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 Update: New Resources, Domestic Spring Break Trips Canceled, Additional Travel Restrictions
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Syracuse University continues to closely monitor developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This is a rapidly evolving situation. As new information becomes available, we will act quickly to share that information to ensure our students, faculty and staff are equipped to make well-informed decisions.
The University’s preparedness and response planning is ongoing, and prioritizes student, faculty and staff wellness, public health and the integrity of our academic mission. To that end, I am writing to share new information related to campuswide education, prevention and preparation efforts—and new policy guidance that will take effect immediately:
- Education Efforts: Staying informed about travel restrictions, presumptive and confirmed cases and how to protect yourself are critical to containing the spread of coronavirus. As such, the University has launched a comprehensive awareness campaign to keep our campus community up-to-date on all coronavirus developments. This effort includes:
- edu/coronavirus: Over the weekend, we launched a web page to serve as the official source of all information regarding coronavirus. The page will provide links to resources and be used to keep the Syracuse University community informed. The page will be updated frequently, so please check in regularly.
- Campus signage: Around campus, you will notice signage (flyers, digital signage, door clings and mirror stickers) in various high-traffic locations, including residence halls, dining halls, academic buildings, recreational facilities and restrooms. Please know these materials are visible to serve as a reminder of best practices for staying healthy.
- Coronavirus Help Line: The University has opened a call center to assist campus community members, as well as parents, families and loved ones, in answering questions about coronavirus. You can get 24/7 help by calling 315.443.8472.
- Community Support: In the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, last week the S. Department of Education issued a letter to all institutions of higher education cautioning against bias, bullying, harassment and stereotyping directed at Chinese Americans, and more broadly, individuals of Asian descent. I urge all members of our community to extend care, compassion and support to each other, and particularly to individuals who may be targeted simply because of their ethnicity or country of origin. To report a bias incident, visit the STOP BIAS portal or the Department of Public Safety website.
- Domestic Spring Break Travel Programs Canceled: Many areas of the United States are now experiencing “community spread” of COVID-19. For this reason, out of an abundance of caution, the University has made the decision to cancel all University-sponsored student programs scheduled during spring break, planned for any location away from Syracuse, New York. We regret the impact this decision will have on the academic experience of our students, but the advice and counsel we have received from experts on our campus and beyond indicates that this decision is in the best interest our community. Any impacted student, or others with questions or concerns, should contact the relevant school or college program coordinator.
- International Travel for University Business Prohibited: Effective immediately, Syracuse University is prohibiting all University-sponsored international travel until further notice. This prohibition extends to all faculty, staff and students. We recognize that in some extenuating circumstances, canceling or postponing University-sponsored international travel may be highly problematic for some faculty. For that reason, faculty may pursue case-by-case appeals to the international travel prohibition to Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost John Liu directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Study abroad programs will also take their direction from the provost. Additionally, we continue to strongly discourage students, faculty and staff from personal travel to international destinations. For additional guidance, please contact Seth Tucker, director of global safety and support, at email@example.com or 315.443.1968.
- Prevention: As a reminder, the most important step that can be taken by our campus community is to remain focused on prevention. You can take the following steps to protect yourself and others:
- Stay home when you are sick. If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, do not attend class or report to work.
- 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.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Students exhibiting any of the coronavirus symptoms should call (not visit) 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 appreciate that we are sharing a lot of information. However, knowledge of how to take steps to prevent illness is the best way to safeguard our community. We will share new information and additional updates as the situation evolves.
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation