Update on COVID-19 Response Plans

Posted Nov. 17, 2020

Dear Members of the College Community,

As we approach the end of the fall semester, I’d like to update the college community on our COVID-19 safety plans ahead of the holidays and address some new state and SUNY mandates and initiatives you may have heard about.

On-campus Instruction After Thanksgiving Break

There have been many reports in the news recently about how colleges will continue instruction after Thanksgiving break. Though Hudson Valley originally planned to continue all in-person instruction until the end of the semester as scheduled, we received new information from SUNY this week that has required us to adjust that plan slightly. Our new plan, which has been approved by SUNY and the Rensselaer County Department of Health, is as follows:

  • All in-person lecture courses will switch to a 100% remote/online format after Thanksgiving break until the end of the semester.
  • Clinical, lab, and applied learning courses will continue to be held in person as originally planned.
  • Classes that include both a lecture and clinical/lab/applied learning component will be held in a hybrid format, with the lecture portion being conducted online/remotely and the clinical/lab/applied learning component being held in person.

Although the majority of students are already studying online or remotely, faculty will reach out to students affected by this change in plans. Students, if you have questions about how a specific class will be conducted, please contact your instructor.

Mandatory Testing for On-Campus Students

Vice President for Student Affairs Louis Coplin sent an email to all students last week detailing a new SUNY mandate that requires all students who are on campus for any reason to participate in COVID-19 testing once per week for the remainder of the semester. The highlights of the requirement are as follows:

  • Any student who is on campus for any reason (classes, work study, visiting offices, using services, etc.) is required to be tested once per week for the remainder of the semester.
  • Tests will be administered in the same manner as the college’s pooled surveillance testing (self-administered saliva test) at no cost to students.
  • Students are required to be tested prior to leaving campus and upon returning to campus for Thanksgiving and December holidays.
  • The only exceptions to these mandates are students who are studying in a 100% remote or online format and do not come to campus for any reason, and students who can provide a negative test result within 7 days prior to returning to campus after a holiday break.
  • Please be aware that failure to comply with SUNY’s COVID-19 safety guidelines, including mandatory weekly testing, is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including a mandatory switch to distance or online learning, academic suspension, or dismissal from the college.
  • Faculty and staff working on campus in any capacity are strongly encouraged to participate in testing each week.

Questions on this mandatory testing initiative should be directed to the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at (518) 629-7307 or or Health Services at healthservice@hvcc.edu.

Looking Ahead: Winter and Spring Plans

SUNY recently issued guidance on how colleges should approach planning for the winter and spring terms. The college will submit our plan to SUNY for approval this week, but here are some important dates and highlights of the proposed plan to be aware of:

  • The fall semester will end as scheduled on Dec. 18.
  • The college will be closed Dec. 24- Jan. 3; this means all offices and services will be closed as well.
  • Winter Session will run from Jan. 4-14 and courses will be held completely in online/remote formats.
  • The spring semester academic calendar will be compressed with extended breaks removed. All courses will start one week later than planned, and end earlier than originally scheduled.
  • All spring semester classes will begin on Jan. 25 in a remote or online format. Courses with in-person lab/clinical/applied learning components will be held remotely for the first week of the semester with on-campus instruction scheduled to begin on Feb. 1.
  • Spring break has been cancelled, and there will be no Monday or Friday holidays observed in the spring semester with the exception of Friday, April 2. This means classes will take place on Monday and Tuesday, April 4 and 5.
  • The last day of spring instruction will be Tuesday, May 11.

Final Thoughts

Though we have all been faced with countless changes and challenges since the pandemic began, I want each of you each to know how much I personally appreciate the hard work and the consideration you’ve shown in keeping one another safe as we have worked together to navigate a truly unprecedented fall semester.

Thanks to your each of your individual efforts—wearing your masks, maintaining social distancing, participating in campus health screening and pooled testing, practicing good hygiene, and staying home when sick—I’m proud to say that Hudson Valley has some of the lowest numbers of COVID-19 cases of any college within the SUNY system. This means our collective efforts are working—the hard work we have done to keep one another safe is paying off. Please take a moment to think about how remarkable that is, and to be proud of yourselves. So, as we wind down the semester and look ahead, please continue to be safe, be well, and keep up the excellent work.

Thank you.

Roger A. Ramsammy, Ph.D.
President, Hudson Valley Community College