|Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) | Safety Protocols
Office Space | Work Arrangements | Cleaning Supplies and Procedures
Travel | Miscellaneous
Personal Protective Equipment FAQs
In compliance with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order, Syracuse University requires face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus and in the presence of others and in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Will faculty and staff be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) before returning to campus?
Faculty and staff will be 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.
Will the masks provided by the University be disposable or reusable? If reusable, will faculty and staff be expected to clean the masks or will laundry services be provided?
Faculty and staff will be provided with cloth face masks. Most will be 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.
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). However, face masks or cloth face coverings are required when you are working on campus and aren’t able to adequately socially distance (at least 6 feet of space between you and another individual).
Should faculty and staff wear a mask when entering another person’s work area or when working in a shared work area or using shared equipment even if no one else is in the area?
Yes. Syracuse University requires face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus and in the presence of others and in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. If you are unsure about whom you might encounter and how close you will be to another individual as you work and move about campus, wear a mask.
Do I need to wear a mask in my open office space / cubicle / laboratory / kitchen area / while using the restroom / while working outside on campus grounds, etc.?
Syracuse University requires face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus and in the presence of others and in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. While we cannot address every individual scenario for wearing vs. not wearing a mask while on campus, we implore every member of our community to act with the safety of all in mind. If you are unsure about whom you might encounter and how close you will be to another individual as you work and move about campus, wear a mask.
Yes. Any individual accessing our campus—including visitors and contractors—is required to wear a mask or face covering while in the presence of others and in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. In addition, the University plans to limit campus visitors during the summer and fall semester.
Who is responsible for ensuring students, faculty and staff follow the University’s policy related to wearing masks or face coverings?
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.
Based on New York State Department of Health guidance, acceptable face coverings to protect against COVID-19 include, but are not limited, to cloth-based face coverings (i.e., homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), surgical masks and face shields that cover both the mouth and nose.
Safety Protocols FAQs
How will the University ensure that social distancing guidelines are followed in residential and high-traffic areas of campus, such as main lobbies of academic buildings, dining centers and snack bars, Bird Library, the Barnes Center at The Arch and the Schine Student Center when it reopens?
The University has 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, directional limitations and other considerations to help maintain and encourage social distancing are underway and will continue to be implemented throughout campus.
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.
Will social distancing be achieved through staggering or rotating shifts, limiting in-person meetings, increasing physical space between workspaces and/or telecommuting?
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 FAQs
If the desks of two individuals are connected, but there is a wall separating the individuals who sit at the desks, will there still need to be a 6-foot distance between the two individuals? Or would the wall between them satisfy social distancing requirements? Does it matter how high the wall is?
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.
I work in an open office environment with cubicles that are less than 6 feet apart. Will plexiglass be installed to increase the height of the barrier between my cube and adjacent cubes?
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 will assess and implement 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 may be 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.
Will faculty and staff have the discretion to attend meetings on campus via Zoom to limit exposure to others? Does that also apply for in office meetings?
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 will have the discretion to attend meetings by videoconference, even if there are others who attend the meeting in person.
What will be the acceptable number of people per meeting in different size rooms? How will that information be provided?
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. Occupancy numbers will be located in a central location in each building.
Implementation of alternative work areas and work arrangements may be necessary to comply with physical distancing requirements. Departments will need to 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.
What else can be done to help maintain the safety of work areas and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19? What are the protocols for using shared equipment (such as copiers, tools, etc.)?
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.
Training will be provided to returning faculty and staff on safety and sanitation protocols to ensure the safety and health of our campus community following a full resumption of campus operations.
Will any modifications be made to restrooms on campus to limit use to one individual at a time, convert restrooms to single-use or otherwise increase the ability to remain 6 feet apart while using the restroom?
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 FAQs
Updated 6/4: Once the determination has been made that a staff member will return to working on campus, they will be 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff are expected to return to campus for work when advised by their supervisor.
Updated 6/4: If staff members have 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.
My supervisor won’t agree to a remote/flexible work arrangement, but I don’t feel safe returning to campus. What should I do?
Updated 6/4: Not all positions are adaptable to flexible work arrangements. Some staff will be unable to perform their functions if they are not working on campus, which means they will have to work on campus to be productive. Once it has been deemed safe to return to working on campus, staff will be expected to report to work 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 email@example.com or 315.443.4042. Alternatively, they may request to use benefit time to cover absence from work.
I cannot return because the schools are closed and I need to take care of my children. What can I do?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 315.443.4042. Alternatively, they may request to use benefit time to cover absence from work.
What if I am taking care of a parent or spouse because they are ill and am unable to report to work on campus because of this?
If staff members are taking care of a parent or spouse who is ill and is 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.
What if I want to return to working on campus during a phase later than the one assigned by my leader or supervisor?
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 6/4: Staff should discuss continuing to work remotely 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.
Cleaning Supplies and Procedures FAQs
Frequent cleaning and disinfecting are key in reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Facilities Services is working 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 will need to assist by routinely cleaning and disinfecting their personal work areas and commonly touched areas in their departments. Additional cleaning supplies will be provided to the department 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.
Will there be additional social distancing and/or sanitation requirements for faculty and staff using conference rooms and other shared spaces?
Updated 6/29: Conference rooms and other shared spaces should be limited to 50 percent capacity to encourage distance between participants. Additionally, masks should always be worn in these spaces. All faculty and staff will be required to wipe down shared areas, such as conference rooms, using disinfectant wipes and/or cleaners after each use. Additional cleaning supplies will be provided to the department 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.
Department heads or their designee may request cleaning supplies for their departmental work areas by completing and submitting EHSS’ Request for Cleaning Supplies form. Available supplies are limited, so please request only what is needed for Phase One and Two reopening at this time. Please review the PPE and Cleaning Supply Request Guidelines for further information about how to request supplies beyond your immediate Phase One and Two reopening needs.
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.
Does the University place any restrictions on, or provide guidance for, employees who travel or plan to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the University continues to encourage faculty and staff to cancel or postpone any planned or proposed non-essential travel to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19. However, If faculty or staff travel outside of the Central New York region, they may be required to submit to a COVID-19 test, and provide proof of having tested negative, prior to being allowed to return to work. Alternatively, if the individual’s job function would allow them to maintain their productivity while working remotely, they may self-isolate for 14 days immediately following return from travel, and explore a flexible work arrangement for the period of isolation. If the individual does not submit to a COVID-19 test (and test negative) immediately following return from their travel, and instead chooses to self-isolate for 14 days, if their position is such that they are unable to work remotely, the individual will be required to use benefit time to cover their absence.
Based on current CDC guidance, the transmission of the COVID-19 virus through a ventilation system is not a main source of transmission. The University is following the most current guidance from local, state and federal health officials for managing building HVAC systems on campus during the COVID-19 health crisis.
How can faculty and staff raise issues of concern as it relates to PPE and social distancing on campus?
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.