Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Like many other colleges and universities in New York and across the country, over the past 72 hours Syracuse University has experienced a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases within our campus community. We do not yet have evidence that the cause of this increase is the omicron variant. However, the confirmed presence of the highly infectious omicron variant on other college campuses in New York suggests a high likelihood that the variant is beginning to circulate in our region.
Tomorrow is the final day of our semester, and the majority of our students have already safely departed campus. However, we are cognizant that many in-person activities are planned for campus over the next week, including holiday gatherings, special programming and other events. For the safety of those who remain on campus and our neighbors, and to combat the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in our community, the University is announcing additional actions to safeguard the health and well-being of our community. Specifically, effectively immediately:
- In-person final exams scheduled for tomorrow can continue as planned.
- Schools, colleges, and academic and administrative units should postpone or cancel planned in-person holiday gatherings. If these events can be transitioned to a virtual format, we encourage you to consider that as an option.
- All University-sponsored activities, such as concerts, lectures and other in-person programming should transition to a virtual format or be postponed. This guidance applies to all in-person, extracurricular events scheduled on campus between now and the start of Orange Appreciation Days on Friday, Dec. 24.
- Research that requires faculty, staff and graduate students to be on campus, in the field or in a laboratory may continue. Similarly, studio space and work that cannot be replicated outside the studio may continue with all appropriate public health precautions in place. We urge all researchers, studio personnel and graduate students to take the necessary steps to keep themselves and those around them safe. This includes mask wearing, monitoring for symptoms, hand washing and regular testing.
- The stadium will continue to operate in accordance with the existing guidance and protocols prescribed by New York State and the Onondaga County Health Department. Those existing local public health regulations will continue to be strictly enforced at the stadium, and any new or additional precautions contemplated for stadium events will be publicized by Syracuse University Athletics.
- In accordance with the New York State public health order of Dec. 10, 2021, all members of our campus community must always mask when indoors, and outdoors when in the presence of others. We also encourage you to test regularly and monitor for symptoms. Any specific questions should be directed to your supervisor.
Syracuse University’s Public Health Team will continue to monitor this fluid and quickly evolving situation and communicate any additional public health actions the University may implement in the future. Please review all messages from the University carefully and continue to visit Syracuse.edu/staysafe for the most up-to-date public health information.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation