Campus Reopening Update # 5 - Latest Decisions Regarding the Fall Semester
To ACPHS Community,

The Campus Reopening Task Force has been working hard reviewing the New York and Vermont guidance for higher education to develop protocols to protect our campus community and preserve the quality ACPHS experience for our students.

We'll be sharing our Campus Reopening Plan with the ACPHS community soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share the latest decisions we've made. More details on how we're implementing these decisions will be forthcoming. 
College Reopening for Employees August 3

The College is reopening for employees August 3. Supervisors will work with employees to determine return to campus work schedules. Employees who are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 or who are concerned about returning to work, must contact their supervisor and Human Resources. This will allow the employee, supervisor and Human Resources to discuss possible accommodations. Additional information on employees returning to campus will be sent by Human Resources.

Everyone Required to Complete COVID-19 Training

Everyone is required to complete online COVID-19 training prior to returning to campus. This training includes knowledge of the symptoms and risk factors associated with COVID-19, prevention strategies, and how to properly put on, take off and discard/clean masks. Additional information regarding this required training will be sent to employees from Human Resources and to students from Student Affairs.

Everyone Required to be Tested for COVID-19

All faculty, staff and students returning to either our Albany or Vermont campus by personal vehicle from less than 300 miles from campus are required to have a COVID-19 diagnostic test between 8/12 and 8/26. We're requiring this testing be done no more than two weeks before students return to campus to ensure we're starting the semester with a "clean slate."  Everyone will be required to provide documentation of their test result.

New York State residents are encouraged to get their free COVID-19 diagnostic testing done at one of the New York State testing centers. To get a testing appointment, you must complete this quick assessment. Residents will be called within 24-48 hours to set up an appointment, and test results are provided in 2-5 days. You may also contact your primary care provider to get tested, though insurance may not cover the cost of the test. 

Students returning to campus using public transportation (i.e., train, plane) or from states on New York's list of states with quarantine restrictions, must be tested within 24 hours of arrival on campus and will need to follow additional precautions. Residence Life will be contacting these students with more details.

On our Albany campus, we will have free point of care testing for anyone who is symptomatic or considered at risk to exposure. The testing site will be in the O'Brien building carport. Test results will be available within 45 minutes. If someone tests positive, we will immediately follow an isolation protocol. There are quarantine and isolation rooms designated on campus.

Since we do not have a Limited Service Lab in Vermont, we have been exploring partnerships with nearby doctors' offices and other facilities, including the University of Vermont, to provide COVID-19 testing for our Vermont campus. We hope to have a final testing plan for Vermont soon. 

We may also conduct campus-wide testing if needed. This would involve a community-wide collection of samples to be sent to an external lab with a test result turnaround of 2-3 days.

Everyone Required to Complete a Daily Health Screening 

Everyone will be required to complete a 6-question daily health screening before coming to campus. This will be sent via text message or if needed, via an automated call to your landline. Everyone will be asked to confirm their contact number and emergency contact are accurate.  If a student residing on campus indicates on the daily health screening they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, we'll test them on campus and get the results quickly.

All Academic Programs Will Have Blended Curriculum Delivery

All academic programs will have a blended curriculum delivery approach, with the majority of Fall 2020 credits being offered in person. However, students will have the opportunity to indicate if they prefer to take all of their fall classes remotely. A survey requesting this information will be sent soon from Student Affairs. If a student requests an accommodation to take all of their classes remotely this fall, they will be contacted by the Counseling Center to ensure students with compromised immune systems or other related needs can eventually return to campus or complete their academic coursework via distance learning as safely and comfortably as possible.  All fall coursework and curriculum delivery will be in compliance with the immigration status for each international student. 

All International Students Have Been Contacted

We've been closely monitoring the federal guidance that relates to our international students and are very pleased that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has rescinded its directive that would have barred  international students from staying in the U.S. if their colleges offered classes entirely online in the fall semester. We will continue to review all guidance and work closely with all of our international students to ensure they maintain their F-1 visa status. 

Moving to Remote Instruction After Thanksgiving

To do all we can to protect our campus communities during this pandemic, we will move to remote instruction after Thanksgiving. This will limit any potential spread of COVID-19 since many members of our campus communities choose to travel during this break.

Postponing Fall Athletics to Spring Semester

Fall semester athletics have been postponed to the spring semester with the following anticipated start dates:
o January 4, 2021- Basketball
o February 1, 2021 - Soccer; Track and Field
o Cross Country will be canceled because a spring schedule conflicts with Track and Field

The fitness center, gym and all locker rooms will remain closed for the fall semester. 

Limiting Visitors in the Residence Halls

Only ACPHS students will be allowed in the residence halls and they'll be required to fill out the guest registration form to support potential contact tracing efforts. Face coverings must always be worn in the residence halls except when students are in their own room, suite, or apartment.  Students will be assigned into single and double occupancy rooms in compliance with NYS guidelines.  Students will either have a private bathroom in their room or share a bathroom in their suite or apartment. 

Reducing Dining Hall Capacity and Enhancing Grab and Go Options
We're modifying our dining halls in Albany and Vermont to abide by state guidance including reducing seating capacity and ensuring it accommodates six feet of separation. We're enhancing our grab and go options to make it easier for students to get their meals. Everyone is expected to wear face coverings in all public spaces, including the dining halls, but people are not required to wear them while eating in the dining hall.
Encouraging Student Organizations to Host Events Virtually

We're encouraging our student organizations to host their meetings and events virtually. Some small gatherings of clubs and their members will be scheduled during the fall semester to augment the virtual events. Student Affairs will be establishing a working group involving Student Engagement and Leadership, Residential Life and Student Government to develop activities under these guidelines. Everyone attending co-curricular gatherings and student organization meetings must wear masks and maintain social distancing. Attendance at all Student Affairs events will be taken for potential contact tracing efforts.  Events that cannot be done virtually or with masks and social distancing guidelines will be postponed to a time when guidance permits these types of events.

Requiring Students to Sign a Social Contract

Student Affairs is in the process of updating our Code of Conduct to include a social contract for students to sign attesting that they will follow all the new campus procedures including taking the COVID-19 training, getting tested for COVID-19, taking the daily health assessment, wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and only allowing other ACPHS students in the residence halls.

Preparing Campus to Reopen

We've been very busy preparing our campuses to reopen. We're adding extensive signage to reiterate that everyone is required to wear masks in all indoor and outdoor public spaces, and follow  the 6-foot social distancing guidelines and designated entry and exit paths in all public spaces, including classrooms, offices and labs. We've secured masks, cleaning supplies, and hired additional cleaning staff to provide regular cleaning throughout the day for "high touch" areas like door handles, handrails, elevators, and restrooms. We're adding protective shielding to reception areas, more hand sanitizers, and posting  maximum occupancy signs for all campus spaces except private offices. Employees will also soon be contacted to indicate if they want to be provided with an optional face shield for desk shield.

I understand that this is a lot of information. If you have any questions, please email your questions to

These are extraordinary times and I'm very proud of how everyone is rising to the occasion to do what is needed to protect our campus community and prepare for our students to return in the fall. Thank you all for your hard work!

Greg Dewey
ACPHS President