Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff:
The first week of classes is behind us—it is wonderful to see our campus come to life for the new semester. We continue to learn new lessons about how to make the most of our time together on campus, while assuming the shared responsibility for the health and safety of our friends, colleagues and neighbors. Today’s message summarizes key COVID-related protocols, policies and recommendations in effect on campus and provides important updates, including:
1. Surveillance Testing for Vaccinated Individuals
2. Testing Requirements for Vaccine-Exempt Individuals
3. Stadium Testing Center Hours and Protocols
4. COVID-19 Response Checklists
5. COVID-19 Dashboard
6. Information Hub
7. Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan
Randomized Surveillance Testing for Vaccinated Individuals: The University has implemented a randomized surveillance testing program for vaccinated individuals. This program includes vaccinated Syracuse University faculty, students and staff, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry students, and has been implemented in response to the increasing number of “breakthrough” infections recorded among the vaccinated population across the U.S. Each week a subset of the vaccinated campus population will be randomly selected to test and will receive an email directing them to visit the University Testing Center during the week. As we conclude the first week of this important surveillance program, I’m happy to share that testing compliance has been very strong. Thank you.
As a reminder, the Stay Safe COVID-19 Testing webpage includes testing details, requirements and hours of operation for the Testing Center. Weekday testing is being held at the stadium (enter through Gate P); Sunday testing will continue to be held at Kimmel Dining Hall.
Testing for Vaccine-Exempt Individuals: As a reminder, ALL unvaccinated students, faculty and staff (also known as vaccine-exempt) who plan to access campus under a medical or religious exemption are required to participate in routine COVID-19 surveillance testing once per week until further notice. Compliance with this requirement is monitored regularly.
Stadium Testing Center Closed Monday, Sept. 6: In observance of the Labor Day holiday, the University’s Stadium Testing Center will be closed on Monday, Sept. 6. The Stadium Testing Center will resume its scheduled hours on Tuesday, Sept. 7, beginning at 10 a.m. Testing hours are as follows:
· Monday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (Stadium; closed Monday, Sept. 6, for Labor Day)
· Tuesday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (Stadium)
· Wednesday: noon-7 p.m. (Stadium)
· Thursday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (Stadium)
· Friday: 8:30-10:30 a.m. (Stadium)
· Saturday: Closed
· Sunday: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Kimmel Dining Hall)
Important: Taking a COVID-19 test is quick, simple and painless. However, to ensure our laboratory is able to provide an accurate test result—and to avoid being recalled a second time to the Testing Center—it is important to provide a viable and non-contaminated saliva sample by following these simple instructions:
· Do not eat, chew gum, drink, use mouthwash or use any tobacco products for 30 minutes before testing.
· Deposit enough saliva to reach the line marked on your tube.
· Be sure you only deposit saliva into the tube (not mucus or phlegm).
· It is recommended to hydrate well earlier in the day before you test to prevent dry mouth.
If you do not follow these instructions closely, there is a chance that your sample can’t be analyzed. In such an instance, you will be notified to return to the Testing Center to provide a new sample. If you have questions, please ask a testing assistant for help. For more information, please watch this short video.
COVID-19 Response Checklists: Quickly identifying, isolating and tracing instances of COVID-19 exposure is critical to mitigating the spread of the virus. As a reminder, the University 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 can be found on the Stay Safe website. While these checklists cannot always fully address the unique nature of every situation, they 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 community should contact the Syracuse University COVID-19 Project Management Office (PMO) at 315.443.6180 or SUcovid@syr.edu with additional questions or concerns or to receive further guidance.
COVID-19 Dashboard: As of yesterday, Thursday, Sept. 2, we have transitioned to providing public updates to the University’s COVID dashboard daily, Monday through Friday. Updates to the dashboard will be posted by 5 p.m. each weekday. Monday’s update will include any new data resulting from weekend testing. Please continue to regularly visit the COVID-19 Dashboard to get the most up-to-date information about testing and active cases at Syracuse University.
Information Hub: I encourage you to bookmark Syracuse.edu/staysafe. This site will continue to be the hub for information about campus operations, public health and safety, testing information, the COVID-19 Dashboard and the answers to the most frequently asked questions, which are updated on a weekly basis (and more frequently, as new questions arise).
Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan Now Available: In response to the New York Health and Essential Rights (NY HERO) Act, the University has established a new Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan. The plan follows New York State’s Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard and their model plan for private education. It outlines the range of actions Syracuse University may take to eliminate or minimize employee exposures to airborne infectious agents in the event of a declared airborne infectious disease outbreak. The plan will be implemented if a highly contagious communicable airborne infectious disease is designated by the New York State Commissioner of Health as presenting a serious risk of harm to public health. As of today, the state has not issued this designation. Please contact Environmental Health and Safety Services at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about the plan.
Thank you for your continued attention and commitment to our community’s public health. Wishing you and your loved ones a safe, happy and healthy Labor Day weekend.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation