Dear Colleagues: Let me start this “syllabus reminders” email with a thank you. What a year 2020 has been, and we are barely halfway through it. You migrated your classes online last spring with little advance notice. Those of you…
Coronavirus Updates and Guidance 3.21.20
Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:
I’m writing this message from the lobby of Day Hall. Today, I and other Syracuse University administrators, faculty and staff are positioned at residence halls across campus, to extend a temporary goodbye to students packing up their rooms and heading away from campus. Even given the necessary distance between us—as we all rightfully adhere to appropriate social distancing protocols—it’s clear from the somber expressions on the faces of both our students and staff, that nobody expected the residential semester to end in this way. At the same time, also on display are some of the attributes that have long defined the Syracuse University community—compassion, grit, empathy and optimism.
The University continues to receive and review new information and guidance from local, state and federal officials related to COVID-19 response and preparedness. Over the past few days, the flow of information from New York State and local public health officials has transitioned from daily briefings, to almost hourly updates. Be assured that we remain committed to timely and clear communication that informs our community of new actions and policies implemented by the University, and resources and services available to support our students, faculty, staff and community.
Today’s update is as follows:
For the University Community
United Way Support Opportunities: COVID-19 has created an unprecedented time of need in our local Central New York community. I have heard from many of you asking how you can support our community despite the social distancing requirements. There are many opportunities to give back, including Syracuse University’s annual United Way of Central New York campaign. Donations can be made at any time on MySlice. Given the current immediate need, United Way of Central New York has partnered with local organizations and governments to create a COVID-19 Community Support Fund, which is designed to rapidly deploy flexible resources to nonprofits whose operations support vulnerable populations stressed by the outbreak. Donations can be made online at www.cnycf.org/covid19. United Way of Central New York is also registering volunteers and coordinating opportunities via its initiative VolunteerCNY.
For Students and Families
Remote Student Services and Activities: The Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience (ESE) will be offering services online and over-the-phone during the remainder of the semester. This virtual resources page will be updated regularly with information on how to contact offices and what services are available. Additionally, departments will be scheduling virtual activities and programs to offer students opportunities to engage online. These offerings will also be highlighted on the ESE virtual resources page.
Student Move Out: Tomorrow, Sunday, March 22, at 9 p.m. marks the end of the scheduled move-out process for students planning to remove belongings from residence halls. For those who are not able, for any reason, to remove belongings from residence halls this weekend (and who do not desire to take advantage of the University’s offer to either ship or store your belongings), do not worry. The University will continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and, when appropriate given public health precautions, we will identify additional move-out opportunities into late spring and summer.
Students Living or Returning to Off-Campus Housing: We understand some students may still be living in or planning to return to off-campus housing (local homes or apartments not owned, operated or controlled by Syracuse University) during the period that residential instruction is suspended. To those students, we encourage you to take very seriously your obligations to the Central New York community. Adhere to social distancing guidelines and hygiene protocols, and abide by local, state and federal public health laws and directives. This includes directives related to public gatherings. Whether on or off campus, students should be aware that they remain accountable to the community standards outlined in the Syracuse University Code of Student Conduct. Students who knowingly violate public health directives could face disciplinary action. If you choose to remain in or return to off-campus housing, we expect you to support efforts to promote the health and safety of this community. Please, take very seriously your obligation to safeguard public health and the health of others.
Supplies and Groceries Available on Campus: The on-campus convenience stores (West Campus Express and South Campus Express) are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day and have groceries and other necessities. Food Services is working hard to keep the stores stocked with essential items like produce, frozen dinner items, dry goods and personal hygiene items. We are currently reviewing and establishing hours for the week of March 23; the hours will be posted on the Food Services website later this weekend.
Barnes Center Pharmacy: The Barnes Center at The Arch Pharmacy has transitioned to limited in-person hours. The pharmacy’s physical location in the Barnes Center will be open from Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The pharmacy remains available via phone Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 315.443.5691.
For Faculty and Staff
Faculty Resources and Support: In a message to all faculty yesterday, Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost John Liu reminded faculty about current and new resources and services, specifically related to teaching and learning; technology and accessibility; and health and wellness. Provost Liu also acknowledged that the academic affairs team is currently reviewing issues raised by faculty, such as the tenure clock, final exams and grading, whether course evaluations from this semester should be considered in promotion and tenure evaluations, how to give faculty credit for conference presentations when so many have been cancelled, research interruptions, publication delays and other impacts to scholarly activity. Provost Liu will be providing an update on these issues in the coming days but assured faculty they are under review and will be addressed. To read his full message, visit Syracuse.edu/coronavirus.
Alternatives to Web Conferencing: With the heightened emphasis on Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate, it is important to consider the desired outcome for a given lesson and whether a live web conference is necessary to achieve it. Web conferencing can pose challenges such as coordinating students in different time zones, bandwidth issues and more. When possible, consider using tools such as pre-recorded 15-minute audio lectures, discussion boards and group forums. For more ideas, read our own iSchool’s helpful matrix of online interaction methods (both asynchronous and synchronous).
Research Activity: We understand that many faculty members have urgent questions as to the impact of COVID-19 on travel, gathering and other restrictions related to ongoing and planned research. Very shortly, faculty will receive a communication from Provost Liu and Interim Vice President for Research Ramesh Raina that will address many of these questions and concerns.
Please continue to be well and take care of yourself and your loved ones. The safety, health and well-being of all members of our community remains our top priority.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation