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…
Coronavirus Preparedness, Coordination and Planning Continues
Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:
As I shared yesterday, Syracuse University has been working closely with health authorities—including the Onondaga County Health Department, New York State officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—to prepare for a potential coronavirus outbreak in Central New York.
Today, we convened a group of area partner institutions to coordinate prevention, communications and outreach, and response planning with the goal of keeping all of our institutions healthy and safe. I am pleased and grateful for our collaboration and coordination with SUNY-ESF, Upstate Medical University, Le Moyne College, SUNY Oswego, Crouse Hospital and the Onondaga County Health Department. I also want to thank the Syracuse University faculty and staff who have volunteered to lend their academic and professional expertise to this effort. This coalition of local institutions will be crucial as we concentrate our efforts on prevention, and particularly if we need to manage an infection in the CNY area.
At this moment, the most important step that can be taken by our campus community and our coalition is to remain focused on prevention. We are working on additional outreach to the Syracuse University community on steps you can take to protect yourself and others.
Students, if you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, do not attend class. We are collaborating with the deans and faculty on guidelines for accommodating students who are ill. Sick faculty and staff should not come to campus either. We urge you to work with your dean, department head or supervisor to coordinate coverage of your responsibilities.
The CDC recommends employing the following health practices to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including the coronavirus.
Students exhibiting any of the coronavirus symptoms should call the Barnes Center at the Arch at 315.443.8000 and then follow the instructions health professionals there give you. Faculty and staff should contact their primary care physician immediately.
I also want to update you on the suspension of our study abroad program in Florence, Italy. Approximately half of our students are either already out of the country or on their way at this writing. The remaining students will return to the U.S. this weekend, and a few have elected to remain in Europe. I appreciate our deans, our school directors and department chairs, our staff at Syracuse Abroad and our faculty—both here and in Florence—for the exceptional effort they have made to help our students get home and finish their semester in a timely and meaningful way. As a reminder, many will return to campus to finish out their coursework after spring break, well past the CDC’s advised 14-day incubation period.
Also, as we announced yesterday, the University has issued temporary travel restrictions to a number of affected areas, including China and South Korea. Out of an abundance of caution, anyone who has traveled to affected areas will not be able to return to any University building or facility for a period of 14 days to allow for self-monitoring for any coronavirus symptoms. For students, please call the Barnes Center at The Arch at 315.443.8000 to coordinate with health and student support professionals. This restriction applies to students returning from Florence, who will return to campus after spring break.
You will be hearing more in the coming days as we ensure that we are prepared to move quickly to ensure the health and safety of our campus and community.