Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff:
I hope you are having a great summer and enjoying time with friends and family. On campus, we are working hard to prepare for an exciting fall semester, and to welcome new and returning members of the Syracuse University community to campus next month!
Like many of our peers, the University’s approach to public health planning for the fall semester is grounded in the premise that—for the foreseeable future—COVID-19 will represent a concern that is endemic to life on a college campus. For that reason, it is important that our management of COVID-19 on campus and within our community reflect that practical reality. With that in mind, I’m writing today to share an overview of the public health guidelines and protocols planned for the fall semester. Please review this message carefully.
- The University’s vaccination requirement will remain unchanged from the 2021-22 academic year. That is, full immunization against COVID-19 (initial course of vaccine, plus one booster dose upon eligibility) will continue to be required of all students, faculty and staff accessing campus, except for those with approved medical or religious exemptions.
- For incoming students, vaccination records were due to the Barnes Center on July 1. If you have not submitted these records, please do so immediately.
- The University will discontinue its current color-coded COVID Masking Framework, effective Aug. 15.
- As of that date, masking will be optional in all settings on campus for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, except where masking remains required by the New York State Department of Health (i.e., health care facilities and while on public transportation).
- We strongly encourage all members of the campus community to consider masking based on an assessment of personal risk, especially when in large groups, high-density areas of campus, or in response to an exposure to a known COVID-positive individual.
- The University’s masking policy remains subject to public health orders issued by the Onondaga County Health Department and New York State Department of Health, and will be adjusted if directed by public health authorities.
- The University’s Testing Center will not reopen in the fall, and we will discontinue mandatory COVID surveillance testing on campus.
- Testing for symptomatic students will be available at the Barnes Center at The Arch.
- Symptomatic faculty and staff should access testing via community providers or utilize self-administered, at-home test kits.
- The University has acted to significantly expand the availability of self-administered COVID test kits for all students, faculty and staff. Specifically:
- The University will make an initial allotment of free, self-administered COVID test kits available to all members of the campus community at the beginning of the semester.
- We will also be installing a network of vending stations at locations across campus that will dispense—at a highly subsidized cost—self-administered COVID test kits to members of the campus community.
- In addition, free at-home tests are currently available from the federal government.
- Wastewater surveillance testing will continue on campus, as a tool to provide the Public Health Team early data on campus transmission and prevalence trends.
- The University will continue to provide isolation housing to students who test positive for COVID-19 and who reside in Syracuse University-owned and operated housing, including residence halls and apartments.
- Students who live off campus and test positive for COVID-19 will be responsible for securing their own isolation housing, if required, at their own expense.
- The University will continue to make cost-free personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and other supplies readily available to the campus community, to include in classrooms, residence halls and other public spaces.
- Given the discontinuation of mandatory surveillance testing and the widespread use of at-home and community-based COVID testing resources, the COVID-19 Dashboard will be retired. However, we will continue to provide public health updates on Syracuse.edu/Staysafe and by email with the campus community as needed.
Like other communicable illnesses, such as the flu, our campus community will continue to face challenges stemming from COVID infections and illness. However, together we have successfully navigated those challenges in the past, and I’m confident we can do the same in the fall and beyond. University leadership and the Public Health Team will remain focused and diligent with regard to monitoring the public health situation on campus and in our community, to include closely following developments related to the increasing prevalence of the monkeypox virus. If necessary, we will take action to adjust the procedures and protocols detailed above in response to changing public health conditions.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and we look forward to welcoming you to campus this fall!
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation