Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families:
I hope you had a healthy and peaceful holiday break and wish you the very best during the final days of this semester. And while the fall academic semester has not yet come to a close, planning is well underway to ensure a safe return to campus in January.
Over the next few weeks you will continue to receive updates from Syracuse University leaders and the Syracuse University Public Health Team related to planning for January and beyond. These updates are intended to provide important details related to planning for the spring semester, updated public health guidance, travel protocols, updates on student programs and other policy and programmatic changes impacting academic and student life in the spring. Please continue to review these messages and visit our website regularly, which can now be found at Syracuse.edu/staysafe.
The important updates provided in this message include:
- New Information Hub
- Campus Policy on Masks
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Change to Quarantine Requirement
- Access to Testing in December
- Flu Vaccination
- COVID Community Engagement
- Thanks for Successful Move-Out
Syracuse.edu/staysafe: As part of our ongoing effort to support clear and direct information sharing, we have transitioned all coronavirus-related content from Syracuse.edu/fall2020, to a new consolidated information site: Syracuse.edu/staysafe. This new site will serve as the hub for information related to campus operations, public health and safety, and COVID testing information, and host the Syracuse University COVID-19 Dashboard. In addition, we will continue to post all campus messages to this site. We hope that you will visit frequently for the latest information for students, faculty, staff and the broader community.
Campus Policy on Masks: Some members of our campus community have inquired about exceptions to Syracuse University’s policy requiring masks on campus, specifically for those individuals who were previously diagnosed and then recovered from COVID-19 illness. Be advised that there are no exceptions to the University requirement that all students, faculty and staff wear a mask at all times on campus, including for those individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. This policy will remain in place for the foreseeable future, and the University will reevaluate its policy only when directed to do so by public health authorities. There is still much to be learned about the transmission of COVID-19 before, during and after infection; the only certainty is the efficacy of masks in the prevention of transmission of the virus.
Updates to CDC Policy on Quarantine: Many of you have also inquired as to the implications for Syracuse University and campus life, in response to the CDC’s recent revision to the 14-day quarantine requirement for those who are suspected of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. This revised policy—announced yesterday by the CDC—would potentially reduce the quarantine requirement from 14 days to either 7 days (with no symptoms and a negative test) or 10 days (with no symptoms and without a test requirement).
Be advised that we are currently awaiting guidance from New York State as to how the CDC’s action will impact the New York State Department of Health’s policy regarding the COVID quarantine requirement. Syracuse University is obligated to adopt and enact the New York State Department of Health directives related to both quarantine and isolation requirements, which currently remain at 14 (quarantine) days and 10 (isolation) days. If New York State takes action to revise its policy to align with this new CDC guidance, Syracuse University will do the same.
December Testing Hours: As a reminder, the Syracuse University Testing Center remains open and accessible to all members of our campus community throughout most of the winter break. The testing center’s hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you plan to get tested, please keep in mind the following information:
- Location: Enter the stadium through Gate N and follow the signs to the testing center.
- Appointments: No appointments are necessary; simply bring your SU I.D. and show up at a time that is convenient for you.
- Preparation: Do not eat, drink or brush your teeth for 30 minutes prior to testing.
- Safety Reminder: You must wear a face mask or covering when you arrive at the testing site. If you are experiencing symptoms or suspect you have been exposed to the virus, do not go to the stadium—instead contact the Barnes Center at 315.443.8000.
- Type of Test: The test itself is a saliva swab, and the entire process takes just a few minutes.
- Delivery of Results: You will receive confirmation via email if your surveillance test result indicates no requirement for a subsequent diagnostic test. Individuals whose result indicates the need for provider consultation and a subsequent diagnostic test will be notified by phone.
Flu Vaccination: Remember, all members of the University community, including students, faculty and staff, are expected to get an influenza vaccine to retain campus privileges. Students should provide proof of their flu vaccine to attend in-person classes, participate in on-campus activities and use any on-campus facilities for the spring semester. Faculty and staff are asked to complete a Flu Vaccine Status Attestation Questionnaire to confirm they’ve received a vaccine or to document a medical or religious exemption. To learn more, faculty and staff can visit wellness.syr.edu and students/families can visit the Barnes Center website.
Supporting Our City’s Schools and Families: I remain incredibly thankful for the truly selfless work performed by the Syracuse University Public Health Team over the course of the semester. Many of these professionals cannot count two consecutive days that they have had away from campus, going all the way back to July. That said, when our local schools faced the possibility of extended closure given the lack of capacity to conduct in-school testing, without hesitation our public health and testing team stepped up and offered to support the city’s efforts to reopen our schools and keep kids and teachers in the classroom. With support from University leadership, we were able to assemble an army of volunteers within 48 hours to support COVID-19 testing efforts in schools across Onondaga County. This work is ongoing today and will continue over the next few weeks. I am beyond proud and grateful for so many extraordinary volunteers from the Syracuse University community, who freely and enthusiastically offered their time and talents to our community, at a time when our community needs it most.
Sharing Thanks for a Successful Checkout: Finally, I want to conclude with additional gratitude. As our students and families departed campus, I wish I could have personally thanked each of you for your individual and collective efforts this past semester, in support of a safe and meaningful residential campus experience. While there were certainly bumps along the way, our students stepped up and took responsibility to keep themselves and our community safe and healthy. This accountability was also on display during the move-out process. Our students took exit testing seriously so as to protect their families and the communities they were returning to, and left their living spaces in great condition in preparation for our January return to campus. Thank you.
As to be expected, over the past few months we have learned a lot—and learned together. We will apply that learning to our planning and preparation for the spring semester. As always, please do not hesitate to share any ideas, suggestions or feedback by emailing the COVID-19 Project Management Office at email@example.com.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation