Return to Campus FAQ

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Safety Protocols
Office Space Work Arrangements | Cleaning Supplies and Procedures
Travel
| Miscellaneous
COVID-19 Benefits FAQ Fall 2020 FAQ

Personal Protective Equipment FAQ

Updated 8/14: Syracuse University requires face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus, in the presence of others, in public settings, indoors and outdoors.

Faculty, staff and students were provided with cloth face masks upon their return to campus. Additional PPE will be provided to faculty and staff performing operations or using products where the use of additional PPE is recommended.

Where appropriate, faculty and staff will also be provided with training on the PPE they are required to use. General information on the proper use of masks and gloves is available from the CDC.

It is the University’s responsibility to provide a face mask for all employees, including new hires. Use the EHSS COVID-19 Supplies Request Form to request additional masks to distribute to new faculty and staff members.

Faculty and staff have been provided with cloth face masks. Most are reusable cloth face masks that may be laundered at home. However, some faculty and staff whose job functions require additional protection may be provided respirators (such as N95) in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and other applicable health regulations.

Based on current CDC guidance, faculty and staff will not be expected to wear gloves routinely or for general use on campus. Gloves will be provided to faculty and staff performing operations or using products where the use of gloves is recommended.

Faculty and staff may bring in and wear a face mask from home as long as it is acceptable and does not contain symbols, words or objects that violate any University policies. Acceptable face masks should meet the CDC’s recommendations regarding the use of cloth face coverings.

Updated 8/14: Faculty and staff working alone in their private offices with the door closed and students who are alone in a room do not need to wear a face mask (unless the room is someone else's office or workspace). Syracuse University requires face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus, in the presence of others, in public settings, indoors and outdoors.

Updated 8/14: Yes. Syracuse University requires face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus, in the presence of others, in public settings, indoors and outdoors.

Syracuse University’s policy is to wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of social distance. Face shields cannot be used instead of face masks. They do not cover the mouth and nose in the same way as face masks. They can be used as an additional level of protection, but not instead of face masks. If an instructor finds it useful to use faces shields instead of face masks for the purpose of lip reading during teaching, they must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from students while wearing the face shield. Clear face masks for lip reading purposes may also be available by contacting ehss@syr.edu.

Updated 8/14: Syracuse University requires face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus, in the presence of others, in public settings, indoors and outdoors.

Updated 8/14: Syracuse University requires face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus, in the presence of others, in public settings, indoors and outdoors.

It is a shared responsibility. We must all do our part to protect ourselves and each other. During the COVID-19 health emergency, wearing a mask is not only an action designed to protect you from exposure to the virus, but it is also a visible sign that each member of our campus community is doing our part to safeguard the health and wellness of others.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to use the reusable cloth masks provided in their welcome packet upon campus return. Additional or replacement cloth face masks will be provided if there is a justifiable need (i.e., poor fit, damaged, stained, etc.) Schools, colleges and departments may request a supply of disposable face masks if they have a need for visitors, staff with approved accommodations, or staff who require them due to the nature of their work (i.e., handling of food or hazardous materials). View the PPE and Cleaning Supply Request Guidelines for more information and access to the EHSS request form.


Safety Protocols FAQ

Updated 8/26: The University convened several cross-functional working groups across campus to address these issues and continues to update protocols in accordance with guidance from health and government officials. Space reconfigurations, signage and other considerations to help maintain and encourage social distancing have been implemented and will continue throughout the semester.

In the event that you encounter someone who is not following the social distancing requirements repeatedly, you should mention your concern to that individual or discuss it with your supervisor. Additionally, students have been asked to commit to social distancing guidelines as part of the Stay Safe Pledge.

Yes, all of these options for social distancing will be considered and implemented based on the needs and space considerations of each department. View the Workplace Distancing Guidance and Protocols for more information.

Visit ehss.syr.edu for more information about Universitywide measures to keep campus safe.


Office Space FAQ

Updated 6/9: A barrier or wall would be considered enough distance/meet the social distancing requirement, even if it’s not 6 feet apart, as long as the wall or barrier is higher than the person when they stand up. As an added safety measure, individuals working in adjoined cubicles that are less than 6 feet apart are encouraged to wear a mask at all times.

Updated 6/29: The installation of plexiglass barriers to increase cubicle heights or separate work areas is not contemplated at this time. For these situations, departments are encouraged to identify alternative work arrangements, including use of alternative work areas (i.e., using a conference room as an office), full or partial remote work arrangements, alternate day work arrangements or staggered shifts. Additionally, those working in open cubicle layouts should wear a mask at all times.

Updated 6/29: The University has been assessing and implementing requests for installation of plexiglass barriers using an established process already in place. The installation of plexiglass or other physical barriers is primarily recommended for retail and food service environments. In some instances, they are approved for reception, intake and service areas where close face-to-face interactions are required. Not every request for a barrier will be granted. The installation of plexiglass barriers to increase cubicle heights or separate work areas is not being considered at this time. Departments are strongly encouraged to explore administrative, scheduling and process modifications to implement social distancing standards prior to seeking plexiglass installation.

However, to seek the installation of a plexiglass barrier, departments must request a Facility Study by Campus Planning, Design and Construction.

This question represents a good opportunity to illustrate the “think differently” imperative inherent in resuming campus life in the face of the COVID-19 health emergency. While it is true that the University will be installing plexiglass barriers in some high-traffic service centers across campus, doing so in faculty offices is not contemplated at this time. It is important, however, to understand why. Specifically, it is because—as a rule—faculty should be discouraged from meeting with students in confined spaces. Instead, faculty should consider holding office hours outside of their office—for example on the Shaw Quad or in a classroom or conference room (where 6 feet of distance can be maintained)—or by leveraging a technology solution like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to use videoconferencing instead of meeting in person whenever possible. That applies even when faculty and staff are working on campus. Faculty and staff have the discretion to attend meetings by videoconference, even if there are others who attend the meeting in person.

Virtual meetings (via videoconference) are strongly encouraged. If an in-person meeting is held, there must be at least 6 feet of distance between each participant and less than 50 percent occupancy for meeting rooms.

Implementation of alternative work areas and work arrangements may be necessary to comply with physical distancing requirements. Departments should work with their faculty and staff to evaluate the need for and availability of alternative work areas. Staff may continue to work in open cubicles. To the extent that social distancing may not be possible, face coverings should be worn. Faculty and staff may use open conference rooms. However, the surfaces should be wiped down with disinfectant both before and after the room is used. Faculty and staff should wear a face mask whenever they are in a public or common space.

All faculty and staff should routinely clean and disinfect their personal work areas at the start of their shift, by wiping down their phones, computers, desks, etc. Faculty and staff should also minimize the number of objects left atop their desks and work areas to reduce the number of exposed surfaces or touchpoints for the virus. Faculty and staff are encouraged to store items in desk drawers, credenzas, lockers, etc., to the extent possible. Using disinfectant wipes or cleaning solutions, faculty and staff should also wipe down shared equipment, such as copiers, fax machines, etc., before and after each use.

The sharing of other equipment, such as phones, should be avoided if possible.

At this time, there are no plans to limit restroom use or renovate existing restrooms outside of ongoing construction projects. As an added safety measure, individuals are encouraged to wear a mask while using a public or shared restroom on campus and always wash or sanitize their hands following restroom usage.


Work Arrangements FAQ

Updated 6/4: Yes. Once the determination was made that a staff member would resume working on campus, they were notified by their leadership as to their specific date of return.

Updated 6/4: It is understandable to be cautious about returning to work on campus. The University has taken a number of health and safety measures for the safety of the campus community’s return to campus, including creating a phased in approach, providing additional communications, and offering face masks and other personal protective equipment. If staff have additional concerns, they should discuss those concerns with their supervisor or contact HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042 or by email at hrservice@syr.edu. Staff are expected to return to campus for work when advised by their supervisor.

Updated 6/4: If a staff member has a medical condition or disability that could reasonably affect their ability to safely perform their duties on campus, they may request a reasonable accommodation through the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services and go through the interactive process. Based on the information obtained through that process, a determination will be made as to whether the staff member qualifies for a reasonable accommodation.

Updated 6/4: Not all positions are adaptable to flexible work arrangements. Some staff is unable to perform their functions if they are not working on campus, which means they will have to work on campus to be productive. Staff will be expected to report to work on campus as directed. Employees may also seek approval from their supervisors to use benefit time to take off additional time from work.

Updated 6/10: If a staff member has childcare issues that prevent them from being able to report to work on campus, supervisors should work with them to determine an appropriate remote or flexible work arrangement. If their role is one that cannot be performed remotely, the staff member should contact HR Shared Services at hrservice@syr.edu or 315.443.4042.  Alternatively, they may request to use benefit time to cover absence from work.

If a staff member has childcare issues that prevent them from being able to report to work on campus, supervisors should work with them to determine an appropriate remote or flexible work arrangement. If their role is one that cannot be performed remotely, the staff member should contact HR Shared Services at hrservice@syr.edu or 315.443.4042.  Alternatively, they may request to use benefit time to cover absence from work.

If staff members are taking care of a parent or spouse who is ill and are therefore unable to report to work on campus, they should contact HR to apply for Paid Family Leave (PFL) and Family Medical Leave (FMLA) to cover their absence from work. As in all cases of PFL and FMLA, the employee will be required to obtain the necessary medical documentation to support this leave and meet specific eligibility requirements. If the employee’s job can be done remotely, then the employee also has the option to speak with their supervisor to request a flexible work arrangement that will allow them to work remotely. However, they are not required to do so if they choose to use PFL and FMLA.

Other than the concern described above, a situation in which a faculty or staff member has an elderly parent or spouse living in the same home does not excuse them from reporting to work on campus as directed.

Updated 6/4: Staff has been assigned to return to work on campus during a particular phase based on an assessment of their work function. This includes whether it can be performed remotely and how the job fits into the overall operation of the department. If a staff member would like to return during a later phase, they may contact their supervisor to discuss what options are available. The supervisor will need to consult with the dean or senior vice president, who will notify Human Resources.

Updated 8/26: Staff should discuss continuing remote work with their supervisor. The response will depend on whether the job is able to be performed effectively remotely, and it will require approval from a dean or senior vice president. The revised Flexible Work Policy can be found here.


Cleaning Supplies and Procedures FAQ

Frequent cleaning and disinfecting are key in reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Facilities Services works diligently to clean and disinfect each building daily throughout the University and has increased the frequency of cleaning surfaces in high-traffic areas. To supplement their efforts, all faculty and staff can assist by routinely cleaning and disinfecting their personal work areas and commonly touched areas in their departments. Additional cleaning supplies are available for faculty and staff to use to clean personal and shared work areas. Please review the PPE and Cleaning Supply Request Guidelines for further information.

Updated 6/29: Conference rooms and other shared spaces are limited to 50 percent capacity to encourage distance between participants. Additionally, masks must always be worn in these spaces. All faculty and staff are required to wipe down shared areas, such as conference rooms, using disinfectant wipes and/or cleaners after each use. Additional cleaning supplies have been provided to departments for faculty and staff to use to clean personal and shared work areas. Please review the PPE and Cleaning Supply Request Guidelines for further information.

Updated 8/24: Department heads or their designee may request cleaning supplies for their departmental work areas by reviewing the PPE and Cleaning Supply Request Guidelines and then submitting EHSS’ Request for Cleaning Supplies form. Departments are asked to be considerate of supply limitations and plan for their immediate needs only at this time.


Travel FAQ

Yes. As of June 12, the University eased some COVID-19-related restrictions for travel deemed essential for an academic or business purpose. The existing prohibition on non-essential travel and travel to CDC Level-3 international destinations remains in place. We continue to encourage faculty and staff to cancel or postpone any planned or proposed non-essential travel. Until further notice, travel to attend professional or educational conferences is defined as non-essential. For the latest guidance, read Vice Chancellor J. Michael Haynie’s update from June 12.

Updated 8/31:  Yes. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the University encourages faculty and staff to cancel or postpone any planned or proposed non-essential travel to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19. All faculty, staff and students are required to abide by all conditions of the New York State (NYS) COVID-19 Travel Advisory (“guidance”), including the need to self-quarantine for 14 consecutive days if one travels to a “restricted state” with high rates of COVID-19 infections.

Pursuant to NYS law, faculty and staff who travel to a “restricted state” will not be permitted to utilize New York paid sick leave to cover the period of quarantine. If the individual’s job function would allow them to maintain their productivity while working remotely, they may be able to explore a flexible work arrangement for duration of the quarantine period.

Additionally, unless the NYS guidance contains an exemption that specifically applies, an individual returning to New York from a “restricted state” will need to serve the entire 14-day quarantine even if, following their return to New York, they test negative for COVID-19 prior to the end of the 14-day period.


Miscellaneous FAQ

Updated 7/23:  EHSS, Facilities Services and CPDC have been monitoring CDC and public health guidance to prepare campus buildings for occupancy during the COVID-19 health crisis. Specific to building ventilation, Facilities Services staff is visiting areas throughout campus to review building ventilation systems, perform preventative maintenance and verify that the systems are operating properly. Modifications to ventilation systems are being made where feasible following the most current local, state and federal COVID-19 health guidance for managing building ventilation. Each building on campus is unique and our ventilation experts are implementing the most viable strategies for managing the ventilation in each building. Departments can support these efforts by continuing to de-densify work areas, where possible, using alternative work areas, full or partial remote work arrangements, alternate day work arrangements or staggered shifts. Wearing a mask at all times on campus is also encouraged to help prevent airborne transmission of the virus.

All faculty and staff have a responsibility to ensure that health and safety guidance is followed on campus. If you encounter someone who appears not to be following the rules, it may be appropriate to mention the proper guidelines to the person. If you experience repeated instances of non-compliance, you should address it with your supervisor. Your supervisor will be able to address it with leadership in the school, college or unit.


Fall 2020 Open FAQ

View Fall 2020 Open FAQ