Members of the SUNY New Paltz Community:
My message of Thursday, July 29, was shared in the hopes of offering faculty, staff, and students information needed for your planning as we prepare for the fall semester opening. In the days since that message, the Delta variant has continued to increase infections and hospitalizations across the country, prompting the CDC to re-emphasize the importance of masking in areas of high transmission, regardless of vaccination status. Ulster County is not currently considered a high transmission area, but other counties where our students (and some employees) reside are being added to that list nearly daily, with Orange, Nassau, Suffolk, Albany, and other counties as recent additions.
Given the fluidity of this situation and trends of the past few days, we may need to refine our approach. We will be reviewing our recommendations and updating the guidance before the end of the week. We hear the concerns employees have expressed and are trying to find the right balance of alignment with current New York State and regional practices, supporting all campus constituents, and the goal to safely return to a pre-pandemic living, learning and working environment for our students and employees. We recognize that no measure is likely to meet with universal agreement.
We appreciate your patience and your continued adaptability as we adjust to these rapidly shifting dynamics.
Donald P. Christian