red Dragon Depot following the proper purchasing protocol, along with the necessary documentation. Each department has a budget and state operating account to which operating expenses will be charged. For expenses beyond the usual, the campus utilizes central reserve funds. To gain access to central reserve funds, the department submits a request to the divisional vice president who will present the proposal to the president’s cabinet for approval. Emergency purchases can be acquired using the department account and journal transfers. All required contracts will be reviewed and approved by the director of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.

To track all COVID-19/restart expenses, System Administration has created COVID charge accounts. Departments will continue to submit all COVID-19-related expenses on a COVID expense tracking template to Jody Maroney, director of Budget and Business Operations. They are compiled and sent to System Administration on a weekly basis. Expense tracking is used to document and justify Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) eligible expenses, Department of Budget review, campus costs and student refunds. Cortland has a Resource Advisory Committee that reviews budget policies and processes and makes recommendations to the president’s cabinet. This committee will provide communication to the campus regarding any changes to spending policies and procedures as needed.

V. Time Required for Restarting On-campus Operations

Our restart timeframes are contingent upon Central New York continuing to meet the Governor’s Phase 4 metrics. However, as referenced above, our primary scenario at the moment involves a late-August restart that continues into the Thanksgiving holiday, closing out the semester online in December. The university is ready to adapt and move forward as SUNY guidance becomes available.

The Incident Management Team (IMT) and our university’s leadership team are working swiftly but adhering to social distancing practices, hygiene and PPE standards appropriate to life in a pandemic. On our primary scenario timetable, we will need to meet various planning benchmarks in order to restart on time. These benchmarks include:

  • Delivery of this Restart Plan Executive Summary to the SUNY Chancellor;
  • IMT and individual COVID-19 operations task force progress updates (June 16, President’s Retreat);
  • Planning 80-90% completion (first full week of July);
  • Tabletop exercises and cross-cutting operations discussions (second through fourth weeks of July);
  • Delivery of final Restart Plan to the Chancellor (TBD); and
  • Restart with modified revenue operations (Aug. 1, 2020).

As we look to our restart, we are expeditiously developing our plan to protect our faculty, staff, students and guests, to make our physical spaces safer and to implement processes that lower the risk of infection. As NY Forward continues to progress, SUNY Cortland is extending the directive for non-essential employees to work remotely and not report to campus through June 26. All existing remote work plans are considered extended through that date. Supervisors are responsible for making any necessary changes or adjustments to ensure continuity of work and best support the operating needs of their department or office. Assuming that the Central New York region continues to meet the metrics to move into Phases 3 and 4 in the earliest timeframe possible, non-essential employees may begin to return to campus on Monday, June 29. Even at that time, we are committed to accommodating individual circumstances that may be necessary for the continuation of remote work.

We all have much work to get done in a short time. We will be creating new ways of doing things and asking others to adapt to those new ways. It is a daunting task, but one we take on as a community and a family. We look forward to welcoming our students and employees back to Cortland soon.

Restart News

SUNY Cortland submits expanded restart plan

June 26, 2020
SUNY Cortland submitted an expanded plan for returning to on-campus education for the Fall 2020 semester.

Remote-work directive for most employees extended to July 31

June 25, 2020
All non-essential SUNY Cortland personnel will continue to work remotely through the end of July.

Governor announces requirements for fall return to campus

June 19, 2020
SUNY Cortland is already well on its way to meeting requirements that will enable it to restart on campus this fall.

Restart SUNY Cortland website launched

June 12, 2020
SUNY Cortland's proposed plan to return to on-campus learning for the fall 2020 semester is outlined on the new site.

President shares preparations for workforce return to campus

June 12, 2020
President Erik J. Bitterbaum updates faculty and staff on steps being taken for a safe return to SUNY Cortland's campus.

University submits plan to restart on campus for Fall 2020

June 9, 2020
President Erik J. Bitterbaum tells students and families that SUNY Cortland hopes to restart on campus in late August.

Restart Resources

The following links will give you a sense of the structure used in our decision making and changes needed if we are ultimately allowed to fully restart on campus in the fall:

Tentative Dates

  • Aug. 22 to Aug. 30Move-in days based on new/returning status.
  • Monday, Aug. 31 – Classes start
  • Friday, Nov. 20 – On-campus classes end
  • Nov. 20 to 25 – Students move out of residence halls
  • Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 – Virtual classes
  • Dec. 14 to Dec. 18 – Finals week