Coronavirus Update 8.14.20: Putting Our Fall 2020 Plan to Action

Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:

The start of every new semester brings with it excitement and anticipation.  This year, those emotions are heightened and for some include anxiety associated with a return to campus life during the COVID health emergency. Excitement and anxiety are both equally valid emotions during this extraordinary time.

As we look to next week and a return to campus for the majority of our residential population, the diligence and resilience of those already on campus—our student-athletes, our quarantining first year students and so many of our faculty and staff—give us a reason for optimism. That is because they have set a standard and an example for the heightened compassion and respect and grace toward others that will be so necessary of the entire campus community as we move forward together to re-start residential campus life at Syracuse University.

In that spirit, we offer important updates on the following topics:

For Our Community

  • Wear your mask!
  • COVID Dashboard
  • Lubin House Temporarily Closed
  • Weekly Roundup Virtual Update Session
  • Call for Volunteers

For Students and Families

  • Residential Move-In
  • Barnes Center Fall
  • Important Testing Reminder
  • Bookstore Pick-Up and Delivery Options
  • Fall 2020 Housing FAQs
  • Stay Safe Pledge

For Faculty and Staff

  • Flexible Work Policy
  • Labor Day Schedule
  • Service Provider and Vendor Access
  • Promoting Academic Integrity
  • Course Development Support
  • Reminder from the CTLE

For Our Community:

Wear Your Mask!: As more and more members of our community arrive on campus, I want to remind you of our mask policy: Syracuse University requires face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus and in public settings—indoors and outdoors.

COVID Dashboard: Syracuse University’s COVID-19 Dashboard is now online, providing the community with a snapshot of important public health statistics. The data will be updated every Tuesday (and more often as the situation warrants) and reflects new, active and recovered cases as well as the number of tests administered on campus. The dashboard includes all positive cases associated with the University, whether located in Central New York or outside of Central New York.

Lubin House Temporarily Closed: Due to the ongoing restrictions around density reduction, social distancing and other public health guidelines, Lubin House in New York City will be temporarily closed. No overnight stays, events, classes, lectures or gatherings will be permitted for the foreseeable future. We hope to reopen Lubin House just as soon as it’s safe and appropriate to do so. We will keep our community updated.

SU Safe Weekly Roundup Virtual Update Session: Those with an email account are invited to join us on Zoom later today from 1 to 2 p.m. ET for my final weekly virtual update discussion. This week, I’ll be joined by Carrie Grogan Abbott, director of first-year and transfer programs; Joe Hernon, director of emergency management and business continuity; Chris Johnson, associate provost for academic affairs; Amanda Nicholson, interim deputy senior vice president in the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience; Ramesh Raina, interim vice president for research; and J. Cole Smith, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. The discussion will focus on public health and safety protocols, the student experience, student behavior and expectations, and reopening to residential learning. For those unable to participate live, the link to the video will be posted on

Call for Volunteers for Syracuse Welcome: Faculty and staff are invited to help welcome first-year and transfer students during Syracuse Welcome, Monday, Aug. 17, to Sunday, Aug. 23. Volunteers are needed to work alongside the Office of First-Year and Transfer Programs, from supporting central check-in and testing at Skytop to greeting and wayfinding at residence halls. Those interested in volunteering are asked to reserve volunteer date(s) and time(s).

For Students and Families:

Residential Student Move-In Next Week: In a few short days, Syracuse University will begin welcoming students for move-in and, for our new students, Syracuse Welcome, Syracuse University’s orientation program. New students living on campus will be moving in Aug. 17-20, and returning students will move in Aug. 20–23. All students will check-in at the Syracuse Welcome Check-in Center located at Skytop Parking Lot to go through check-in procedures, including to verify pre-arrival testing and participate in an on-site COVID screening, before being cleared to move into their residence hall or South Campus apartment. This year, the move-in period was also extended to reduce density and support physical distancing.

Barnes Center at The Arch Services: In preparation for the Fall 2020 opening, the Barnes Center at The Arch has announced important updates related to its services, hours and processes to further support the health, safety and well-being of all campus community members. Detailed information is available on the Barnes Center Fall 2020 website, including facilities and hours. Outlined below are a few highlights:

  • Recreation: To expand offerings, the Barnes Center will be launching an outdoor cardio and weights area near the Women’s Building, and weekend Outdoor Adventure trips, all at locations in Central New York, have been increased. Outdoor fitness classes will also be added to the many virtual fitness opportunities. In accordance with New York State executive orders, indoor gym facilities cannot open during this time. As such, cardio equipment, weight rooms, basketball courts, track and gymnasiums in the Barnes Center cannot be used. The pool, climbing wall and esports room all remain available and can be reserved through the Wellness Portal.
  • Health Care: Beginning Aug. 17, health care services (including the pharmacy) will be available seven days a week. Appointments should be made by calling 315.443.8000. Drop-in hours will not be offered.
  • Counseling: Zoom, phone and in-person appointments will be available. Appointments should be made by calling 315.443.8000. Drop-in hours will not be offered; however, a limited number of same-day appointments will be available.
  • Health Promotion and Mindfulness: The Crowley Family MindSpa will remain open, with added sanitization measures in place, and be available to reserve through the Wellness Portal. In-person pet therapy will not be offered this fall. Educational offerings will occur virtually and in-person, including the Wellness Leadership Institute and Health Hub.
  • Confidential support remains available 24-hours a day, seven days a week for students experiencing a mental health crisis, seeking support for sexual and relationship violence, or needing medical consultation by calling the Barnes Center at 315.443.8000.

Important Reminder about COVID Testing: All Syracuse University undergraduate and graduate students are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before returning to campus (moving into on-campus housing or returning for in-person classes). This includes students who live off campus. To comply with the pre-arrival testing requirement, students generally have two options: 1) Participate in the at-home COVID test program offered by Syracuse University by visiting the LetsGetChecked COVID testing portal and requesting a home test kit; after you submit your test, your results will be automatically submitted to the Barnes Center at The Arch. 2) Arrange to be tested in your local community and provide the University your test results. To submit your test results to the University, visit the Student Patient Portal, log in using your SU NetID and password, click “Upload Forms,” select “COVID-19 Documents,” and follow the upload instructions. To learn more about testing, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Bookstore to Offer Pick-up and Delivery Options for Textbooks and Course Materials: The Syracuse University Bookstore is asking students to place their orders for textbooks and course materials online, as physical access to the store will be limited at the start of the fall semester. Ordering online will be the quickest and easiest option for students to receive their materials. Bookstore staff will establish an online ordering pick-up location outside of the store and will also offer free delivery to all on-campus locations, including South Campus. Students living off campus can also request delivery of their materials, offered at a flat low-cost shipping rate.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fall 2020 Housing: The Housing, Meal Plan, and I.D. Card Services Office has received a high volume of questions from students and families about how decisions about distance learning or quarantine requirements for Fall 2020 will affect their billing, roommate selection and housing assignments. To address these concerns, a new Housing section has been added to the Fall 2020 FAQ page.

Stay Safe Pledge: As a reminder, students and families received the Stay Safe Pledge, a campus commitment to protecting the health and safety of all Orange community members. The pledge outlines the practices students will be expected to uphold to keep themselves and the Orange community healthy and safe from the spread of COVID-19. Students are encouraged to review and commit to the pledge prior to their arrival in the fall. If students cannot abide by the practices in this pledge, they are encouraged to study remotely. Whether or not a student takes the pledge, failure to comply with the directives may result in a referral to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR) for violation of the Code of Student Conduct and subsequent sanctions.

For Faculty and Staff:

Updated Staff Flexible Work Policy and Form: To support flexible work arrangements for eligible staff that can help reduce office density and further enhance the safety of the campus workplace, the Office of Human Resources has updated its Flexible Work Policy and will continue to partner with leadership from schools, colleges and administrative units to approve and document such arrangements. Read more on SU News.

Changes to Academic Calendar and Faculty and Staff Working on Labor Day: With classes scheduled for Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 7) due to our revised academic calendar for the Fall 2020 semester, the Office of Human Resources has instructed each school, college and administrative unit to determine plans for staffing on the University holiday. Faculty who teach courses on Mondays are expected to hold classes online and in-person as they would any other week, and school, college or unit leaders will notify staff members who support the academic experience that they may also be required to work. Read more on SU News.

Service Provider and Vendor Access to Campus: Service provider, vendor and visitor access to campus will be restricted during the fall semester to support the University’s efforts to provide a safe and healthy campus. Service providers, vendors and individuals conducting business with a University office/department must only be allowed to access University buildings, when necessary, to provide essential support for University operations. Their access must be approved in advance by the relevant dean, director or unit leader (or their designee).

Package deliveries, including deliveries from FedEx and UPS, will continue to be re-directed to the Hawkins Warehouse. Facilities Services will deliver the packages from Hawkins to their specific on-campus delivery locations and also pick up outgoing mail and packages from building mailrooms and mailboxes.

Departments and University personnel coordinating to have an on-campus visit(s) by a service provider, vendor or other individual conducting scheduled business with a University office/department, are asked to:

  • Obtain dean, director, or unit leader (or their designee) approval prior to authorizing a service provider, vendor, or individual conducting business at the University to come on campus. For research laboratories, the principal investigator must also authorize their visit.
  • Schedule the on-campus visit(s) by the service provider, vendor or individual conducting business at the University in advance of their planned arrival on campus.
  • Advise the service provider, vendor or individual conducting business at the University of their obligation to complete the University’s COVID-19 Safety Certification for Service Providers and Vendors form.
  • Confirm the service provider, vendor or individual conducting business at the University has completed a COVID-19 Safety Certification before their arrival to campus. A copy of the submitted certification form will be emailed to Purchasing and to the University contact email they enter on the form.

To learn more, contact the Purchasing Department or visit the Environmental Health and Safety website.

Promoting Academic Integrity: In the interest of promoting academic integrity, CTLE and CLASS have developed a set of quick steps we urge faculty and instructors to take now using the Reviewing your syllabus for effective online assessment page in Answers. Promoting academic integrity effectively does not require a large investment of time up front. The key is reviewing your syllabus now to ensure you have sufficient flexibility and opportunity to address academic integrity throughout the upcoming semester. Additional recommendations for Promoting Academic Integrity in the Classroom during the semester are available on the CLASS website.

Faculty Course Development Support: For support with instructional design, content production, video recording and customization of your Blackboard course space and more, you can take advantage of the Blackboard Course Transition Services. To request assistance or find out more information, please fill out the Fall Course Development form. Please also remember these online coaching and consultation opportunities:

We are also offering the Faculty Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access Workshop Series (asynchronous):

Reminder from the CTLE: As faculty prepare for and begin teaching this fall in new modalities, they will face new challenges. Some of their plans will succeed beyond their wildest dreams. Some will fall short of the imagined best scenario. Regardless of outcome, the CTLE team is available to listen, operate as a sounding board, make suggestions and share your amazing ideas—with credit of course. It’s not too late to bounce a new idea off of the CTLE team or to revise a plan. Email them at

I remain deeply grateful to the thousands of faculty, staff and administrators who have worked so hard to prepare Syracuse University to welcome thousands of new and returning students to what many believe is among the most beautiful college campuses in the country. And we can’t wait to welcome our students, to see you in person, and to support you in achieving your academic and personal aspirations as part of our Orange family.


J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation