Ransomware attacks have been in the news lately, including an attack over the Fourth of July weekend that impacted up to 1,500 organizations. In this edition of “ITS In-Depth,” we speak with Syracuse University Chief Information Security Officer Chris Croad…
Coronavirus Update: Spring Break Reminders
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
As many of you leave campus this weekend, please know that Syracuse University will continue to vigilantly monitor the COVID-19 situation and act with purpose to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff.
Many of you are undoubtedly disappointed that highly anticipated events, activities, research trips, competitions and other once-in-a-lifetime opportunities have been canceled or postponed. We share your disappointment. We profoundly regret the unprecedented disruption, stress and uncertainty that the COVID-19 health emergency has created for so many in our community. We must, however, collectively remain focused on safeguarding the health, wellness and safety of our campus community and Central New York. The well-being of every member of our community is the University’s top priority.
We have communicated a lot of important information with you this week and will continue to do so in the days and weeks ahead. As we begin spring break and the transition to online learning and teaching, we would like to share some new information and reinforce guidance communicated earlier this week.
Spring Break Reminders: As we emphasized in prior messages, it is critically important that you plan accordingly if you are leaving University housing—either for home or other destinations—during spring break:
- Students vacating University housing during spring break will not be permitted to return to University housing until at least March 30. This means you should bring whatever items you need to continue your academic work remotely, including laptops/devices, textbooks, notebooks and other critically important school materials. Additionally, you should take home with you your personal belongings, including medical supplies and prescriptions, valuables, clothing and other items you may need to be away from campus for an extended period of time.
- We know some students are not able to leave campus during spring break. As such, these students will be remaining in their on campus housing. As a reminder, some dining centers, libraries and residence hall fitness centers will remain open. On-campus activities will be limited in alignment with social distancing guidance issued by New York State. If you are a student who must remain on campus and in University housing over spring break, you must register your intentions with the Office of Student Living.
- Faculty or staff who travel outside of the Central New York region (including Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties) for personal or professional reasons should exercise caution and adhere to the guidance of public health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York State Department of Health and the Onondaga County Health Department. The University advises faculty and staff who plan to travel outside the Central New York region in the coming weeks to be aware of and adhere to the guidelines regarding potential exposure to COVID-19 and reasons to self-isolate away from campus. These guidelines were outlined by Andy Gordon, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, yesterday.
Faculty/Staff Accommodations: A team in the Office of Human Resources has been working on practice and policy guidelines to address the impact that COVID-19 may have on daily operations and any special staff accommodations. In his message to all faculty and staff yesterday, Senior Vice President Gordon identified a set of frequently asked questions and provided information in several areas, including working remotely, staff travel and leave time. More details are in his message and on the Human Resources website. Contact your HR business partner or the labor relations team for more specific questions.
Teaching and Working Online: As a reminder, the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE), Information Technology Services (ITS) and the Center for Online and Digital Learning (CODL) have developed an Academic Continuity Toolkit. The toolkit provides concise information on how to activate and populate Blackboard course section with essential content, options for meeting course objectives with alternative instruction, tips for ensuring academic integrity online, information about research-based online teaching methods, and technical support resources, including creating a virtual classroom. ITS, CODL, CTLE, OSS and school/college IT departments also will continue to provide group and individual training sessions on Blackboard and Collaborate. These sessions and support will continue until determined no longer necessary.
Learning Virtually: As students prepare to access coursework online, a Toolkit of Resources is available to assist you. The toolkit provides concise information on success in the online environment, asynchronous and synchronous coursework, technology tips, frequently asked questions and more. Be sure to note the information on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, the web conferencing platform within Blackboard. The IT Service Center, your advisor and the Office of Online Student Success are here to assist you.
Admissions Events and Activities: Out of an abundance of caution, given the large number of visitors we welcome to campus each spring, all spring recruitment and admitted student events have been canceled through May 1. This includes off-campus admission and recruiting activities. The Office of Admissions, in partnership with the recruitment staff in the schools and colleges, will be working to provide more virtual events and digital engagement options for prospective and admitted students and families. Questions may be directed to Peter Hagan, director of admissions, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University Travel Reimbursement: Yesterday, Comptroller Jean Gallipeau provided some direction in a Universitywide email regarding the reimbursement of travel expenses that faculty, staff and students incur for University business. Her message offers guidance on how to seek refunds for conference and travel expenses for canceled events and information on canceling flights, along with other helpful information. If you have further business travel expense reimbursement questions, contact Disbursements Processing at 315.443.2484 or email@example.com.
This is a dynamic situation. We continue to update Syracuse.edu/coronavirus regularly. Whether you remain in Central New York or travel elsewhere during spring break, I urge you to visit the site often. In addition, please check for and review any email communications we share related to COVID-19 planning and preparedness.
I appreciate the seriousness and care with which our community is addressing this public health crisis. Many of your fellow community members will continue to work hard on these issues in the coming days to ensure we are taking all necessary action to protect our community, while also maintaining the continuity and integrity of Syracuse University’s academic mission.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation