First Week of Classes COVID-19 Update

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families:

The Fall 2020 semester has officially begun, and we are halfway into the first week of academic coursework. While campus looks and feels different this year, what remains the same is the positive energy and excitement that comes with the start of a new academic year.

As I walk around campus and speak with students, those conversations fill me with optimism. I am optimistic because it is clear to me that our students understand what is at stake not just for them, but for all of us and this community. This will be hard, and our semester will not proceed without bumps in the road. However, as one student reminded me, “there isn’t anyone alive who has been through something like this before, so we have to learn, be compassionate along the way, and acknowledge that we’re all in this together.” That is perfectly right. All of us—administrators, faculty, staff and students—must learn from and act on opportunities to be better, be compassionate along the way, and always do so together.

As we did over the summer, throughout the academic semester we will continue to communicate with you frequently by way of these campus messages. In addition, I want to remind you that continues to be the digital home of all vital information and updates related to our health and safety strategy. Please visit it regularly. In the meantime, I want to provide some important updates that are relevant to our entire community:

  1. Masks or Face Coverings are Required
  2. COVID-19 Dashboard
  3. COVID-19 Checklists
  4. Expanded Student Dining Spaces and Places
  5. Safely Socializing in a Pandemic
  6. Safe Transportation
  7. SU I.D. Card Pickup

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-19 Dashboard: This week, we began updating the Syracuse University COVID-19 dashboard three days a week. Updates will be made on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the foreseeable future, no later than 5 p.m. each of those days. The dashboard includes metrics, statistics and trends associated with the presence and prevalence of COVID-19 within the Syracuse University community. Please bookmark the site:

COVID-19 Checklists: Syracuse University has developed a series of COVID-19 checklists for students, faculty and staff to provide direction in situations where a member of the Syracuse University community has tested positive for or suspects they have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. The checklists, including a downloadable and printable PDF, can be found on the Fall 2020 Open website. The checklists cannot fully address the unique nature of every situation and are intended to provide general guidance related to the most appropriate and required actions in response to positive test results or suspected exposure to the virus. Members of the Syracuse University community should contact the Syracuse University COVID-19 Project Management Office (PMO) at 315.443.6180 or with additional questions or concerns or to receive further guidance.

Expanded Student Dining Spaces and Places: The University is taking action to expand both indoor and outdoor spaces available to students for dining. Specifically, yesterday evening the indoor dining areas at Brockway Dining Center and Shaw Dining Center were opened and a limited number of seats, consistent with New York State public health guidelines, are now available to students. Sadler, Graham and Ernie Davis dining centers will open for indoor seating on Friday, Aug. 28. In addition, a tent with picnic benches that will seat 60 (socially distanced) individuals was installed at Ernie Davis, and today a similar tent and picnic bench space is being installed in front of Day Hall. In addition, this semester students can use their meal plans (meal equivalency) to order take-out or dine in at Kimmel Food Court and to order take-out through the GrubHub app from the Goldstein Alumni and Faculty Center.

Safely Socializing: Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. There’s nothing Syracuse University wants more than for everyone in our community to have a safe, healthy and rewarding semester. We believe this goal is achievable. It just requires all of us doing our part by participating in events and gatherings in a safe way. For those of you who are new to our community and for those who are unfamiliar with it, the University has a robust community calendar: From student-focused events—in person and virtual—to lectures, seminars and workshops, there is an abundance of offerings for community members looking to engage and interact with fellow students, faculty and staff. Additionally, for our students, we have posted a printable PDF about tips you can use to socialize in a safe manner. It can be reviewed and downloaded from the Fall 2020 web site.

Parking and Transit Services Introduces New Safety Measures: The Syracuse University Parking and Transit Services Office has worked closely with its partners at Centro and implemented changes to safeguard the health and safety of its passengers. Campus shuttles, buses and trolleys will operate with different rules this semester to adhere to the latest public health guidance provided by Onondaga County and New York State.

SU I.D. Card Pickup: As the Housing, Meal Plan, and I.D. Card Services Office works to reduce foot traffic and crowding in its office, new procedures have been implemented for requesting a replacement SU I.D. card. Students in need of a new card may fill out an I.D. replacement request form, and staff and faculty members should email to request a new or replacement card. Cards will be available for pickup at the I.D. Card Services trailer on the Shaw Quad from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday, Aug. 28. After that time, cards will be available for pickup at the service window in 206 Steele Hall during normal University business hours.

As I have often said, there is no playbook for opening a college or university while confronting a global pandemic. But together we are creating it, play by play and day by day, in a way that prioritizes the health, wellness and safety of our students, faculty, staff and the Syracuse community. I remain grateful to all in our community who have worked so tirelessly to ensure an exciting, meaningful and rewarding fall semester.

Stay well. Stay Safe.


J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation