Welcome to Fall 2020

August 25, 2020

Dear Great Danes:

Whether you are a new or returning student—or a faculty or staff member—welcome to Fall 2020 at the University at Albany! We have been preparing for this day for what feels like a lifetime.

I know there has been an avalanche of messages and information coming at you. That is not going to change anytime soon, because, as we continue to navigate COVID-19, communication will be essential to our success. I ask that you please take the time to read emails, our weekly Today at UAlbany e-news, our web resources, and follow our social media channels.

As you know, our goal is to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our campus community while maintaining our academic excellence. We are confident our rules and guidelines are sound, but it is up to each of us to strictly observe the practices that we have all been following for some time now: face masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and avoiding large gatherings. Completing our daily health screenings on MyUAlbany is critical as well.

We are very fortunate to be in a state that has maintained a low COVID-19 infectivity rate. However, we must remain vigilant and proactive, because circumstances could change rapidly, as we have seen across the country. Let’s start and finish this semester safe and healthy. I am confident that with your ongoing support and commitment, we can do so.

Another important way to help control the spread of COVID-19 is through the pooled surveillance-testing program that we will launch in the coming days. If you are a student or employee who spends time on campus, we will need you to take part in this program—you will be hearing more about this soon from Provost Carol Kim.

In addition to fighting the coronavirus, we have another major charge: we must continue to live up to our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement through our actions—building on past efforts with new initiatives that get to the heart of systemic racism.

In the coming weeks, you will be hearing from Dr. Tamra Minor, our Chief Diversity Officer, about our 2020-2021 Diversity Action Plan. I look forward to engaging with all of you as we deepen our dialogues and work collectively against racial and social injustice.

Given what I know about the UAlbany community, I believe we can successfully fight both COVID-19 and institutionalized racism, along with other challenges that will come our way. It is going to require unprecedented discipline, compassion, and patience, but our community has these qualities in great abundance.

Thank you all so very much for everything you have done to prepare us for a successful Fall 2020. As always, please stay safe, stay healthy, and stay engaged. And never forget—we are One UAlbany.



Havidán Rodríguez