Dear Students and Families: Congratulations—we crossed the threshold of the midway point of the fall semester earlier this week! I hope you’ll take time this weekend to recharge your batteries, connect with friends and burn off some stress. The activities…
Additional Guidance on COVID-19 Planning and Response
Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:
Yesterday, Syracuse University announced that at the end of the academic day on Friday, March 13, we will suspend residential academic instruction until at least March 30 and transition to a distance-based approach to academic coursework. Understandably, many in our community have questions and practical concerns associated with this transition.
To that end, faculty, staff and administrators from across the University are working hard to plan for and implement the many actions and activities required to support our community through this transition. It would be disingenuous at this time to suggest that we currently have complete answers to all the questions and concerns that have been raised by members of our community over the past 24 hours. That said, you should expect regular and ongoing communications from me and other University leaders throughout this period, addressing COVID-19-related questions and concerns.
Today, we want to respond to some of the most common questions posed by students and parents over the last 24 hours:
What should students do if they can’t or were not planning to travel or return home for spring break?
Any student who needs to remain on campus can stay in their residence hall as planned. Dining centers, libraries, and health and wellness centers will remain open. Any changes to operating hours or reduced services will be communicated.
If students who live in University housing leave for spring break, can they come back whenever they want?
No. The University has made the decision to shift to distance-based instruction through at least March 30. Students who vacate on-campus housing for spring break destinations away from Syracuse will not be able to return to on-campus housing, academic buildings, libraries, health and wellness facilities or other campus spaces until at least March 30. This is to prevent potential transmission of the coronavirus by individuals who may have been exposed while traveling or at home.
If international students go home for spring break, what happens if their home countries prohibit return travel?
International students can request accommodations to continue their academic work for the semester online until they are able to return to the United States. Questions about coursework should be directed to the student’s faculty members or their school or college academic advising office. International students who have questions about their visa status or international travel may contact the Center for International Services at 315.443.2457.
What if a student wants to finish the semester online and move out this weekend?
We understand each student and their family must make the best decision for their personal and family circumstances. We are currently working to formulate a process for students who choose not to come back to campus to request an accommodation to complete spring semester academic work remotely. We will have more to share related to this potential accommodation in the days to come.
Can parents and families enter residence halls this weekend to move out their children or pack up things for them to take home?
Does the suspension of in-person classes also apply to centers in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.?
Like main campus, the Syracuse University centers in New York and Washington will suspend in-person instruction at the end of the day on Friday, March 13. After spring break, classes will resume online until at least March 30. The decision to re-open centers, as with the main campus, will be made based on local conditions, the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with the safety of our faculty, staff and students in mind. On March 23, the Syracuse University Center in Los Angeles will move to online instruction through the end of the semester.
Is March 30 a firm date for returning to campus? When will you know if you’re suspending classes for the remainder of the semester?
We plan to use the next two weeks to continue monitoring and assessing the latest data and information about the spread of the virus in conjunction with New York State and Onondaga County health authorities. We will continue to communicate with our campus regularly whenever new decisions are made. At this time, based on current information, we plan to maintain online coursework until at least March 30.
Will staff be allowed to work remotely while in-person instruction is suspended?
The Office of Human Resources is currently working to finalize guidance for appropriate work-from-home and other policy accommodations for staff. We will provide this information before the start of spring break.
In addition to these questions, I want to provide some critically important contact information:
- For questions about disability-related accommodations, visit syr.edu or contact the Office of Disability Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315.443.4498.
- For students who require academic accommodations, please contact academic advising in your school or college.
- For students who need technical or technological support to continue their academic coursework remotely, contact the ITS Service Center at 315.443.2677.
- Faculty who have questions about transitioning in-person instruction to online teaching, contact your school/college IT department to coordinate support and training with Information Technology Services and other units.
- For students who plan to stay on campus during spring break, we ask that you please notify the Office of Student Living.
- International students with questions or concerns should contact the Center for International Services at 315.443.2427.
- Students, faculty and staff with questions specific to your school, college or academic department, contact your dean’s office directly.
- A separate communication from the Graduate School will be sent later today to graduate students about dissertation defenses, teaching assignments, academic continuity and other pertinent topics. Graduate School-specific questions should be directed to Associate Dean Gabby Chapman (email@example.com).
As a reminder, we will continue to update Syracuse.edu/coronavirus regularly. I urge you to visit that site regularly, where you will find links to resources, updates from the University and answers to frequently asked questions.
I am grateful for your understanding and collaboration as we continue to respond to this global public health emergency.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation