St. Thomas Aquinas College faculty and staff are here for you and we want to make it easy for our students to engage with everyone.
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The COVID-19 Updates webpage contains detailed information about the safety of our campus. Please be aware that this is a “working webpage” and is based on public health practices at the time of publication. We are cognizant that science, public health guidelines, and local, state, and federal requirements may shift because of the nature of the global COVID-19 Pandemic. As knowledge and understanding of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, St. Thomas Aquinas College’s Policies and Plans will be updated as quickly as possible.
Update 10/13/22: STAC Telehealth (TimelyMD) Virtual Services Ending on 10/15/22
STAC Telehealth (TimelyMD) services will be turned off as of Saturday, October 15, 2022. Please note, all students will continue to have access to their accounts for 30 days following the 10/15 termination date to access or download any care records.
STAC Telehealth was utilized during the onset and height of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide students with safe, virtual access to medical and mental telehealth care and support. Now that we are back on campus and have safely transitioned into easy in-person access to care through our Health and Wellness Services office, we are ending our remote telehealth services with TimelyMD.
If you have any questions, please contact STAC Health and Wellness Services at [email protected] or 845-398-4242. The College’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Office may also be reached at 845-398-4065, and you can learn more about how to schedule an appointment here.
Update 8/10/22: COVID Protocols for Fall 2022 Semester
Please see the following updates regarding COVID protocols on campus for the Fall 2022 semester. As always, the COVID-19 Task Force will be constantly monitoring the conditions on campus and in the surrounding area and may adjust the below policies and procedures as appropriate.
Mask-wearing is optional on STAC’s campus, except for in the STAC Health and Wellness Center, where masks must be worn, or if you are directed to wear a mask according to our isolation/quarantine policy (see below) This policy is aligned with current CDC Mask Guidance. Please visit the CDC Site: Use and Care of Masks, for additional information and advice. In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus, this policy is flexible as masks act as our first line of defense against the virus.
Please note: St. Thomas Aquinas College supports those who choose to wear a protective face mask at any time. Everyone in our community is encouraged to respect others’ decisions regarding mask-wearing.
Quarantine and Isolation
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or come into close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19, or if you are experiencing ANY of the below symptoms of COVID-19, please contact STAC Health Services at [email protected] or 845-398-4242 as soon as possible so you can speak to a medical professional and receive further instructions. It is your responsibility to follow these instructions and keep our community safe and healthy. If you are not fully up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccinations (including the recommended booster), you may have to quarantine. Do not come to campus unless you have been cleared to do so by STAC Health Services.
Common COVID-19 Symptoms:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
The guidance that will be given by our medical professionals aligns with those issued by the New York State Department of Health.
Resident students, please note that if you are required to quarantine and you live within 50 miles of the college it is expected that you will quarantine at home.
We strongly recommend that all members of the campus community are up-to-date, including any available boosters, on their COVID-19 vaccines. Consistent with many of our peer colleges, we are committed to working with all members of our campus community to help them achieve up-to-date vaccination status as easily as possible. We will host vaccine clinics on campus, provide free transportation to nearby vaccination sites, and work earnestly to ensure that all members of our community have free, easy access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Please submit your most recent COVID vaccination records to www.stac.edu/COVID as soon as possible and whenever you receive any additional doses.
Please note that if you are not up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccines, you will have to quarantine if exposed to COVID-19, which may result in multiple disruptions to your academic year.
Testing & Contact Tracing
We will not be providing on-campus testing services starting Fall 2022. If you are directed to test according to your isolation/quarantine guidelines, you will need to either access a testing center (especially if directed to take a PCR test) or use your own supply of rapid antigen tests.
Members of the campus community are not required to take a COVID test to gain entry to the College for the start of the Fall 2022 semester.
If the College is alerted to a positive case of COVID-19, the Contact Tracing Team will send an email notification to individuals who may have come into contact with the positive individual, which will contain further instructions.
Order a supply of antigen tests: Free Covid-19 antigen Tests
Or visit any of these local testing sites:
They have locations in the area near STAC and probably some closer to home as well. For more information on how to find a CityMD near you try this link.
Crystal Run Healthcare
Crystal Run has an impressive urgent care facility, a plethora of doctors to work with, and the ability to coordinate follow-up on-site. See their website at this link.
CVS has minute clinics however depending on the location you may have to call ahead, see if the CVS near you is offering walk-in or call-ahead services at this link.
*STAC does not endorse any of these providers over the other and medical questions should be discussed with your primary health care provider.
Need to Update Vaccination Status? Once you have received your vaccine/booster, please upload documentation here.
UPDATE 6/15/22: COVID Protocols on campus for Summer 2022
Please see the following updates regarding COVID protocols on campus for this summer:
1. Mask Wearing
Protocol: Masks are no longer required on campus, except for the STAC Health and Wellness Center, where masks must be worn.
For the summer, masks are optional, and not required over the summer on our campus. This is a change from our previous protocol of requiring masks based on vaccination and booster status. The COVID Task Force has reviewed mask guidelines and, effective June 15, 2022, STAC’s mask policy has been updated to align with the current CDC Mask Guidance. Please note, that this applies for the Summer and will be revisited and updated as needed before the Fall Semester. Here are some good mask practices:
- Wear a mask in public places with a lot of people around.
- Wear a mask when you are around people who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, or if you yourself are more vulnerable to COVID-19.
- If you have been with someone who is COVID-19 positive, take a rapid-test or go to a doctor to get tested. Wear a mask until the results are back.
- If you do not feel well, stay home, test, and contact your healthcare provider.
- If you choose to wear a mask; be sure it covers your mouth and nose, fits under your chin, and is snug on your face. Make sure it is easy to breathe. Visit the CDC Site, Use, and Care of Masks, for additional guidance.
Please note that St. Thomas Aquinas College supports those who choose to wear a protective face mask at any time. Though some people have different comfort levels when it comes to removing their masks, everyone in our community is encouraged to respect others’ decisions regarding mask-wearing.
2. Quarantine and Isolation Guidance
Please read more about guidelines on Quarantine and Isolation here. STAC will follow the new COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Guidance issued by the Rockland County Department of Health. NYS continues to experience COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The purpose of this new guidance is to keep people healthy and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Specific guidelines include:
- You are considered up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you by the CDC, as determined by your age and health status.
- Anyone who is not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations must quarantine for 5 days after close contact with someone with COVID-19. That includes:
- Anyone who is not vaccinated or has not completed a primary vaccine series.
- Anyone who has completed the primary series of recommended vaccines, and is eligible for a CDC-recommended booster vaccine, but has not received it. You are eligible 5 months after your primary series.
- ** NEW ** For anyone 50 years or older or who is immunocompromised, a second booster is recommended and is needed to stay up to date. You are eligible 4 months after your first booster.
- You are considered up to date 2-weeks after your primary series if you are not eligible for a booster.
- You are considered up to date immediately after you are Booster’d.
- Please note: if you have tested positive within the last 90-days and are in close contact with a COVID-positive person you will not need to quarantine.
UpDATE 3/2/22: New Mask Policy in Effect 3/7/22
New Mask Policy
Effective March 7, 2022, members of the STAC community who have received their booster vaccination will:
- NOT need to wear masks on campus other than in classrooms (and in instructional spaces); however, they may do so if they please;
- NOT be subject to random COVID testing;
- NOT need to quarantine (and NOT have to miss class/campus activities) if in close contact with a COVID positive individual (and asymptomatic).
- NOT be restricted from participating in campus activities.
Eligible individuals who have not received their Booster will still need to wear their masks in ALL indoor settings, will be subject to quarantine, and may be subject to random testing in order to continue to safeguard the STAC community.
Remember, all students and faculty will still be required to wear masks in the classroom (and in instructional spaces) regardless of their Booster status.
This change results from new CDC guidelines, NYS guidance, low community transmissions levels within Rockland County, and a low campus infection rate.
Update 1/5/22: Delayed Spring Semester Opening Until January 31 and Booster Documentation
COVID-19 has become a more serious risk due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant. So, in order to keep our campus safe, it is our expectation that students and employees receive a Booster now or as soon as they become eligible.
Over the past week, New York State experienced a COVID positivity rate of 27.4%, Rockland County experienced a COVID positivity rate of 27.7%, and we have experienced a dramatic increase in the number of COVID cases among students and employees here at STAC. It is therefore imperative to get the Booster over the January school break to help fight the surge and protect one another.
As a further means of keeping our campus safe, the first day of our semester will be delayed one week, until Monday, January 31. Starting January 31 (instead of January 24) will allow more time for the rapid spread of the variant to abate, and help us reach our goal of a largely in-person spring semester.
It is our expectation that employees and students will receive their Boosters prior to the Spring Semester or as soon as eligible.
You are eligible for a booster if it has been two months after a Johnson & Johnson dose, or five months after a Moderna or Pfizer vaccination dose. It is our expectation that you receive your booster by Monday January 31, 2022 or as soon as you are eligible.
Please upload booster documentation here.
Now that employees and students are eligible, 150 members of the campus community have received their Booster and submitted their documentation. (For students and employees who have documented medical or religious vaccination exemptions, additional safety protocols will continue to be implemented.)
Free COVID Testing
This information is provided as a resource for those who may need testing and are not back at school, as well as your family and friends.
For New Jersey Residents, please click here.
The free on-campus testing center will be open Monday-Thursday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM and Friday 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM for any student or employee who has symptoms or believes they have been exposed to COVID. If you are symptomatic, please contact Campus Safety prior to coming to campus to test. Positive results other than Vault Testing should be reported to STAC Health and Wellness Services at [email protected].
New Office Guidance
Through at least January 21, 2022, please adhere to the following:
- All group meetings should be held virtually, even if all attendees are in the office, rather than in-person.
- 50% in-person staffing model in place per the needs of each individual department: 50% of employees working in-person on campus will be the overall density target for the campus — with the prior vaccination/exemption requirements, face mask policy, and 6 feet social distancing remaining strictly in effect — and flexed according to each department’s needs.
- Athletics competitions and practices will be determined by Athletic Director Nicole Ryan.
The 50% in-person staffing model as noted above will continue through to at least January 21, 2022, with plans to assess our readiness for a return to normal operations by Monday, January 24, 2022. The COVID Task Force will continue to monitor and evaluate COVID-19 conditions. All student services will remain readily available for STAC students.
Face Masks Required Indoors per CDC Guidance
Rockland County has been designated by the CDC as having a high level of community transmission of the COVID-19 virus and emerging Delta variant. Based on the CDC designation and in accordance with CDC guidance, the College requires all members of the STAC Community to wear a mask in public indoor spaces, including classrooms, hallways, stairwells, elevators, shared offices, restrooms, the Fitness Center/Gym and other shared spaces. Individuals do not need to wear a mask when in their own family residence unit on campus or alone in a private office or workspace but should put on their mask if someone enters that space, preferably before the other person enters. Masks are not required to be worn outdoors, unless you cannot maintain six feet of physical distance or are in a crowded area.
It is important to remember that the COVID-19 vaccine is an important step in our COVID-19 Mitigation Protocols. Besides minimizing the effects of COVID-19, you will not have to quarantine if you come in close contact with someone who is COVID positive. However, in accordance with updated CDC guidance, please note that if you are fully vaccinated and you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, you will need to get tested 3-5 days after the date of your exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result.
We will continue to monitor the CDC designations and guidance to evaluate and update our procedures and policies.
STAC will hold an on-campus COVID-19 vaccine clinic on August 25, 2021. Additional information on location and time to follow. Please see below for upcoming clinics in our area:
Rockland County Department of Health at the Palisades Center
The Pfizer vaccine will be given for individuals ages 12+ at this vaccine clinic, open to the public. Walk-ins are welcome and will be registered onsite. To make your COVID-19 Vaccine appointment in advance for the below clinic, visit the Department of Health website.
Sunday, August 8th
1:00PM - 3:00PM
1000 Palisades Center Drive: East Court on Level One, near H&M
West Nyack, NY 10994
Rockland County Department of Health Vaccine Clinics
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be given to individuals at 50 Sanatorium Road, Bldg. A, Pomona, NY during the times stated below. Clinics are open to the public.
Thursday, August 5th
Tuesday, August 17th
Wednesday, August 25th
If you need assistance, email [email protected]
As we prepare for the Fall 2021 semester, we are working to make our on-campus experience as vibrant as possible, returning to as many “normal” activities as we can. With that in mind, I’m writing to ask for your assistance.
You can help keep our community safe. We have all learned that one of the best ways to protect our campus community is for individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and we request that students receive the vaccine before returning to school in the Fall. We are pleased to report that more than 80% of our full-time employees are now vaccinated.
Our COVID-19 safety protocols will continue to evolve and be updated throughout the summer, and all necessary information posted at that website.
I ask that you help us stay “Spartan Strong” — please get your vaccination and encourage your friends to do so. We all want to be a part of a safer, better, more normalized academic year.
Feel free to direct any questions to us via email [email protected].
STAC Engage Screening Update
The College and COVID Task Force have made the decision to suspend the STAC Engage screening process effective Wednesday, June 23, 2021. The new process for reporting is as follows:
- Students who do not feel well, please contact Health and Wellness Services.
- Employees who do not feel well, please contact your supervisors.
- Students, remember that you can use STAC Telehealth services if you do not feel well.
Visitors and Guests (all individuals who do not have a stac.edu email address) should continue to sign in and be screened at Campus Safety.
#SpartansShieldSpartans! STAC will hold a Vaccine Clinic on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 from 2:00 PM - 7:00 PM in the Aquinas Hall Gymnasium. All students, employees, and faculty are permitted to register and can receive their vaccine on campus for free! Once registered, the timeline is as follows:
- First dose of the Pfizer vaccine administered on April 20, 2021
- Second dose of the Pfizer vaccine administered on May 11, 2021
If you cannot make it the May 11, 2021 date on campus for your second shot, you will need to report to a Refuah Health Center location.
- Visit www.refuahhealth.org and submit the appropriate forms:
— If you have been to the Refuah Health Center in the past, fill out the “Get the Shot” form and upload a photo ID that includes date of birth.
— If you have never been to a Refuah Health Center, fill out the “New 2 Refuah” and “Get the Shot” forms, including all necessary information.
Within the “Mobile Vaccine Clinic Location (if applicable)” section, please write St. Thomas Aquinas College.
- If you are unable to register online, please fill out the Refuah Health Welcome Sheet and return to Ms. Carolee Stoll in STAC’s Mailroom before Friday, 4/16 at 4:00PM to ensure your scheduled vaccine time slot. (If you submit paperwork after this deadline you may not be given a specific time, and have to wait in between other registered time slots.) Please write out as much information as possible, including name, date of birth, address, phone number(s), email, and insurance information if available.
Remember, We Are Spartans: dedicated, determined, caring, and resilient. We can all do our part to bring our campus classes and activities back to a more normal, in-person rhythm, especially as we look towards the Fall 2021 semester.
Shields up, Spartans — let’s stop the spread of COVID-19, protect one another, and get vaccinated!
IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Reopening of STAC Campus Effective Monday, April 12, 2021
The College’s COVID Task Force has made the decision to "unpause" and return back to campus on Monday, April 12, 2021 based on the following:
- The overall positive rate of testing members of the College community is 1.64% and the 7 day positive rate is 1.73%.
- We have tested over 744 members of our campus community over the past two weeks, and will continue to conduct COVID-19 random testing for students and employees to closely monitor the health of our campus.
- The College's classrooms continue to be thoroughly cleaned, including areas of high contact such as the Lougheed Library, Romano Center, and the Kraus Fitness Center.
Our campus reopening plan is as follows:
- Students, faculty, and employees who are not in quarantine or isolation are permitted to come back to campus beginning Monday, April 12. Note that those previously approved for remote instruction may remain remote. Employee staffing will return to 50% levels.
- Residence Halls and essential services for residents will continue to be open, including Residence Life, Dining Services, Campus Safety, and Facilities.
- Athletics will also resume activities and competitions, with frequent testing and other safety protocols in place, and the Kraus Fitness Center will initially be reopened for supervised athletics workouts only.
- Activities such as online watch parties, games/trivia, as well as healthy outdoor activities like running, walking, corn hole, and frisbee toss while wearing face masks and staying socially distant are permitted. Please stay tuned for more information about additional on campus events and activities.
- We encourage the use of our outdoor tents on campus, which provide space for outdoor dining and social distancing.
The end of the semester is around the corner. In order to keep classes and activities in-person for the remainder of the semester, it is imperative that we all do our part both on and off campus. If reporting to campus, please remember to complete the STAC Engage daily screening to receive a green pass, wear masks covering both the nose and mouth, and practice social distancing.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Temporary Safety Pause EXTENDED: In-Person Instruction Resumes Monday, April 12 / COVID Vaccines
New York State has announced that, as of April 6, all state residents age 16 years and older will be eligible for a COVID vaccine — and, even better, Rockland County is opening a mass vaccination site at Rockland Community College! We strongly encourage all students to immediately sign up for the vaccine — after all, we are “Spartans Shielding Spartans”!
Next, as evidence of the need for vaccinations, the COVID Task Force has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 climate both on campus — with over 1,000 tests administered in the past 2.5 weeks — and in our local area, and following suit with our high-mitigation approach and safety protocols, we have made the decision to extend the Safety Pause for another week.
Please note that in-person instruction is now planned to resume on Monday, April 12.
During the College’s extended Safety Pause:
- All classes will continue to be conducted remotely, except for labs and studio classes on a case-by-case basis. Please contact your instructor for specific details.
- Commuter students should limit their visits to campus, except those in labs or other approved in-person classes.
- The Lougheed Library will reopen for student usage on April 5.
- Athletic programs will continue to be paused, other than pre-approved outdoor workouts and other activities that follow proper safety protocols, until it has been determined that competitions can be safely played.
- All on-campus gatherings cannot exceed five people.
- The Kraus Fitness Center will remain closed until it has been determined that supervised workouts can be safely resumed.
- Employee staffing will be at 25% levels; please consult your supervisor.
- Visitors will not be permitted on campus, other than approved visits and campus Admissions tours, which will strictly follow proper protocols.
- Residence Halls will remain open and essential services for residents will be maintained, including Residence Life, Dining Services, Campus Safety, and Facilities.
- Extensive random COVID-19 testing will continue.
Again, in-person instruction is scheduled to resume on Monday, April 12.
Our Spartan community is resilient, and we commend you all for being dedicated to your work throughout the semester. Please continue to make safe decisions by wearing face masks that cover the nose and mouth, washing hands, remaining socially distant, and avoiding travel and large gatherings. The STAC community will be notified of all the details of our plans for our return to in-person activities.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Temporary Safety Pause Effective Wednesday, March 24 at 8:00 AM
The College administration and COVID Task Force have been closely monitoring the positive testing rates on campus, as well as the current COVID-19 climate in surrounding counties.
Our positive rate had been a very stable 2% during the past two weeks and less than 1% during the prior three weeks. However, we conducted more than 400 tests over the past 7 days and have realized a significant and concerning spike in positive cases. So, per our robust COVID safety protocols, it is necessary to use our plan to pivot to remote operations.
In response to this increasing number of COVID-19 cases and quarantined students, we are initiating a pause for nearly all in-person activities, effective tomorrow, Wednesday, March 24 at 8:00 AM through Friday, April 2. During that time:
- All classes will be conducted remotely, except for labs and studio classes on a case-by-case basis. Please contact your instructor for specific details.
- Commuter students are not permitted to come to campus, except those in labs or other approved in-person classes.
- The Lougheed Library will offer all services remotely.
- All athletic programs will be paused, other than pre-approved outdoor workouts and other activities that follow proper safety protocols.
- All on-campus gatherings cannot exceed five people.
- The Kraus Fitness Center will be closed.
- Employee staffing will be at 25% levels; please consult your supervisor.
- Visitors will not be permitted on campus, other than approved campus Admissions tours, which will strictly follow proper protocols.
- Residence Halls will remain open and essential services for residents will be maintained, including Residence Life, Dining Services, Campus Safety, and Facilities.
- Random COVID-19 testing will continue for all who remain on campus.
This safety pause will be in effect until Friday, April 2. As long as it is safe, in-person instruction will resume on Monday, April 5.
As we take this safety pause, it is important that we continue to keep each other safe by wearing face masks, washing our hands, remaining socially distant, and NOT travel or gather in groups over this Pause. Please check your email regularly, as the STAC community will be notified of all the details of our plans for our return to in-person activities.
The College requires all students, faculty, and staff to comply with current New York State (NYS) Travel Requirements. Individuals who have travelled to and from New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Vermont are exempt from the below NYS policy.
NYS Travel Requirements
All travelers entering New York from a state that is not a contiguous state who have been outside of New York for more than 24 hours must:
- Complete the Traveler Health Form.
- Obtain a COVID-19 test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York.
Upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days.
- Obtain another COVID-19 test on day 4 of quarantine.
If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test. Travelers who do not obtain a test prior to arrival in New York and/or on the 4th day in New York, must quarantine for 10 days.
Travelers who were out-of-state for less than 24 hours:
- Do not need a test prior to their departure from the other state, and do not need to quarantine upon arrival in New York State.
- Must complete the Traveler Health Form upon entry into New York State.
- Obtain a COVID-19 diagnostic test 4 days after their arrival in New York.
Further, domestic travelers to New York may be exempt from quarantine if they satisfy the following criteria.
- Consistent with recent CDC guidance, asymptomatic individuals who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine during the first 3 months after full vaccination if such travelers: Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine); AND are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series; AND have remained asymptomatic since last COVID-19 exposure.
- Consistent with CDC guidance from February 13, 2021, asymptomatic individuals who have previously been diagnosed with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 and have since recovered, are not required to retest and quarantine within 3 months after the date of symptom onset from the initial COVID-19 infection or date of first positive diagnostic test if asymptomatic during illness.
- Travelers from states that are contiguous with New York (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont) are exempt from the travel advisory.
- Travelers from Canada crossing at land borders subject to the agreement between the governments of the United States and Canada are permitted to travel in accordance with said agreement and do not need to quarantine.
- Exceptions to the travel advisory are permitted for essential workers traveling from non-contiguous U.S. states or territories and are limited based on the duration of time in New York and subject to more specific industry guidance for a particular industry.
All travelers must complete the NYS traveler form upon arrival into New York.
We are pleased to announce that St. Thomas Aquinas College will reopen for a hybrid mix of in-person and on-line classes on March 1, 2021.
COVID-19 Testing Update and Return to Campus Information
STAC will continue non-invasive testing, FREE of charge, through “Vault” for all members of the College community who will be returning to campus in March.
- A negative “Vault” test will again be required in order to return safely for students and employees who have not regularly been on campus. Members of the STAC Community: please check your emails for notifications from [email protected] about the timeline to take your “Vault” test in order to return to campus. We will continue to implement robust weekly random testing throughout the semester.
- Our Campus Safety Officers will continue to screen at the two main gates (Fitzpatrick Village and Kings Hwy), checking for STAC Engage green passes, face masks, and Spartan ID cards upon arrival to campus. (Note: Spartan ID swipe access only for McNelis Commons gate.) All individuals reporting to campus need to complete their daily screening to receive a “green pass,” wear masks (not gaiter-masks) covering both the nose and mouth, and practice social distancing.
- Please check your temperature whenever passing by our Healthguard Scanners.
- We will continue to de-densify campus with 50% of employees working in-person.
- Please continue to conduct all meetings virtually, even if all parties are physically in person on campus.
- Residence Halls will remain open and the McNelis Dining Hall and Romano Center’s Spartan Grille will be open for takeout meals or single dining at separate tables at this time.
- The Lougheed Library will remain open to students with social distancing and mask wearing guidelines in effect.
- Our Kraus Fitness Center is currently open for supervised student-athlete workouts only with stringent safety guidelines in effect. A tentative reopening date for increased use of the Fitness Center is Monday, March 15.
Our planned “Wellness Days” for students will be on Monday, March 15 and Tuesday, March 16 instead of traditional Spring Break. After this brief wellness break, depending on the level of COVID-19 cases, it is our intention to move to even more in-person classes and student activities on campus in a safe, socially distanced manner.
As our Spring semester continues, the health and safety of our Spartans remains our number one priority.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Spring 2021 Semester Timeline
Our commitment in 2021 is to continue to safeguard the health and safety of our students, while providing them with the resources and support they need to advance their academic goals in uninterrupted pursuit of their college degrees.
We are excited to start the Spring semester on February 1, 2021. Residence halls, dining halls, and student services will be open prior to February 1 and are scheduled to remain open throughout the Spring semester. Our academic calendar will again have planned “pivot points” and a phased re-opening to allow us to flex classes between in-person and on-line, depending on the level of COVID-19 cases.
Phase 1: Based on the current level of COVID-19 cases in Rockland County and throughout New York State, all classes will be conducted remotely, starting February 1 to mitigate the spread on campus.
Phase 2: On February 15, we will assess the level of COVID-19 cases and announce plans for when we will move back to hybrid mix of in-person and on-line classes.
Phase 3: On March 1, as long as it is safe, it is our intention to return to in-person classes, supplemented by on-line classes.
Phase 4: Monday, March 15 and Tuesday, March 16 will be planned “Wellness Days'' for our students in lieu of our traditional Spring Break. After this brief wellness break, depending on the level of COVID-19 cases, it is our intention to have more and more in-person classes and student activities on campus in a safe, socially distanced manner throughout the remainder of the semester.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE: End of Fall 2020 Semester Timeline.
As a result of an increase in the number of positive COVID tests across New York State, in our local communities, and right here at STAC, the College has made the decision to continue the current mode of remote instruction for the remainder of the semester (labs, studio classes, and courses that must be taught in person can be held on campus at the discretion of each faculty member). Residence Halls, Dining, and student services will remain open during this time. Please note December 18, 2020 will still be the last day of classes for the Fall 2020 semester.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE Regarding Reopening of Campus: Effective Start of Classes, Monday 10/19/20.
Because of the more than 300 consecutive negative results from our COVID testing this past week, we will be "unpausing" and returning back to campus on Monday, October 19, 2020. The Cabinet and COVID Task Force have made this decision based on the following information:
- Within the past week or so, we have tested nearly one-third of our campus community and have had no positive cases and will test a similar number of students and employees next week to consistently monitor the health of the campus.
- The overall positive rate of testing members of the College community is 0.35%.
- After an investigation, we are confident that the five positive cases we caught through our testing last week were an isolated cluster — and that there were no inappropriate actions or violations of our policies involved. All five individuals are doing well.
- The numbers in Rockland County have declined to a positive test rate of 4.3%.
- Classrooms and other touchpoints have been thoroughly cleaned, including the use of the ultraviolet light, and areas of high contact such as the Lougheed Library, Romano Center, and the Kraus Fitness Center have been extensively disinfected.
- The Kraus Fitness Center will re-open on a phased basis. Student-athletes will use the Center with strict supervision from coaches during the first phase. The Fitness Center will be opened for other students at a later date.
This is all good news; however, it underscores the need for all of us to follow our COVID regulations: we need to continue daily screening to receive the green pass, wear masks the correct way, and practice social distancing wherever we are. Furthermore, to help keep us safe we are significantly increasing the random COVID-19 testing of all employees and students (free of charge as in the past). If you receive an email indicating that you are being tested as part of our random groupings, please promptly follow the directions regarding how to complete the test.
We have been saying this all along because it is true: when we work together to keep each other safe, we make it possible to keep doing what we do best: teach, work, and learn in person.
PHASE 3: IMPORTANT MESSAGE REGARDING TEMPORARY SAFETY PAUSE EFFECTIVE AT THE END OF CLASSES, TOMORROW, OCTOBER 9.
When we designed the academic calendar for this semester, we built in Phases (“pivot moments”) in the event that the COVID-19 circumstances change. We are at a point now where the positive testing rates in Rockland County and elsewhere in New York State are escalating.
Here on campus — while our overall positivity rate remains low at 0.41% — our random testing plan has reported five positive cases in the past several days, making it necessary to implement one of our planned pivot points. In fact, October 13, 2020 is the first day of Phase 3, which was placed there for this very purpose: to look at our current situation and determine our next steps.
Therefore, as of the end of classes on Friday, October 9, 2020, our next steps will be:
- The College will begin a “safety pause” for at least one week. This means that for the next academic week — October 13-16 — all instruction will be conducted remotely.
- The residence halls will remain open, and the McNelis Dining Hall will be open for take-out meals only.
- All indoor campus facilities (eg: Lougheed Library, Fitness Center) will be temporarily closed and outside activities other than walking/running on campus, or using outside tents while wearing masks, are “paused.”
- Random testing of the College community will continue, as well as a significant increase in focused testing of those identified as being in high-risk situations.
Remember: all classes are in session next week, but they will be conducted remotely.
Currently, we hope to safely return to our regular blend of in-person and remote classes on Monday, October 19; however, next week you will be notified of all the details of our plans for our return to in-person activities.
We know you'll join us in sending our best wishes for good health to those of our community who have tested positive. It is important that we remember that we are in a very different place than we were in March. In March, this was all unfamiliar and much of our planning was done on the spot. Now, however, we have a plan that clearly works well — and now we are all aware of our obligation to keep each other safe by wearing masks, washing our hands, and remaining socially distant, as we take this safety pause. We also know that together, with our commitment to each other, we will make it through the rest of this semester safely.
STAC's COVID-19 Testing Policy
CARES Act Funds
St. Thomas Aquinas College has been provided funds through the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) Act. A portion of these funds is required to be distributed to students in the form of emergency grants under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).
In accordance with the guidelines of this program, St. Thomas Aquinas College acknowledges the following:
A Certification and Agreement has been signed and returned. STAC is required to distribute 50% of the Cares Act funds to students in the form of emergency grants.
St. Thomas Aquinas College has received a total of $489,023 through this program.
Total emergency grants distributed to students as of June 25, 2020, is $220,500.
The estimated number of students eligible to participate in this program is 980.
Based on the eligibility guidelines outlined by the Department of Education, the College provided those eligible students who were enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester a $225.00 grant. Additionally, the remaining funding, which approximates 10% of the total amount received by the College, will be distributed to eligible students through a hardship application process.
Students received a letter informing them that this grant is from the CARES Act and is intended to be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus for items such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care.
STAC Fall Semester Scheduled for September 8 Start!
We are pleased with the progress New York State has made in “flattening the curve” to mitigate the COVID-19 impact and, given Governor Cuomo’s Phase 2 announcement yesterday, June 8th, 2020, STAC is working towards a phased reopening approach of the campus.
Our priority remains to safeguard the health of our faculty, staff, and students as we resume our work on campus, with health and safety at the forefront.
STAC Phase 1 Tuesday, June 9 - College administration returns to campus
STAC Phase 2 Monday, June 22 - Other administrative and support staff begin to return to campus. Faculty welcomed back to campus. Note: all summer classes and activities remain online
STAC Phase 3 Summer 2020 - Prepare a safe, meaningful student experience for the Fall semester, we are reconfiguring campus spaces, offices, and classrooms to accommodate physical distancing and other requirements. We are carefully following all NYS and CDC health and safety protocols to ensure a safe, vibrant educational environment for our students.
STAC Phase 4 Tuesday, September 8 - First Day of Fall 2020 classes. We plan to begin the Fall 2020 semester with traditional in-person classroom instruction augmented by online course components to enhance the student learning experience.
We will continue to follow CDC and New York State guidelines and requirements when finalizing our specific reopening protocols, and plans are in place should an unexpected change in the COVID-19 situation warrant extra precautions to safeguard health. We will announce all updates as necessary.
Dr. Margaret Fitzpatrick, S.C., Ed.D., president of the College states, “It is wonderful to welcome our St. Thomas Aquinas College community back to campus. While offering a superb online learning experience this spring and summer, we are thrilled to be reopening STAC to an in-person experience for our students starting September 8th. Yes, STAC is back!”
Plans for Fall 2020 Semester from the Office of the Provost, Dr. Robert Murray
As we wrap up a very challenging spring semester, Dr. Fitzpatrick and President-elect Ken Daly, in consultation with the cabinet, are working diligently to plan for our immediate future. At this time, St. Thomas Aquinas College is planning to resume in-person, on-campus instruction, residence life, and student activities for the Fall 2020 semester.
We are examining various contingencies for whatever adaptations and changes will be required to open the campus for instruction, dorm life, and a range of student activities. Further, we are planning for specific ways to protect the health and safety of our students and employees in line with all necessary precautions recommended by the CDC and within the guidelines set up by Governor Cuomo.
We expect to announce more details about our plans as soon as possible, and we appreciate your patience and understanding on this important matter.
Grade Conversion Calculator Update from the Office of the Provost, Dr. Robert Murray
Spring 2020 grades will be available for viewing on Banner Self Service starting on Thursday, May 7. As previously communicated to students via email, this semester you will be able to convert any grade other than NC or FX to a P grade.
Once you see your grades on Banner Self Service, you will have until noon on Friday, May 15 to submit your grade conversions. To help you decide what impact converting your grades may have, we have developed a GPA calculator. After you click the link just below, you will have to make a copy of the spreadsheet. Here's how:
- Open this link to access the GPA Conversion Calculator Template.
- Click on Make a Copy.
- Use this copy for your own calculations.
- Once you decide on which grades you wish to convert, notify the Registrar's Office using this Grade Conversion Form.
Instructions once your own copy opens:
- Delete the sample courses and grades that are in the BLUE calculator and replace them with your own courses and grades. This will compute your GPA without any grade conversions.
- At this stage, the grades in the GREEN calculator will be the same as the ones you just entered in the BLUE calculator. Now, you can use the green calculator to see what would happen to your GPA when you convert your grades to the P grade, and you can compare your converted GPA to your original GPA (in BLUE).
Again, you can convert the grades in the GREEN calculator in any way to see how different grade conversions will have a different effect on your semester GPA by comparing the GPA in the GREEN calculator to the one in the BLUE calculator.
- Once you decide which grades to convert, you must submit them to the Registrar on the Grade Conversion Form — you must use this form to tell the Registrar which grades to convert.
NOTE: The GPA calculator is for your own practice purposes only — it is not the form to use to change your grades.
DO NOT submit your GPA calculator to the Registrar — your grades will not be converted if you do.
REMEMBER, to submit your converted grades, you must submit a completed Grade Conversion Form.
- The form gives you the opportunity to enter up to 6 courses to convert.
- You can convert one course then submit, or enter several courses then submit, or anything in between.
- Once you submit your grade change, you will receive an email of confirmation from the Registrar.
- Once you submit your grade conversions you cannot convert your grade again; you cannot change grades once you receive the conversion confirmation from the Registrar.
- Grade Conversions cannot be submitted after 12:00 pm (noon) on Friday, May 15.
- Remember that in order to be on the Dean's List, you will need at least 12 credits of unconverted grades (that is, with the original letter grades intact); keep that in mind as you choose which grades to convert to a P.
Here is a downloadable pdf file with the GRADE CONVERSION POLICY and the GRADE CONVERSION FAQ in case you need them as you make these decisions.
2020 Summer STEAM Camps Cancelled
Due to COVID-19 we've had to make the unfortunate decision to cancel this year's Summer STEAM Camps. Please be sure to check back with us next year since each summer, St. Thomas Aquinas College hosts a series of STEAM campsin Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics for middle and elementary school students. The series of STEAM Camps are made possible by the support of Orange & Rockland Utilities.
An Important Message from the Office of the Provost, Dr. Robert Murray
COVID-19 Undergraduate Grading Policy of Spring 2020- Frequently Asked Questions
The decision to allow students to have such grade flexibility is a direct acknowledgment of this unprecedented situation. We expect our remote courses to maintain the highest quality instruction possible, and we expect you to continue to seek the most from your courses.
Q: How will Spring 2020 classes be graded?
A: Faculty members will record letter grades as usual. Between May 7 and May 15, you will have the opportunity to tell the Registrar which grades (other than NC or FX) to convert to the P grade.
Q: How can I convert my grade?
A: The Registrar’s office is preparing a special electronic form that will be ready for student use by May 6th. Students will be able to submit this form directly from their stac.edu email account. When your grades are posted on May 7, you can indicate on this form which of your course grade(s) (from A to D) you want to convert to a P. You need to make this decision by May 15.
Q: How do I know which grades to convert?
A: Obviously, the higher the grade the less likely you would be to convert it to a P. You worked hard for an A or a B, so you should reap the benefits. And in most cases, you would want to convert a D grade to a P. However, the C grades might be a tougher decision. A lot depends on your current GPA: in general, if you have a high GPA and want to keep it as high as possible, you might consider converting the C to a P; on the other hand, if you have a low GPA and need every grade point you can get, then the C may bring your GPA up just enough to get off Academic Probation. There is more information about calculating your GPA available in the College Catalog, on pages 46-49.
Q: Will converting to a P grade ever lower my GPA?
A: No. Because the P grade counts for credit but is not calculated into your GPA, your GPA should remain at least where it was at the beginning of this semester no matter what. And remember, unconverted high grades (like A and B) will still improve your GPA.
Q: Will grades of P and NC appear on student transcripts?
Q: Are there restrictions on courses that I can choose to convert? Are there courses I cannot convert?
A: No. The Grade Conversion option is available for all undergraduate courses for the Spring 2020 semester.
Q: I am on Academic Probation. How will this policy affect me?
A: The Grade Conversion option is available regardless of your current academic standing during the Spring 2020 semester. If you earn good grades, your GPA will go up and help you get off Probation; if you earn low grades and convert them to the P grade, your GPA will not change, so you may remain on Probation.
Q: Will these courses count toward my degree requirements?
A: Yes. All converted courses other than those that earn an NC or FX grade will count toward all appropriate degree requirements; however, converted grades do not count toward your GPA. This also applies to major/minor requirements. remember, courses that receive an FX will be counted toward your GPA.
Q: How will converting a grade affect me if I am retaking a course that I had failed?
A: A grade of 'P' will satisfy removing a previously failed course from the student's transcript and GPA calculation, but keep in mind that the P may not be adequate towards satisfying a prerequisite. Neither an NC nor an FX will give you credit and neither will remove the previous F from your transcript.
Q: What if I require a letter grade for a professional program, employment, or graduate studies?
A: Because letter grades will be recorded, it will be possible for students to request an official letter attesting those grades should that be necessary. We will ensure that those who need evidence of your academic achievements this spring will be able to get it.
Q: I am considering applying to Graduate School or Medical School. Should I convert any of my grades?
A: In this situation, it would be best to speak with your advisor.
Q: How will this change affect the Dean's List for the Spring 2020 semester?
A: To be eligible for the Spring 2020 Dean’s List, students must have achieved a Grade Point Average of 3.5 or better while earning no fewer than 12 credits of unconverted grades, and earning no grade lower than a C. Note, as always: students involved in a student teaching experience in any given semester are not eligible for the Dean’s List that semester.
Q: How will this change affect Latin honors (Summa Cum Laude, etc.)?
A: Latin honors are awarded to Baccalaureate degree recipients who have achieved a high cumulative Grade Point Average and completed the College’s minimum number of credits earned at the College. Latin Honors are awarded to students who meet these criteria by the time of their graduation:
- They must have earned a minimum of 60 credits at St. Thomas Aquinas College.
- Students who have transferred into St. Thomas Aquinas College and have earned fewer than 60 credits at the College are not eligible for Latin Honors.
- They cannot have received any grade lower than a C.
- Their cumulative Grade Point Average must meet the following minimums: Summa Cum Laude: 3.80; Magna Cum Laude: 3.65; Cum Laude: 3.50.
- The Spring 2020 semester will be counted as long as the student has earned 12 credits of unconverted grades that satisfy the above criteria.
Q: I am a student-athlete. How will this affect my academic eligibility and progress toward degree requirements?
A: Student-athletes are expected to complete all NCAA Progress Toward Degree requirements and are required to remain in good academic standing with the institution. P grades will be accepted as you will earn the necessary credits for the class. If you have any concerns regarding the NCAA Progress Toward Degree requirements or GPA requirements, please speak with Andrew Tartara, NCAA Compliance Officer or Nicole Ryan, Director of Athletics.
Q: Are these changes to the grading scale permanent?
A: No, these changes are for the Spring 2020 semester only due to the impact of COVID-19.
Q: Do the changes to the grading scale for Spring 2020 apply to undergraduate students enrolled in graduate classes?
A: No. Graduate classes are not affected by the Grade Conversion policy. Undergraduates taking graduate classes will receive traditional letter grades and cannot convert them. Students in a program with another institution (such as the NYU MSW Program) should consult that institution for their policies.
Q: I am an international student. Will converting my grades to P for the Spring 2020 semester impact my visa status?
A: As long as you remain enrolled as a full-time student making forward progress towards your degree, converting your class grades to P for the Spring 2020 semester will not impact your status.
Q: Will I still be able to appeal a grade?
A: Yes. The normal Grade Appeal process will be in place. If you feel the initial grade your professor assigned to you is unwarranted, you begin the process by contacting your professor, then the Dean. If your appeal is unsuccessful, you may consider Grade Conversion if appropriate.
Q: Who do I contact if I have further questions about the COVID-19 Grade Conversion policy for the Spring 2020 semester?
A: Contact: Dr. Robert Murray, Provost; 845-398-4125; [email protected] or Ms. Eileen Murphy, Registrar, 845-398-4310; [email protected]
An Important Message to our Undergraduate Students from the Office of the Provost, Dr. Robert Murray
A Revised Plan for Undergraduate Course Grades for Spring 2020
We are changing our course grade policy for this semester because we feel that the circumstances of such a sudden and unprecedented shift of our entire academic program to an online platform has undoubtedly created unusual obstacles for students. Because of this health crisis, students are not simply required to know and master the material offered by each course as delivered in the classroom; students are now expected to adapt to a variety of online services, compensate for faculty’s varying levels of experience with online learning, and, of course, cope with the many other anxieties that impact us all at such an uncertain time.
In creating this policy, our goals were simple:
- Because of the massive challenges we are experiencing, no student should have a lower overall GPA at the end of this semester.
- However, students who do well should be able to keep the high grades they earn despite this semester’s challenges.
THE GRADE CONVERSION PROGRAM
We are calling this temporary response to the COVID-19 situation the “Grade Conversion” program because after the semester’s grades are posted on Banner Self Service, students will have the opportunity to convert almost any grade which they feel does not accurately represent their performance in their classes. In this way, the grading system takes into account the other factors brought about by COVID-19 that may have affected student performance.
This is the heart of the plan:
- After the semester ends, students can convert any grade from A through D that is posted on Banner Self Service for Spring 2020 to a grade of Pass.
- For the Spring 2020 semester only, the grade of F has been eliminated and replaced by the grade NC (No Credit).
- The FX grade (see below) will remain.
- Grades of NC or FX cannot be converted for reasons described in more detail below.
HOW IT WORKS
At first, this plan looks like our usual grading practice: you will be graded as usual, faculty will enter those grades into Banner Self Service as usual, and the grades will appear on Banner as usual. The difference this year is that we are allowing you the option to review your grades and convert those grades that do not reflect your actual potential to master the course material. Therefore, if you receive excellent grades that accurately represent your hard work and achievement, there is nothing for you to do. As usual, your high grades will earn course credit and will be calculated into your semester GPA to improve your overall GPA. HOWEVER, if you receive lower grades that were impacted by the effects of COIVD-19, you can convert them to a P (for Pass). These P grades will not be calculated into your semester GPA and they will not hurt your overall GPA. They will, however, earn you however many credits the course carries, they satisfy requirements for majors and minors, and of course, they count toward the total number of credits needed for graduation.
After the semester is over, you will receive your grades on Banner Self Service, and the grades you see will be based on our current grading system. But for the whole week following the posting of your grades, you can either keep the grades that rewarded your hard work and mastery or convert those grades that did not show your level of work properly because of circumstances that were beyond your control.
- Grades will be posted on May 7, 2020.
- You will have from May 7 to May 15 to view your grades and decide which to convert.
- A Google Form for sending the Registrar your grade conversions will be available in late April.
- Using that form, you will tell the Registrar which grades to change to a P grade.
WHAT IS THE NC GRADE?
For Spring 2020 only, we have eliminated the F grade. Instead, the College will use the grade NC, indicating that the course earned the student no credit toward graduation in a less stigmatizing way than an F. In addition, the NC grade will not be calculated into your grade point average – it will have no effect on your GPA at all. Note in most cases the NC grade means that you must retake the course, especially if it is a prerequisite for a higher-level course or a requirement of the major or minor. Exceptions to this part of the policy will be decided by the Dean, Registrar, and/or Provost on an individual basis. NC grades cannot be converted – but remember they will not be calculated into your semester GPA and so will not lower your overall GPA.
WHAT IS THE FX GRADE?
As in the past, the FX grade will be used to grade students who attended classes or participated in online classes for a period of time then stopped without notifying the College by properly withdrawing from a course. Students cannot change an FX grade, and it will be calculated in the semester GPA. It will not carry credit, and students will be required to repeat the course if it is part of a major or minor, or another requirement.
REVIEWING YOUR CHOICES
- If you receive an A or B, you may not want to convert them, so you would do nothing and those grades will remain.
- If you receive any grade from A through D that you do not want on your transcript so it won’t lower your overall GPA, you can inform the Registrar that you want to convert those grades to P simply by using the form we will make available.
- If you receive a grade of NC, there is no GPA penalty; however, it may be required for the next course in the sequence or for your major. In these cases, you should speak with your advisor or professor or the Registrar about the need to retake the course.
- This policy change will not affect the use of Incomplete grades.
Note about Pass Grades and Prerequisite Requirements
In some courses, students must receive a grade of D or C- or better to be allowed to register for the next level of classes. Because choosing a P can replace grades ranging from A to D, the grade of P may not meet certain prerequisite requirements for courses in a student's program. For instance, a program may stipulate that a student must earn a C- or higher in a lower-level course to proceed to an upper-level course. Because of the unique circumstances of this Spring 2020 semester, some program prerequisites may be relaxed to allow a P, but this is not guaranteed for all courses. Therefore, if you are in this situation, prior to making your decisions about whether to convert your grades in a course with prerequisite restrictions based on a grade, you must check with your academic advisor and/or Dean to verify whether a P will be sufficient to proceed to other courses in that specific major.
Note about Graduate Schools
Some students may require traditional letter grades for applications to graduate school, professional programs, and other post-baccalaureate purposes. Students have up to a week after grades are posted to keep the letter grade or convert to a P grade. After May 15, if a student has a course in which a Pass grade was received but requires a letter grade, the student may request an official letter from the Registrar’s Office indicating the original letter grade that was submitted by the faculty member.
Update for our Resident Students from the Vice President and Dean for Student Development, Dr. Kirk Manning
As you navigate this challenging time, please know that all of us continue to keep you in our thoughts and we stand ready to help you as best we can.
We are moving forward with further reductions in our residence hall services, I want to apprise you of several important steps being implemented.
- Dr. Fitzpatrick announced earlier today, we will be transitioning commencement to a virtual format. Graduating Seniors will be getting another message soon, with further details. Those seniors who live far away (100 miles plus) and want to go home soon are invited to stop by President Fitzpatrick's office on Wednesday, March 18 or Thursday, March 19 (9:00 am-4:00 pm) to take a picture with her in cap and gown (which we'll provide). More details will be coming soon, regarding other commencement items.
- Unless you are granted an extension, for extenuating circumstances, resident students who are currently on campus are expected to move out of their residence hall room by 4:00 pm on Sunday, March 22, 2020.
- We realize that some students have not returned from Spring Break. Resident students who are not currently on campus should complete this form to set an appointment time to check out. Unless you have extenuating circumstances, check-out is required by no later than 4:00 pm, Sunday, April 5, 2020. It is important that you set an appointment time if you're moving out after March 22, since we will be restricting access (electronic and key access) to residence halls after March 22.
- We understand that some students have extenuating circumstances that make the above schedule difficult or impossible. We are willing to work with you. Please contact Mr. Norman Huling at [email protected] to make this request. Include details to support your request.
- Some students have requested information about whether there will be any financial adjustments made regarding room and board charges. Please know that we have been dealing with health and welfare needs of resident students first. We will soon be distributing information about these financial questions. Any financial adjustments that may be made are predicated on an on-time checkout; students who stay past that date would have their financial status considered on a case-by-case basis. Campus services will be extremely limited during the current period during which face-to-face instruction has been suspended. The gym and fitness center are closed, and only take-out meals can be provided (per governmental mandate).
As Dr. Fitzpatrick, Dr. Murray and I have said in previous communications, I want to close by reminding you how much we care about you and value you as members of the STAC community. These are tough times, but together, we are strong. Be safe, be well, use available resources, help each other, and we will all share in a bright future once this crisis is over.
An IMPORTANT MESSAGE to our students from the Office of the Provost, Dr. Robert Murray
I want to alert you to some important decisions Dr. Fitzpatrick and the college administration made today:
- All face-to-face learning at the College is suspended for the remainder of the semester, and all classes will be taught online. There will be no in-person instruction of any kind — no tutoring, no library use, no mentoring, no labs. This decision is in accord with the recent announcement from Rockland County Executive Ed Day.
- In order for the faculty to plan for a more effective transition to online courses for the rest of the semester, no online classes will be conducted on Monday, March 23 or Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
- If you feel you do not have adequate technology to complete the semester in this way, please let me know.
- Unfortunately, the Honors Convocation is canceled.
- A decision regarding Commencement will be forthcoming.
Finally, let me add how much respect and admiration I have for you all — these are confusing times, and I know seven weeks of online work is not what you expected. We all feel the same — and we all know and appreciate how much work you are putting into this semester to make it work in the best way possible.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Update from the President, Dr. Margaret Fitzpatrick, S.C., Ed.D
I so appreciate each one of you and your dedication to our mission.
The following decisions have been made:
- All face-to-face learning at the College will be suspended for the remainder of the semester, and all classes must be taught online. There will be no in-person instruction of any kind — no tutoring, no library use, no mentoring, no labs. This decision is in accord with the recent announcement from Rockland County Executive Ed Day.
- The Honors Convocation is canceled.
- The President’s Council Breakfast and the end-of-the-year luncheon is canceled.
- Many meetings will be held online such as the College Planning Board meeting
- The upcoming Accepted Students Days and the Spring Open House will be held virtually.
- Fireside chats and other such meetings are canceled for this semester but may be rescheduled.
- No employee travel to conferences or meetings at a distance until the end of May. After May, each situation will be evaluated by a Cabinet member.
- The fitness center and the gym will be closed indefinitely following County directives.
COMMENCEMENT: A decision about Commencement will be forthcoming soon.
All of these decisions are made with a heavy heart in these unprecedented times. Let’s take care of each other, have STAC flourish in new and unexpected ways, and may we be good neighbors to each other.
May God bless us and our families.
An Important Update to our faculty from the Office of the Provost, Dr. Robert Murray
This morning, Dr. Fitzpatrick and I held a meeting with the Academic Deans, Maria Coupe, Dr. Mihal, and Dr. Wagner to discuss our current academic situation. Working together, we made the following decisions:
- All face-to-face learning at the College will be suspended for the remainder of the semester, and all classes must be taught online. There will be no in-person instruction of any kind — no tutoring, no library use, no mentoring, no labs. This decision is in accord with today's announcement from Rockland County Executive Ed Day.
- In order for faculty to plan for a more effective transition to online courses for the rest of the semester, no online classes will be conducted on Monday, March 23 or Tuesday, March 24. Please consider this as faculty development time to work on converting your classes to an online platform for the remaining seven weeks.
- If you do not have the supplies you feel you need to teach online, such as a webcam, the president has authorized spending up to $50.00 for the purchase of these materials. Contact your dean first with your request and save your receipt so it can be submitted for reimbursement.
- All these meetings will be held online: School meetings, Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Senate, and the College Planning Board.
- The upcoming Accepted Students Day will be held online; Mike DiBartolomeo will follow up with an email with additional details.
- The annual Faculty Retreat will be canceled.
- No conference travel until the end of the semester.
- Finally, I want to reiterate how much I appreciate your cooperation and compassion for your students at this time — and how much work you have put into converting your classes.
A few important notes to remember:
- Please do your best to log your contact hours with students; we don't know what kind of accountability (NYSED, MIddle States) there will be at the end of all this.
- Maintain consistent contact with your students so they do not feel lost and confused.
- Practice some flexibility and understanding, especially in the early weeks, because, like many of us, students are getting used to learning in a new way, and are doing a lot more juggling than they are used to.
- UPDATE 3/15/2020
A message to our students from the Office of the Provost, Dr. Robert Murray
Tomorrow we begin our temporary online instruction program. Your professors have spent this past week preparing your classes for you so that your education will be as seamless as possible.
However, this complicated process of converting classes to an online format relies on one very simple step: all students must check their stac.edu email every day, many times a day.
Taking part in the online work of the class is equivalent to attending class — not taking part is the same as being absent. If you are not checking your email, you will not be aware of the class work and that will jeopardize your grade.
Since you are reading this, it is clear that you are checking your email — so please be sure to spread the word among all your friends that checking their email may be the only way to get essential information about classes and what is being expected of you.
Good luck this week — and let me know how I can help.
All the best,
A message to our students from the Director of Health and Wellness Services
As you prepare to return to campus we want you to be mindful of yourself and the college community. If you are experiencing a fever and respiratory symptoms, please do not return to campus and inform Health and Wellness Services at [email protected] or 845-398-4242.
St. Thomas Aquinas College continues to actively monitor the spread of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and evaluate the potential impact on our community. The well-being of our students, faculty, staff, campus visitors and their families remains our top priority.
There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at STAC. Please refer to President Margaret Fitzpatrick's message for information about the status of campus operations. We have reviewed, and adjusted any planned College trips that involve international travel, on a case-by-case basis. Members of our community should refer to U.S. State Department recommendations regarding their own foreign travel.
Please be assured that St. Thomas Aquinas College has plans in place should the situation with COVID-19 change and warrant extra precautions to safeguard health. We will update you on those if they come into play. Please take a moment to ensure your contact information is current and accurate in Banner and E2Campus. You can check on Banner information by contacting the Registrar's Office at (845) 398-4300, and information can be updated on E2Campus here.
In the meantime, please remember that symptoms of COVID-19 can mimic those of the flu or a cold. Anyone who does not feel well should stay home and seek appropriate medical attention.
Please continue to practice good habits to prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses. These include:
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing — do not use your hands
- Washing your hands often with soap and water. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you can't wash
- Staying home if you are not feeling well
- Avoiding contact with sick people
- Getting the flu shot. It is not too late and flu vaccines help keep us healthy
We are committed to keeping you informed about this developing situation.
Message from the Office of the Provost, Dr. Robert Murray
As you know by now, like other colleges in the area, St. Thomas Aquinas College is moving to an all-online instructional format for next week. There will be no face-to-face instruction from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20; face-to-face instruction will resume on campus on Monday, March 23.
I can assure you that this decision was made after careful consideration, after consulting with local health professionals and in the best interests of all involved.
It is important for you to know that the College is not closed — the work of your classes will continue and your professors will expect you to remain engaged with the class in whatever way they have set up for you. They will be in touch with you to let you know the details of what they expect and how each course will be run next week.
We are doing everything possible to maintain the high educational standard we provide in the classroom, no matter what platform of instruction is used. If you have any questions about the specific details of how your professors will be handling your courses, please contact them directly to find out their expectations for the coming week.
To the College community,
The emergency preparedness team has been collaborating over these past few weeks regarding COVID-19 and the impact on our community. There are no cases of COVID-19 among our staff and student body. Out of an abundance of caution, St. Thomas Aquinas College has made the following decisions:
- All instruction for the period from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20 will be conducted online. There are no in-person class meetings.
- All residence life complexes will remain open and resident students can move back as scheduled starting at 12 noon on Sunday, March 15, 2020.
- The college campus will be open and administration and staff are expected to follow their usual work schedules.
STAC has taken and continues to take this situation seriously. Among other things, ARAMARK, following CDC guidelines, has conducted deep cleanings of the entire campus.
Please continue to monitor your email and the STAC website for updates regarding future schedules and/or events.
Thank you for your cooperation. May we do our part to keep ourselves healthy while fulfilling our professional responsibilities.
Margaret Mary Fitzpatrick, S. C., Ed.D
We would like to update you on STAC’s response to COVID19 (Coronavirus). There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at STAC. The College is operating normally: all classes, activities, and events are on their standard schedules under usual rules and policies.
Our responsibility is to continue providing a quality education for our students in a safe environment.
The following is a summary of the actions being taken:
- The Emergency Management Team has met several times during the past week and continues to provide continual information sharing amongst the team.
- The Director of Health and Wellness Services has ongoing direct contact with the Rockland County Health Department.
- The Emergency Management Team is reviewing events on campus. Out of an abundance of caution, the college is reviewing all non-essential events on campus.
- We have met with Aramark Housekeeping Services. Aramark has been and will continue to follow CDC Guidelines during their operations. This is being overseen by the Senior Vice President of Administration.
- The Office of the Provost has facilitated the ability to continue classes using online resources if needed.
- Our continuity of business planning is in place.
It is important to remember that we should be mindful but not fearful.
Please continue to practice good habits to prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses. These include:
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing — do not use your hands
- Washing your hands often with soap and water. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you can't wash
- Staying home if you are not feeling well
- Avoiding contact with sick people
- Getting the flu shot. It is not too late and flu vaccines help keep us healthy
During these challenging times, our College’s dedication to the health and safety of students, faculty, and employees is of the utmost importance. We will provide the STAC community a very supportive and caring environment as we respond to the COVID-19 health crisis. On July 1st, 2020, my first day as President of St. Thomas Aquinas College, we launched a COVID Task Force, made up of experienced committee members from various departments across the College who have developed and completed a comprehensive Reopening Plan: “Spartan Startup.”
The COVID Task Force is a full-time effort with a high-priority focus on the safety and health of everyone on our STAC campus. STAC is a caring and “compliance-plus” campus. The purpose of the Task Force is to work collaboratively, make concise decisions in a timely manner, and develop a cohesive preparedness plan while operating within New York State, Local Health Department, and CDC guidelines. As the impacts of COVID-19 continuously shift in real-time, the Task Force has created a high-mitigation strategic plan, which is flexible enough to allow for constant refinement as conditions change. Our plans for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are guided by our Mission and responsibility to our fellow Spartan community. Health and safety will remain at the forefront.
I reflect on the warm welcome I received by the College’s student-focused and tight-knit community — our STAC Family. Access to quality education is more important than ever, our dedicated team of faculty and staff will mentor our students throughout their college journey.
Along with our top-notch faculty and employees, I commit to serving and supporting the bright future of our students in a safe learning environment. Together, we will navigate and overcome the challenges we face and guide our students so they can become leaders of tomorrow — leaders with a genuine sense of purpose.
We are #SpartanStrong.
President, St. Thomas Aquinas College
For detailed information, please read St. Thomas Aquinas College's Reopening Plan which has been submitted to New York State.
St. Thomas Aquinas Colleges’ plans for responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic are guided by our Mission and responsibility to our students, employees and the community. The Task Force is composed of key members of the STAC Community, under the overall leadership of Mr. James Nawoichyk, Director, Campus Health and Safety. Here are our guiding principles:
- The health and safety of our students, employees, and visitors are our highest priority.
- We will comply with federal, state, and local authority operational and health mandates.
- We will sustain the teaching, cultural, and social justice missions of the College through both traditional and new avenues of endeavor.
- We will act responsibly as stewards of the College’s property, assets and resources.
- We will base our decisions on scientific evidence and facts.
- In all our decision making, we will abide by the Mission and Values of St. Thomas Aquinas College.