Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families,
This is a critical time of preparation as many faculty and staff return to campus this summer, and as we plan to welcome back thousands of students next month. You will continue to see evidence of the work being done by teams across campus to implement new policies and procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of our campus community. This work is often made more complicated by the evolving nature of the global pandemic, and as we receive new recommendations from public health authorities and government officials. We will continue to adapt our planning efforts in response to this dynamic environment.
I’ve heard from many of you related to our operations and plans to reopen Syracuse University safely. It is right and expected that many members of our campus community will continue to have questions about our plans for the fall. It’s also true that our community is uniquely positioned to contribute valuable insights related to our planning and preparedness. For that reason, beginning this week and extending throughout the remainder of the summer, we’ll be hosting weekly virtual update sessions, where you can ask questions and offer feedback in real time. More information on these update sessions is below. I’m very much looking forward to engaging with our campus community in this way.
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:
- SU Safe Weekly Roundup Virtual Update Sessions
- New York State Travel Restrictions
- Daily Health Screening Questionnaire Requirement
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Cleaning Supply Request Guidelines Available
- Mask Guidance for Individuals with Disabilities
For Students and Families:
- Updated COVID Testing Information
- New Parent and Families Virtual SUmmer Series
For Faculty and Staff:
- Fall Course Preparation Resources, Services and Tools for Faculty
- Phase Three Return to Work Underway
For Our Community
SU Safe Weekly Roundup Virtual Update Sessions: Starting this Friday, July 10, I will host “SU Safe Weekly Roundup,” a series of weekly virtual update sessions to assist University community members in preparing for the Fall 2020 semester. The hourlong Zoom sessions will be held on Fridays from 1 to 2 p.m. and will feature myself and other University leaders and subject matter experts speaking on such issues as public health, the student experience, teaching, learning and researching during a pandemic. These meetings seek to provide clarity on the path forward to in-person instruction for the Fall 2020 semester; answer questions and address concerns of community members about returning to campus; and to receive feedback and suggestions. The meetings will be captioned and will run in a “webinar” format. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions via the chat function. The sessions will run weekly from July 10 through Aug. 14, and can be accessed through this link using an syr.edu email account. Each session is limited to 500 attendees. For those unable to participate live, the link to the video will be posted on Syracuse.edu/Fall2020 and on the University’s campus social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter.
New York State Travel Restrictions: On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that three more states have been added to the previously announced travel restrictions. Individuals traveling to Central New York from 19 states experiencing high infection rates of COVID-19 will be expected to self-quarantine for 14 days. This action, 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 restriction currently applies to individuals traveling to Syracuse from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. We will continue to monitor this evolving situation and share more information on this subject once New York State provides additional detail.
Daily Health Screening Questionnaire Requirement: To comply with New York State requirements, anyone coming to campus for work or research (including faculty, staff and students) must complete an online Daily Health Screening Questionnaire prior to arriving on campus each day. The questionnaire has two questions related to exposure to and symptoms of COVID-19. Within the questionnaire, instructions are provided as to how those working on campus should proceed if they, or any member of their household, has been directed to self-isolate or quarantine or they are experiencing symptoms. Faculty and staff who have returned to campus will also receive reminder emails to complete the questionnaire on a daily basis.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Cleaning Supply Request Guidelines Available: As more faculty and staff return to the campus workplace over the summer and the University prepares for fall reopening, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety Services has released new guidelines for requesting PPE and cleaning supplies, including masks, disinfectants and hand sanitizer. Schools, colleges and departments are encouraged to compile their initial COVID-19 supply needs and make one request via the COVID-19 supply request form. The request should be made by a dean, senior leader or their designee with leadership approval. We ask that you do not stockpile supplies and request only what is needed. Schools, colleges and departments are encouraged to follow guidelines and request only what is needed for the resumption of on-campus operations this summer and the initial campus reopening in August (not the entire Fall 2020 semester). More supplies can be requested, especially as supply chain availability improves. Excessive requests will be flagged for review by University leadership. Visit news.syr.edu for additional information and resources.
Mask Guidance for Individuals with Disabilities: Wearing a face mask may be difficult for some people with a disability. The Southeast ADA Center and the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University have released guidance offering answers to questions about the issue of face mask policies; reasons why a person with a disability might not be able to wear a face mask; information on the legal rights a person has under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and a listing of reasonable modifications that businesses and government agencies may make in their face mask policy to accommodate an individual with a disability. The Southeast ADA Center and BBI’s ADA and Face Mask Policies brief is available online.
For Students and Families
Updated Testing Information: As detailed in prior messages, Syracuse University plans to test all returning students for COVID-19 at the start of the semester. The plan for testing all student upon arrival remains unchanged. However, we want to make students and families aware that we are enhancing our testing program to add a pre-travel testing requirement. Specifically, given the increasingly availability of COVID testing in communities across the U.S., Syracuse University will require that all students be tested for COVID-19 before traveling to campus in August. We are incorporating this enhancement to our testing program based on recommendations of public health experts, and given ongoing consultation with peer institutions in New York state and across the U.S. The University will provide additional details in the coming weeks, related to how soon (prior to travel) this test should be accomplished and how to document a negative test result with the University prior to travel.
New Parent and Families Virtual SUmmer Series: The Parent and Family Services Office has organized a series of live Zoom sessions to provide new parents and families with information on multiple facets of the student experience, as well as share how to support a student transitioning to college life. Each session will cover a specific topic area and feature staff who will present and answer attendees’ questions on their respective topic. Topics covered include homesickness, healthy relationships, resiliency and more. Each live session is 7 to 8 p.m. ET and most will be recorded for future viewing. New parents and family members can learn more about each session and register on the Virtual SUmmer Series page.
For Faculty and Staff
Fall Course Preparation Resources, Services and Tools for Faculty: All faculty teaching this fall are highly encouraged to utilize the University’s suite of Fall Course Transition Services. No matter what format will be required, you can plan for a successful semester and get a running start on the first two weeks of classes. Use the Fall 2020 Preparedness Checklist as a starting point, then consult the Fall 2020 Align Your Course for Any Format for helpful resources on designing objectives, assessments, assignments, weekly activities and running class sections in a mixed formats. If you teach a large course session with TAs, consider working with them now to begin planning for their fall sessions as well. The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, Online Learning Services and the Center for Online and Digital Learning can help—complete the brief Fall Course Development Form to get started.
Phase Three Return to Work Underway: For those involved in Phase Three of the University’s Return to Campus Plan for Faculty and Staff, the Wellness Initiative has compiled a list of mental and emotional well-being resources to facilitate a smooth transition. And please remember to complete your Daily Health Screening Questionnaire each day before you leave home.
The Wellness Initiative invites faculty and staff to register for the Real Food Challenge. The challenge runs from July 13-31 and involves each day swapping one fake food (heavily processed, packaged foods containing chemicals and additives) for one real food (any food that is minimally processed or not processed at all). Replacing fake food with real food provides your body with the nutrients to sustain a healthy weight, healthy mind and healthy brain function.
And registration is open for the THRIVE! series sessions “Working with Worry” (July 21 from noon to 1 p.m. or July 22 from 1 to 2 p.m.) and “Real Time Resilience” (July 28 from noon to 1 p.m. or July 29 from 1 to 2 p.m.). Sessions are offered via Zoom.
Thank you for remaining attentive to the evolving situation, as external forces continue to have an impact on our planning and procedures. We continue to add resources in programming and services to ensure a smooth transition for return to campus for the thousands of students, faculty and staff who truly define the Syracuse University experience both in-class and online. We will keep you informed through these updates.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation