Like colleges and universities across the country, Siena is taking significant steps to safeguard our community in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. The latest general community updates can be found below and our FAQ page will be updated regularly as the situation evolves.
UPDATE MARCH 26, 2020
It was a truly extraordinary week. Despite our fears and doubts, we learned, taught, and provided services in a new modality with relatively few problems – kudos to all. We validated what we already knew; Siena is a learning community.
Unfortunately, the severity of the crisis also became evident. We can no longer reasonably hope that the threat presented by the coronavirus will subside by the Easter holiday. Even the most optimistic projections forecast the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to rise in New York well into April. We have no choice but to continue with our distance learning model for the remainder of the spring semester and pursue unconventional arrangements for Commencement and Senior Week.
I know this is extremely disappointing news for all of us, especially the Class of 2020. Each member of the community has been asked to sacrifice, to adapt, to make the best of a situation unimaginable just a couple of months ago. We will emerge from this temporary reality stronger because of it. Our resilience has already proven that. The Siena campus will be reenergized with all of the life and activity we cherish so much. The time will come for all of us to celebrate a new beginning together. But right now, I must ask for your continued patience. Read more.
UPDATE MARCH 20, 2020
On Monday, Siena College’s extended spring recess will come to an end, and we will move into the next phase of an unforeseen condition necessitated by the health threat impacting the entire globe. To comply with updated state regulations and to protect the public health, all courses will be taught remotely until April 14 at the earliest, and employees will work from home unless identified by their supervisor as core staff needed to perform essential on-campus functions.
The Siena Experience will go online – temporarily. Our campus will be almost completely empty. Who could have imagined such a development when we started this academic year? Read more.
UPDATE MARCH 14, 2020
We were notified on Saturday, March 14, by the Albany County Department of Health that a College employee has tested positive for COVID-19. It is the first, and as of this writing only, confirmed case involving a member of our community. The person infected is now receiving medical care off campus. We have prepared for this scenario and are working in tandem with local health officials to limit the risk and exposure to our community.
We can confirm the employee has not been on campus since Friday, March 6 and has had limited contact with other members of our community. The county health department is in the process of notifying all known community members who may have come in contact with the employee.
We are working closely with the county health department to ensure our actions and recommendations reflect best practices for the containment of the disease. In the near-term, we must confront the reality of this unique situation with medical facts, wisdom, and compassion. Limiting its spread is the quickest way we can return normalcy to our campus. In consultation with public health officials, we are not requesting that Siena College faculty and staff work remotely at this time. Students approved to live on campus will continue to have access to the campus resources identified to them in previous communications.
Update March 13, 2020
The number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York continues to climb, and on Thursday March 12, the first confirmed cases were reported in Albany County. Presently, mass gatherings are being restricted - on college campuses, at sporting events, etc. – to mitigate the spread of the disease. As long as the threat persists, we believe the risk is simply too high for students to return to campus. Therefore, classes will be moved to a remote instruction format from Monday, March 23 through Wednesday, April 8.
We hope the disease is contained by the end of the Easter holiday and students will be able to finish the academic year together, with classes resuming Tuesday, April 14. In the meantime, we must embrace a distance learning model for the protection and well-being of our students and community. As indicated in the March 11 letter emailed to the community, faculty will spend the next week adapting all courses to be taught remotely. Professors will contact their students in the coming week concerning next steps.
Courses: Online learning began March 23 and continue through the end of the semester. The last day of classes will still be May 4, with final exams held May 6-9.
Housing: Those students with special circumstances as determined by the College's Office of Community Living are permitted to stay on campus.
Travel: All official College travel is suspended until further notice.
College Events: Any public events on campus that are scheduled through May 17 have been postponed to a later date or canceled outright.