HR News

COVID-19 Public Health Update: CDC Recommends Additional Vaccine Dose for Immunocompromised

Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance yesterday that will impact members of our community. The CDC is now encouraging individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised to receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Who is eligible?

Eligible individuals include those who:

·         Are receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood

·         Have received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

·         Have received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

·         Have a moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency

·         Have advanced or untreated HIV infection

·         Are receiving active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

Please note, this guidance is only applicable to individuals who have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Those who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not yet eligible.

Faculty/Staff Guidance

Faculty and staff who fit the above criteria should contact their primary care physician directly to discuss receiving an additional dose. Vaccines remain readily available in the community. To learn where you can receive an additional dose, visit vaccines.gov and click “Find COVID-19 Vaccines.”

Student Guidance

For eligible students, please contact your primary care physician, who will determine whether you qualify for an additional dose. If you require an additional dose and need assistance, the Barnes Center will work with you to coordinate your additional dose administration.

As we have since the start of the pandemic, we will continue to update our community on important public health developments to ensure you have the information and tools necessary to keep yourself and those around you healthy and safe.

Please continue to visit Syracuse.edu/staysafe for the latest public health guidance.

Regards,
Syracuse University Public Health Team

COVID-19 Campus Update: Dynamic COVID Alert and Masking Framework

Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff:

The start of a new academic year is quickly approaching. If you’ve been following media reports, you know that the pandemic remains a fluid, dynamic situation. Changes to public health guidance are still occurring frequently. We should all be proud that Syracuse University will start the fall semester as one of the most highly vaccinated campuses in the nation. Currently, more than 90% of our combined student and employee population is fully vaccinated against the COVID virus. And while breakthrough infections of vaccinated individuals are occurring as the experts predicted, the data is clear that the vaccine is performing its No. 1 function extraordinarily well—which is to prevent vaccinated individuals from experiencing serious illness and hospitalization.

Effective today, Syracuse University will implement a four-tiered COVID alert system and associated masking framework, designed as a tool to communicate and dynamically adjust campus masking requirements over time, based on an ongoing assessment of rates of new infection, testing data and contact tracing information unique to our campus and local community. This new framework is described below.

COVID and Masking Alert Framework

The four levels of the campus COVID alert and masking framework are color-coded and correlate to specific on-campus masking requirements applicable to students, faculty, staff and campus visitors. The four tiers of this new framework are as follows:

·         GREEN: indicates a low level of transmission risk on campus, and correlates with the following masking policy:

o    Masks Required: All unvaccinated students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus indoors at all times, and outdoors when in the presence of others

o    Masks Optional: All vaccinated students, faculty, staff and visitors—indoors and outdoors

·         YELLOW: indicates a moderate level of transmission risk on campus, and correlates with the following masking policy:

o    Masks Required: All unvaccinated students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus indoors at all times, and outdoors when in the presence of others

o    Masks Recommended: Vaccinated students, faculty, staff and visitors while indoors in the presence of others, and outdoors in large group settings

·         BLUE: indicates an elevated level of transmission risk on campus, and correlates with the following masking policy:

o    Masks Required: All unvaccinated students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus indoors at all times, and outdoors when in the presence of others

o    Masks Required: All students, faculty, staff and visitors (vaccinated and unvaccinated) in the following settings:

§  During academic instruction (inclusive of classrooms, laboratories and lecture venues)

§  During non-academic events, on a case-by-case basis, as determined by a public health risk assessment. These changes will be communicated directly as appropriate.

o    Masks Recommended: Vaccinated students, faculty, staff and visitors while indoors in the presence of others, and when outdoors in large group settings

·         RED: indicates a high level of transmission risk on campus, and correlates with the following masking policy:

o    Masks Required: All students, faculty, staff and visitors (vaccinated and unvaccinated) accessing the Syracuse University campus, indoors at all times and outdoors in the presence of others. At this alert condition (RED), the following masking exceptions are permitted for students, faculty and staff only:

§  Students while in their own residence hall room

§  Vaccinated employees while alone in private offices, personal workstations or when working independently outdoors on campus

Please note that all individuals—regardless of vaccination status and/or campus alert level—are required by New York State law to wear a mask on public transit (including the Syracuse University Shuttle) and when visiting any health care facility (including the Barnes Health Center and the Kimmel Testing Center). In addition, the above framework does not apply to events held at the Syracuse University stadium, where masking and other COVID prevention policies will be prescribed based on local and state public health orders.

Establishing, Adjusting and Communicating Campus Alert Levels

The Syracuse University Public Health Team, in collaboration with local and New York State public health officials, will recommend adjustments to the campus COVID alert level, based on their ongoing assessment of campus and community testing data, contact tracing information, and other factors indicative of COVID prevalence and transmission within the campus community.

As of today, Friday, Aug. 13, our COVID alert level is BLUE.

Moving forward, any changes to the alert level and associated masking policy will be announced in the following ways:

·         campus email;

·         text message;

·         Twitter: @SUCampus and @SyracuseUNews;

·         Facebook: @SUCampus and @SyracuseUniversityNews; and

·         Syracuse.edu/staysafe and news.syr.edu.

If you have not already done so, please log into your MySlice account to be sure your Orange Alert settings are up to date prior to the start of the semester.

Continuing Campus Resources and Infrastructure Modifications

As we have since the start of the pandemic, the University will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our campus and Central New York community. At the same time, we are also committed to delivering a robust and engaged residential campus experience. We absolutely can accomplish both these objectives. To do so will require a dynamic, flexible and data-driven approach to navigating the constantly evolving COVID situation on campus, in our community and across the U.S. Still, a great many of the COVID-related campus resources and infrastructure modifications we implemented last year will remain in place for the upcoming academic year. These include:

·         free and readily accessible testing for students, employees and employee families;

·         enhanced ventilation and air filtration in classrooms and public spaces;

·         free and accessible isolation and quarantine housing for students; and

·         transparent and frequent communication related to the COVID situation on campus.

Syracuse University COVID-19 Dashboard Updates

Effective Monday, Aug. 16, the Syracuse University COVID-19 Dashboard will transition from a summer schedule of once weekly updates, to updates each Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon. The University’s COVID-19 Dashboard is where members of our campus community can access data and statistics regarding the COVID situation on campus.

Thank you for your continued partnership and commitment to supporting the safety and wellness of all members of the Syracuse University and Central New York Community. Please continue to visit Syracuse.edu/staysafe for the latest COVID guidance.

Sincerely,

J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation

August 2021: Progress on Campus Commitments

Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:

Our university community has come together in profound ways to advance our goals in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA). Leaders from across our campus are guiding critical initiatives; students have called to attention areas where we should evolve; the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has expanded its programming, training and dialogue opportunities; and the DEIA Strategic Planning Task Force has made tremendous progress with the University’s first DEIA strategic plan. Countless others are involved, building on the work of so many over the years.

As I conclude my time at Syracuse this month, I want to acknowledge and thank everyone who has been and continues to be involved in our shared efforts. It has been an honor to work with you. This work is a powerful example of what we can achieve together. I have been inspired by the insights of students, the collegiality and wisdom of our faculty and staff, and the caring, passion and drive shown by so many on issues of social justice.

The work continues, including on our Campus Commitments. The following are some recent examples:

·         The University administration received the Onondaga Haudenosaunee language greeting translation for Huntington Beard Crouse Hall signage. The translation reads “Wa’tgwanoñheñ:nyoñ’ hwa’dyoñgwe’dageh.” Efforts are underway to have the signage in place for the fall semester.

·         A new elevator is being installed and an ADA accessible restroom is being renovated at 119 Euclid Ave. The work is expected to be completed in the fall.

·         Work is underway at 113 Euclid Ave., which will house the Native Student Program, to install a new elevator and an ADA accessible entrance and ramp. The work is planned to be finished in the fall.

·         The Haudenosaunee flag is being flown at the National Veterans Resource Center. Consistent with the University’s practice of displaying the U.S. flag higher than other flags when flown at Syracuse University, the Haudenosaunee flag will fly at the same height as the seven other flags at the center.

·         As communicated in a message from Chief Bobby Maldanado to the campus community in June, the implementation of Loretta Lynch’s recommendations are continuing, including the posting of Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Standard Operating Procedures to the DPS website.

Along with Campus Commitments, other recent programming and initiatives developed by diversity and inclusion colleagues across campus include the following:

·         The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications created a bias-reporting survey for the school. About 450 students completed the survey by the end of May, and a majority of staff members completed the survey by the end of June.

·         Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature, which is a collaboration between Burton Blatt Institute’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach (OIPO) and Syracuse University Libraries, hosted a Zoom reading on June 25 with acclaimed writer Ona Gritz to celebrate her work in disability literature (#CripLit) and to assist with launching her new book, “Present Imperfect: Essays (Poets Wear Prada).”

·         The Martin J. Whitman School of Management’s DiversityEdu online course was completed by 100% of tenured faculty and full-time staff in May, and 95% of adjunct faculty completed the course.

All of these endeavors are the result of the commitment from many individuals to the ideals of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. This vital work and the Syracuse University community—our drive toward academic excellence, our achievements in diversity and inclusion, and our indomitable spirit—will remain with me at all times. Thank you one and all.

Embracing our connectivity,

Keith A. Alford
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Coming Out of COVID

Dear Orange Friends:

In July I spent a lot of time on the road and in airports, and a lot of time talking with Syracuse folks from all over. Two things have impressed me from this experience: First, it is going to be a fairly long time before we really come out of COVID and all the things it has changed for us as a community. And second, by and large, people at Syracuse were amazing in how they coped and kept going throughout the past 18 months.

When I say it is going to be a while before we come out of COVID, I don’t mean just the public health aspects. To be sure, we still are very much dealing with the public health challenges of COVID for our community here, as the delta variant spreads in many parts of the country and the world. We will have to be very attentive to public health on campus as we start the fall semester, including testing and accommodation of those who cannot be vaccinated—while at the same time delivering all the in-person activities that our new and returning students are so desperate to have again. Whether it be classes or intramurals or performances or social gatherings, it is time for us to confidently engage again across the board, even as we learn new healthy practices, especially for those who are at risk.

But beyond that, in my travels I have witnessed a lot of folks who are still cautiously emerging from COVID fatigue. People are more on edge. There is often rage or frustration or exhaustion or sorrow just beneath the surface, and at times it comes out at the wrong person or an unlikely place. And yet, I have also seen a lot of people being exceptionally kind and grateful, including to strangers, in the most unlikely circumstances. I have heard about, witnessed and experienced this time and again from Orange people.

In a few weeks, our campus will once again be a busy and bustling place. Things will be closer to normal than they have been in a long time. Still, I ask that we all remember that those we interact with may have good reason to be fragile or on edge. I ask that we try our best to manifest Orange values of community and kindness. In the last 18 months, we saw our community undergo great stress and rise to the occasion with humanity and decency. We got through things better than most schools and better than most of us expected. Let’s remember and channel that success to this new time, when we are coming out of COVID, but not at the finish line just yet.

Sincerely,

Chancellor Kent Syverud

Masks and Cleaning Supplies Available by Request

Dear Faculty and Staff:
In support of the University’s focus on protecting the health and well-being of our campus community, please remember that an ample supply of masks and cleaning products is available to you.
Departments, schools and colleges can continue to request these supplies using the COVID-19 Supply Request Form. The requested supplies will be delivered directly to you, generally within 24 hours of the request. The items available include, but are not limited to, cloth and disposable masks, Clorox wipes, sanitizing wipes, disinfectant spray and hand sanitizers. These supplies continue to be provided at no cost to you for use on campus.
For more information on COVID-19 supplies, please contact Environmental Health and Safety Services (EHSS) at EHSS@syr.edu.
Sincerely,
Syracuse University COVID-19 Project Management Office

COVID-19 Update: Important Public Health Information

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families:

Late yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified Onondaga County as a region of substantial transmission due to an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases. In response, a short time ago, Onondaga County announced it will encourage certain populations, including vaccinated senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals, to wear masks when indoors.

Out of an abundance of caution and to continue protecting the health and well-being of our entire campus community, effective Tuesday, Aug. 3, Syracuse University will ask that all students, faculty, staff and visitors, including those who are vaccinated, to wear masks while indoors on our campus. This includes in dining halls and fitness centers. This is a temporary measure until transmission rates have declined sufficiently. We will continue to monitor pandemic conditions and modify or eliminate the indoor mask-wearing request as soon as appropriate. Please note, all University operations will continue as usual.

Thank you for your continued adherence to and cooperation with the University’s public health response. If you haven’t already, and if you are able to do so, please get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation

Build Your Financial Know-How With Carebridge Financial Planner Lou Leyes

Earlier this year, a new financial wellness workshop series, Build Your Financial Know-How, was introduced to faculty and staff. The workshops were provided through Carebridge, the University’s faculty and staff assistance program.

Three separate workshops were offered virtually and conducted by Lou Leyes, a financial planner with nearly 19 years of experience helping people reach their financial goals. He offered practical guidance for faculty and staff in the areas of managing personal finances, gaining control of debt and developing a savings strategy.

In this Q&A, Leyes discusses how to commit to and automate your savings, the importance of credit scores and where to turn for help to ensure you’re saving enough for retirement. If you missed the live Build Your Financial Know-How offerings, recorded webinars are available on the HR website.

1. What should a person look at to start saving money—or saving more money? What are the best ways to make saving money a habit?

Successfully starting or increasing your savings comes down to two basic things: commitment and automation.

Commitment is your personal promise to yourself that you will add more money to the savings component of your financial plan. It helps to have a goal in mind—and a means to celebrate milestones along the way. Commitment also comes from doing the work to build your savings plan. Understanding where your money goes is the first step to taking control of your personal finances.

Automation sets you up for success by putting money into savings without your direct action. Use your direct deposits to send money to a separate account—maybe even at a separate bank, if that helps you keep it there!

Once you have built your savings plan, review your progress monthly. See what adjustments are necessary, or what items may have been omitted from the plan. Adjust the plan and keep going!

If you have a partner or spouse, be sure to talk with them about these plans. Get their help with accountability (or enlist the help of a “budget buddy!”)

2. Why should a person be concerned about their credit score?

Your credit score impacts a number of things beyond just getting a new credit card and/or a lower mortgage rate (which are important in and of themselves). Right or wrong, insurance companies use credit scores as a measure of risk. The challenge with credit is that when you need it most, you may not be able to get it. Having a strong credit score makes that easier.

Rebuilding your credit score, if needed, starts with a spending plan. You must know how much you’ll need to dedicate to your outstanding debts to make them go away—permanently. The best first step is to make sure you’re paying at least the minimum due every month. Missed payments are the biggest contributor to a decreasing credit score.

3. How does someone begin to make a plan for retirement? How much should I be saving?

There are “rules of thumb” that may help you define your financial goals for retirement. For example, many calculators use the assumption that your retirement income “should” be about 80% of the income earned during your working years. However, I believe it is best to figure out your desired budget … how much do you want to spend? What will life be like for you? How will you spend your time? What costs will you no longer have? What will you add to your budget?

As far as how much to save for retirement, that depends on where you are now. The short answer is usually “more.” If you are just starting your career, consider contributing 10 to 15% of your income toward your retirement plan, not including any employer contribution. If you’ve been working a while but haven’t had the opportunity to begin saving, you may need to contribute more. Start wherever you can now, though. No more procrastinating!

Financial wellness resources are available to you, including individual financial counseling through TIAA and Carebridge that can help you answer these questions and take steps to develop a savings plan.

4. Where can one turn to for assistance with managing money and saving for the future?

As an employee of Syracuse University, you can find financial counseling resources posted on the University’s Financial Wellness webpage, including counseling services provided by TIAA and Carebridge.

Outside of the resources provided by the University, you can work with an independent financial advisor. There are many different types of advisors out there—from insurance-based agents to fiduciary financial planners. The Certified Financial Planner Board has a short list of 10 questions to consider asking an investment or retirement professional.

Staff Representative to the Board of Trustees—Application and Selection Process

Dear Staff:

Following the May Board of Trustees meeting, Kathy Walters, chair of the Board of Trustees, announced that the Board had approved a change to the University bylaws to appoint a staff member as representative to the Board. In that announcement, Chair Walters advised that the Board set a process for making the selection of the staff representative. In follow-up to that announcement, we are now seeking applicants for the staff representative. This email outlines the process for those interested in applying to serve in this key role.

Staff Selection Process:

Any Syracuse University staff member in good standing is invited to apply. For those interested in being considered, please complete this application [PDF] and submit it to svpchro@syr.edu.

In accordance with the Board of Trustees-approved bylaws, following a review of the applications, I will make a recommendation to Chancellor Kent Syverud of up to three names for his final selection.

Next Steps:

As we work to complete the Board process please be advised of the below key dates:

Deadline to submit applications: Please submit applications by Aug. 7, 2021.
Representative notification: Staff representative will be notified in August.
Training for staff, student, faculty and dean representatives: Will be held in September.
The creation of the staff representative to the Board of Trustees is an important component of the commitment by Board and University leadership to ensure that the Board has an opportunity to hear from all University constituencies. I urge all staff to consider applying for this new leadership representative position.

Sincerely,

Andrew R. Gordon
Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer

COVID Update: Flu Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccination | Interim Travel Policy

Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff:

It’s hard to believe, but in just over 40 days we will begin welcoming new and returning students to campus. While the volume and pace of our campus updates have slowed dramatically, please know that our Syracuse University Public Health Team, as well as hundreds of staff members, continue to work to ready our campus for a safe and productive 2021-22 academic year. With that in mind, I write today to share three important updates, including:

1.   Flu Vaccine

2.   COVID-19 Vaccination

3.   Interim Travel Policy

Flu Vaccine: In consultation with the medical team at the Barnes Center at The Arch and the University’s Public Health Team, the University will again expect all members of our campus community who plan to routinely access campus during the 2021-22 academic year to receive the flu vaccine. While increasing COVID vaccination rates and the lifting of public health restrictions have marked a positive signal to a return to pre-pandemic life, we must remain vigilant and take every precaution to support the health and well-being of the campus community. Vaccination continues to be the best protection against illness and obtaining the flu vaccine helps our community reduce the impact of respiratory illness and make early diagnoses of COVID-19 more likely. To support our community in getting vaccinated against the flu, the Barnes Center at The Arch will offer flu clinics in the fall semester, once the current year flu vaccine becomes available. Students, faculty and staff will also have the option to obtain the vaccine through another medical provider or pharmacy. As we have more information, including the dates of the clinics, we will notify the campus community.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement: Effective June 1, all students, faculty and staff accessing campus are required to have the COVID-19 vaccination. The only exemption to this requirement is an approved medical or religious exemption. Unvaccinated members of the campus community must continue to wear a mask on campus and participate in weekly surveillance testing. As a reminder, as per New York State Department of Health guidelines, masks continue to be required for all faculty, staff and students—regardless of vaccination status—in health care facilities, including Barnes Health and the Kimmel COVID Testing Center.

For students, COVID-19 vaccination records should be submitted to the Student Patient Portal. Students who do not submit their vaccination record will not be able to select a move-in pass, move into their residence hall or access course registration.

·         Incoming Students: The deadline to submit vaccination records was July 1, along with all other required health and immunization records. If you have not yet submitted your records, please do so as soon as possible in the Patient Portal to avoid holds on your account.

·         Returning Students: Please submit your records to the Patient Portal by Aug. 1 to allow for adequate processing time. Students who plan to access campus before Aug. 1 must have their COVID-19 vaccination record submitted prior to accessing campus.

If you have questions about your vaccination record, please contact the Barnes Center at The Arch at 315.443.8000.

Faculty and staff should continue to use the COVID-19 Vaccine Status Attestation Questionnaire if their vaccination status has changed.

Interim Travel Safety Policy: With the end of New York’s state of emergency and the discontinuation of state limits on travel for those who are vaccinated, effective July 19, 2021, the University will adapt its interim travel safety policy to allow non-essential domestic travel. All those proposing domestic travel for University business purposes (faculty, staff or student) may do so without constraint. All domestic travelers should continue to register their business travel through the University’s travel registry, except for those engaging in official travel for Athletics, club sports or Marching Band who register their travel through other means. For those with approved exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination, the University requires strict adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for travelers. Please note that all usual approval processes for the purposes of responsible budget management should be followed.

International travel remains for essential purposes only. Processes currently in place for review of international research, academic, employee and student group travel continue as previously announced.

·         For International Research: For requests involving proposed travel for research purposes, interested parties are asked to seek a waiver to travel internationally through the Office of the Vice President for Research. Information on that process can be found on the Office of Research website.

·         For International Faculty/Staff Business Travel: International travel for non-essential University business (e.g., conferences) remains prohibited. Request to travel for essential purposes should follow the procedures provided by Human Resources.

·         International Student Organization Travel: Requests made by students to travel internationally as part of their participation in a registered student organization should be directed to Rob Hradsky in the Office of the Vice President for the Student Experience at rhradsky@syr.edu.

·         For Academic Purposes: International academic travel may only be deemed essential if, in the judgment of the dean of the school or college, the activity is essential to a designated course of study and no reasonable alternative exists that does not involve international travel.

Please be reminded that any student, faculty or staff member approved to travel must register with the University’s travel registry. Questions may be directed to Seth Tucker in the Office of Global Safety and Support at satucker@syr.edu or 315.443.1968.

Syracuse University continues to be a special place to live, learn and work. It’s our people that make this community what it is. Keeping in mind that we all come from different backgrounds, cultures and parts of the world, I remind you how important it is to support each other as we work to get back to pre-pandemic life. You will likely continue to see many of your peers, classmates and colleagues wearing masks. Please show these individuals your kindness and understanding as electing to wear a mask—whether for a health or comfort reason—is each person’s choice regardless of vaccination status.

Wishing you continued rest and adventure this summer.

Sincerely,

J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation

June 2021 Updates From DPS

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I hope that the start to your summer is going well. Despite the vast majority of our community being away from campus for the summer months, we have been very busy at the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

We continue to implement recommendations made by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. I want to highlight some of the progress:

·       We are currently in the process of interviewing candidates for our next campus peace officer academy.

·       We have secured space on South Campus for students to drop in and share their questions and concerns with our staff.

·       We have posted our Standard Operating Procedures to the DPS website consistent with recommendation No. 4 from the report conducted by Loretta Lynch.

·       We have posted our investigative steps to the DPS website.

·       The DPS staff attended in-service training in June that included all elements and the definition of a hate crime, related terminology and proper investigative steps leading up to conclusion.

·       A project team has been established to develop the technical requirements for posting appropriate crime and incident data to the DPS website.

·       As of tomorrow, July 1, the campus safety escort service will be managed by Parking and Transportation Services.

Again, this is just a highlight of the work achieved to date. To review the status of all recommendations, please visit the DPS website.

As a reminder, if you have any information about an incident on our campus, please call DPS at 315.443.2224. You can anonymously report non-emergency information to DPS through the Silent Witness tool or the Rave Guardian mobile app.

Stay safe and have a terrific summer!

Sincerely,

Chief Bobby Maldonado