Coronavirus Update 6.25.20: New York Travel Restrictions, Fall 2020 Website, Subcommittee Reports

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families:

Summer is officially here, and our preparations to welcome thousands of students, faculty and staff back to campus are well underway. In normal times, a tremendous amount of work goes on behind the scenes during the summer months to get ready for the start of a new semester. These are not normal times.

In recent days, I have joined several members of University leadership, including Chancellor Kent Syverud and Interim Provost John Liu, in meetings with the faculty of every school and college. Hundreds of faculty members participated in the virtual meetings, affording us the opportunity to solicit input and insight, while also providing the latest information on our fall 2020 planning. These sessions have been extremely valuable and informative. Our faculty raised important questions and provided thoughtful suggestions and solutions. Similar meetings for graduate students are underway. Staff meetings are being scheduled now, so please stay tuned for a scheduling announcement.

On the subject of communications, a suggestion we received from several faculty members was to launch a weekly question-and-answer video session, where University leaders and subject matter experts can answer questions submitted by the campus community related to COVID-19 and our plans for the fall. Great idea! I am happy to share that we are acting on that suggestion, and you can look for this new communications platform to launch shortly after the July Fourth holiday.

Today’s campus update includes new information related to our ongoing planning for the fall, and policies and resources relevant to faculty, staff and students throughout the summer and beyond.

For Our Community

  • New York State Travel Restrictions
  • Fall 2020 Website
  • Academic Strategy/Contingency Subcommittee Report
  • Public Health Framework
  • Fall 2021 Admissions Process
  • Syracuse Abroad Suspension of Fall 2020 Programs
  • Libraries Resume Limited Access

For Students and Families

  • Move-In Schedule
  • Social Compact
  • Fall Student Engagement Activities
  • Graduate Student Engagement

For Faculty and Staff

  • Phase Two of Return to Campus Plan for Faculty and Staff Underway
  • Interim Travel Guidelines
  • Fall Course Preparation

For Our Community

New York State Travel Restrictions: Effective today, individuals traveling to Central New York from certain states experiencing high infection rates of COVID-19 will be expected to self-quarantine for 14 days. This action by Gov. Cuomo, announced in partnership with the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut, will impact how Syracuse University accommodates students, faculty, staff and others traveling to campus from other states around the country. This new restriction currently applies to individuals traveling to Syracuse from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. Violations of the governors’ order can result in significant fines. Syracuse University is evaluating how this new order impacts students, faculty, staff and others who may be traveling over the summer for athletic teams preparation and practice, or academic, research or business purposes, to ensure the availability of appropriate housing and other services to accommodate the quarantine order. We will have more information to share on this subject, once New York State provides additional detail concerning implementation of this new policy.

Fall 2020 Website: Syracuse University has launched where you can find all you need to know about our ongoing COVID-19 planning and preparedness as well as details and updates regarding our fall 2020 opening plans. This page will be updated frequently, so please be sure to check in regularly.

Academic Strategy/Contingency Subcommittee Report: The Academic Strategy/Contingency Subcommittee report is now available on the Fall 2020 Open website. The subcommittee, which consists of deans, faculty and staff from across the University, is led by University College Dean Mike Frasciello, Professor Marcelle Haddix, Associate Provost Chris Johnson and Graduate School Dean Peter Vanable. The subcommittee conducted a series of focus groups that shaped and informed the creation of its report. Many of the recommendations are now being implemented. If you haven’t read the full report yet, I urge you to do so.

Public Health Framework: Last week, the Public Health and Emergency Management Subcommittee of the Fall 2020 Open Working Group released its full, initial report. To review the report’s findings and recommendations, please visit There you can download and print a fully accessible version of the document. The subcommittee’s report includes processes, protocols, policies and procedures that will help the University ensure it is prepared to safely resume residential life in the fall. The report will continue to remain in draft form and be updated and revised as COVID-19 science, public health guidance and local conditions evolve in the weeks and months to come.

Fall 2021 Admissions Process: The University announced that SAT and ACT test scores will not be required for submission in the application process for fall 2021 admission. With test dates canceled and social distancing impacting testing capacity, the University recognizes the difficulties faced by high school students and their families to have students take the tests. Greater emphasis will be placed on other required application credentials, including academic performance, the rigor of coursework and co-curricular engagement. Students who do not submit test scores will not be disadvantaged in the application process and will remain eligible for merit scholarships.

Syracuse Abroad Suspension of Fall 2020 Programs: Syracuse Abroad has decided to suspend all study abroad programs for the fall due to the uncertainties regarding international travel restrictions for U.S. travelers, re-openings of such public spaces as museums and cultural sites, and limited internship and travel opportunities. In an email sent on Monday to fall study abroad students, students were given the option to defer their application and receive priority placement for the spring or summer semesters in 2021. For further information, students can reach out to Syracuse Abroad at

Libraries Resume Limited Access: Syracuse University Libraries has resumed limited access to physical collections. The Libraries provides electronic delivery of articles scanned from print journals, as well as book chapters, to those with valid Syracuse University identification. The Libraries also offers contactless pickup of circulating materials by appointment and UPS delivery of materials to faculty residences. More information can be found in this Syracuse University news article.

For Students and Families

Move-In Schedule: With the accelerated academic calendar for fall 2020, we know many students and families are eagerly awaiting details on move-in to make travel arrangements and plans for their arrival to campus. The University is in the process of finalizing move-in dates and options for incoming and returning students and is expecting to share more information next week. We are also keeping track of New York state advisories regarding travel from other states to New York and whether or not they impact move-in options.

Social Compact: As part of ongoing efforts to educate students about and prevent the spread of COVID-19, students will be asked to affirmatively commit to a social compact outlining behaviors and actions that protect their health and the health of those around them. This pledge will be shared with students the week of July 6 and all are encouraged to sign on prior to the start of the fall semester.

Fall Student Engagement Activities: In preparation for the fall, teams in the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience have been actively exploring options for on-campus and virtual student activities, events and programs in accordance with public health guidelines. Students can expect to continue to engage in activities, events and programs offered by the Office of Student Activities, Orange After Dark, Registered Student Organizations, University Union, the cultural centers and more during the fall semester. As event information is confirmed, it will be posted to the University Events Calendar and Cuse Activities student organization portal.

Graduate Student Engagement: The Graduate School is hosting three Zoom panel discussions to hear graduate student input and ensure that questions are answered regarding academics, health and safety for fall 2020. One panel was held this morning. Additional sessions include:

  • Monday, June 29, at 10 a.m.
  • Monday, June 29, at 1 p.m.

We ask that you register for the session that is most convenient for you—registration for each session will be limited to allow for an interactive format. You will receive a Zoom invitation for your registered session prior to the meeting date. We will also post frequently asked questions from these meeting on the Fall 2020 Open web site. Please check this site frequently for the most recent information for graduate students.

For Faculty and Staff

Phase Two of Return to Campus Plan for Faculty and Staff Underway: Earlier this week, the University began to welcome Phase Two faculty and staff back to campus, which includes an additional 10 to 15 percent of our workforce as designated by deans and other senior leaders. All faculty and staff are encouraged to review the informational hub and FAQ compiled by the Office of Human Resources or download the Summer 2020 Return to Campus Guide for Faculty and Staff [PDF] to become familiar with new public health and safety requirements of working on campus this summer. Individuals slated for Phase Three will hear from their dean or senior leader with an expected return date, but we anticipate Phase Three to begin no earlier than Wednesday, July 8.

Interim Travel Guidelines: Syracuse University recently revised its travel policy for faculty and staff in alignment with how public health and government officials alter their advice and direction regarding the management of COVID-19 in this country and abroad. Most travel restrictions for faculty and staff remain in place as previously announced. For example, we continue to prohibit University-sponsored travel to any CDC Level-3 international destination, and most non-essential travel is not allowed. However, we have lifted most restrictions for travel deemed essential to an academic or University business purpose affecting faculty, researchers, postdoctoral scholars and graduate students. Essential travel is defined as necessary to preserve the safety of a research subject or the continuity and results of research activity, or essential to the academic or business operations of the University. Deans, department chairs or unit leaders should be consulted to determine the essential nature of the travel request.

Imperative Fall Course Preparation for Faculty: All faculty teaching this fall are highly encouraged to utilize the University’s suite of Fall Course Transition Services. Regardless of the type of course you are teaching, your course needs to be prepared to run in face-to-face, mixed delivery and full online formats. Complete the brief Fall Course Development Form to get started.

I hope that as you read through this communication you take note of the many resources available through the various links in the document. It is vital that you visit these sites frequently throughout the next several weeks, as we adapt our processes to the changing landscape created by an unpredictable and unprecedented virus that is not yet in check around the country. We will continue to keep you informed through updates to these resources.


J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation