SUNY Orange’s Fall semester will include a blend of in-person and remote academic offerings for students, along with mostly online support services and a phased plan for repopulating the Middletown and Newburgh campuses with employees.
The college, on July 7, received official certification of its plan from the State University of New York, greenlighting SUNY Orange and President Dr. Kristine Young to move forward with implementation in advance of the College’s Aug. 24 start date for the Fall semester.
“We are taking a very measured and thoughtful approach to the Fall semester. We are prioritizing the return to campus of those students in programs and courses who require access to specialized equipment for hands-on learning, in order to provide a safe in-person teaching and learning environment for them, as well as the faculty and staff needed in support of them,” Young said. “For those classes where learning will be conducted remotely for the Fall, students can expect a high-quality learning experience thanks to the hard work of faculty and staff this summer.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have made decisions with two goals in mind: preserving the health and safety of our entire College community, and offering academics with integrity,” Young added. “As we begin to implement our recently approved plan, those two concepts will remain at the heart of what we do.”
Semester opens Aug. 24
The semester will open on Monday, Aug. 24, as originally scheduled, and final exams will conclude on Saturday, Dec. 12. On-campus instruction, which will account for approximately 15 percent of the college’s total curriculum, will be curtailed on Tuesday, Nov. 24, as a precaution against projections of a resurgence of the coronavirus. Post-Thanksgiving instruction for those courses will be held remotely.
On-campus instruction limitations
On-campus academic instruction will be limited to those course-related activities requiring in-person, lab-based instruction or specialized computer hardware and software. Disciplines in which some on-campus instruction will take place include the health professions, lab sciences, computer science, and art/media. SUNY Orange will follow CDC, New York State Department of Health and local health department recommendations regarding the use of personal protective equipment in the instructional and laboratory settings.
Courses offered in alternative/distance formats will consist of asynchronous (flexible format where students are not required to be online at a specific time), synchronous (students have real-time instruction at designated days and times) or blended (learning integrates synchronous and asynchronous instruction). The vast majority of courses will employ the blended format so students benefit from real-time connections with faculty members along with the flexibility to complete work on their own schedule.
Masks required and other social distancing protocols
Staff from the support, professional and administrative ranks will also be returning to the campuses slowly, but the College will monitor informational updates from SUNY and the Governor’s office and adapt its operations—expanding or constricting as needed—as new information, guidance or direction is announced.
The College has prioritized the buildings, classrooms and laboratories that are most critical for in-person student learning in the Fall, and staff has begun removing desks and other equipment. To reduce population density, both campuses will remain closed to the general public—even as New York enters Phase IV of its reopening—while a small selection of cultural and community events will be held virtually rather than in-person during the Fall.
Masks will be required for those who utilize the campuses, and building access will be limited to specific entrances and exits. SUNY Orange’s plan calls for a robust cleaning and disinfecting schedule for those campus areas that will be in use during the Fall. The College also plans to implement a daily screening process for students and employees, and protocols for reporting, testing, tracing and quarantining have been established in the event a student or employee reports symptoms.
For students who have already registered for the Fall semester, the College is planning to host Virtual Transition Days in which advisors will be available to help students understand the impact of the blended approach upon their schedule, and to help them adjust their Fall course load if necessary. Dates and times of the Transition Days will be announced as they become available.
For up-to-date information on the College’s COVID-19 response, visit https://sunyorange.edu/covid-19/.