Dear Staff: Following the May Board of Trustees meeting, Kathy Walters, chair of the Board of Trustees, announced that the Board had approved a change to the University bylaws to appoint a staff member as representative to the Board. In…
Coronavirus Update: Expanded Services, New Resources and Reminders 3.28.20
Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:
These are difficult days. At the same time, these difficult days represent an opportunity to demonstrate to each other and the world what it means to be and identify as a member of the Syracuse University community. In recent weeks, past, present and future generations of the Orange family have done just that and more.
Our students have demonstrated incredible maturity, compassion, patience and flexibility in the face of a dramatically changed academic and collegiate experience. Our faculty have acted with purpose and in entrepreneurial ways to leverage their scholarly expertise to identify practical solutions for some of the most pressing issues facing our community while at the same time working to transition to online instruction and ensure our students are intellectually challenged. Our alumni continue to reach out to the University daily and ask only one question: “How can I help?” Even those who have yet to begin their Orange journey—those students [and their families] admitted to the Class of 2024—routinely compose and deliver messages of support and encouragement and empathy to our students, faculty and staff. This is what inspires us, and this is what motivates us. And all of this is what it means to be and identify as Syracuse Orange.
Today’s updates include:
For University Community
University Ombuds: In response to social distancing restrictions, the Office of the University Ombuds has successfully moved its services to remote delivery, via video or phone appointments. This move allows the office to accommodate all individuals associated with Syracuse University. Appointments may be made by emailing Ombuds@syr.edu or calling 315.443.1087. In the past, the University Ombuds Office has been focused on faculty, staff and graduate students. However, during this unsettling time, University Ombuds Neal Powless is making his office’s services available to all those associated with Syracuse University, including undergraduates, until we return to residential operations.
Commencement 2020: As a reminder, the Commencement 2020 survey is now live. Yesterday, Chancellor Syverud emailed all students scheduled to graduate in 2020 to solicit your input related to how Commencement 2020 should proceed. If you are a member of the 2020 graduating class and you have not yet completed the survey, I urge you to do so at your convenience. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday, April 3.
For Students and Families
Student Employment: On Thursday, Student Employment Services provided employers and student employees with further guidance related to student employment positions now that residential learning is suspended through the end of the semester. In an effort to continue providing students meaningful skill-building opportunities, as well as added income, employers are encouraged to provide their student employees with remote work where possible. We understand, though, that not all positions will have remote capabilities. As such, to support students during this time, including those who can no longer work in their student employment positions, the following guidance will be followed for student employment the remainder of the semester:
- Students who can work remotely are encouraged to do so and will be paid as usual, whether they hold Federal Work-Study (FWS) or non-FWS positions.
- Students with FWS awards and an active job who cannot work remotely will be paid based on normally scheduled hours, up to their full award, for the remainder of the semester through May 6.
- Students with non-FWS positions who cannot work remotely will be paid two weeks of wages, based on their scheduled weekly hours, to support them as they transition out of student employment.
A Request: The risk posed by the COVID-19 virus is serious and a threat to human life. Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that many individuals infected by the virus were exposed by asymptomatic spread; that is, they were exposed to the virus by someone who was infected themselves but who did not exhibit symptoms and was likely unaware of their own infection. For this reason, we’re asking families and students to engage in a conversation about our collective responsibility to stay at home, practice social distancing, and engage in other appropriate health practices that protect public health and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While this important conversation is relevant to every family, we are uniquely concerned about those Syracuse University students who have returned to Syracuse and are currently residing in off-campus housing. We say this because University leaders and local government officials continue to receive reports suggesting that Syracuse University students (residing in Syracuse) are gathering in groups off campus and demonstrating disregard for social distancing practices. To our students’ families: this behavior puts your child and our community at risk.
The suggestion that those aged 18 to 22 are somehow less impacted by the COVID-19 virus is false. Each day—in New York state and across the globe—healthy young people are hospitalized due to the virus. Some recover, but others do not. In addition, students residing in off-campus housing who choose not to abide by New York Health Department and Onondaga County Health Department directives—specifically to stay at home, practice social distancing and engage in other appropriate hygiene practices—may unknowingly transmit the virus to others in this community who are at high risk for severe complications stemming from COVID-19 infection. For those individuals and their families, the consequence of another’s disregard for social distancing could mean serious illness or even death.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed all New York residents to stay at home and not to gather in large groups. The City of Syracuse, Onondaga County and the Syracuse University Department of Public Safety will enforce that order until further notice. That said, we hope that the threat of enforcement isn’t what motivates our students to adhere to these public health directives. Instead, we hope it is something more noble. We hope each member of the Orange family acknowledges and acts on the responsibility to safeguard their own health and to ensure that your neighbors, friends—and those who are their neighbors and friends—remain safe, healthy and protected throughout this crisis
We urge all families—and especially the families of students who have remained in Syracuse—to discuss with your student our shared civic responsibility in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
Virtual Health and Wellness Resources: The Barnes Center at The Arch has implemented additional virtual resources and services to promote mindfulness, connection, healthy activity and involvement:
- Sanvello Mobile App—At this time, Sanvello has extended free premium stress, anxiety and depression management services to the global community.
- Esports Virtual Tournaments—Until Friday, May 8, the Barnes Center will host virtual esports tournaments. Including Fortnite, students have six different free tournament options.
- Virtual Drop-In Fitness Classes—The first in a series of virtual drop-in fitness classes is now available on the Wellness Portal. New videos will be introduced throughout the semester.
- Cuse Fit Chat—Through personalized free video meetings, Cuse Fit Chat connects students with Barnes Center personal trainers and resources to help meet wellness goals. To learn more and to sign up for a meeting, visit the Wellness Portal.
- Wellness Leadership Virtual Workshops—Starting Wednesday, April 1, pre-registration will be available in the Wellness Portal. With more than 18 options, individuals can attend a virtual workshop within each dimension of health and wellness to earn a graduation medallion, certificate and a Be Well sweatshirt. Drop-ins are welcome.
- Virtual SoulTalk Groups—Starting Thursday, April 2, and hosted each Thursday throughout April, students are invited to participate in the virtual SoulTalk series. SoulTalk each week has a new theme surrounding life’s big questions, such as purpose and connection. Drop-ins are welcome.
- Virtual Take Back The Night—Each year, Syracuse University recognizes and participates in Take Back The Night (TBTN), a global event dedicated to raising awareness about sexual, relationship and domestic violence, and other forms of interpersonal violence. This year’s TBTN rally will be hosted virtually on Blackboard on Wednesday, April 15. From ordering your t-shirt to the #IWillTBTN campaign, learn how to participate and support on the Virtual Take Back The Night Rally webpage and @BeWellSU.
Barnes Center Pharmacy: Starting Monday, March 30, in-person hours will be extended to Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone consultation is available by calling 315.443.5691, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; staff will be on-call during weekends.
Bookstore convenience and grocery deliveries: The Syracuse University Bookstore has moved its convenience and grocery offerings online. Students can shop for food staples, snacks and pantry items on the Bookstore’s website, and staff will provide free University-area contactless delivery every Tuesday and Thursday.
For Faculty and Staff
Extension of Tenure Clock in Response to COVID-19: In a message to tenure-track faculty yesterday, Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost John Liu announced, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a temporary policy that extends the tenure clock by one year for any current tenure-track faculty member whose tenure case is scheduled to be reviewed by their department, school/college and the University in the 2020-21 academic year or later. This new policy is intended to provide flexibility for any faculty member impacted by the current COVID-19 health crisis. To learn more about the temporary policy, please read Provost Liu’s full message.
Tracking COVID-19 Expenses: Yesterday, a message was distributed from Gwenn Judge, director of the Office of Budget and Planning, to deans, directors and department heads and University budget system users, asking all areas to track any expense being incurred due to COVID-19. A MyCode has been established for Universitywide use for COVID-19 expenses incurred directly for University mission/business purposes: 609722. These are non-standard expenses occurring to maintain continuity of our mission (e.g., support online instruction or relocation of students). An additional MyCode has been established for expenses pertaining to non-mission/business purposes or external community use (including donations): 600600. These are the costs associated with supporting the local community or orders from a government entity (e.g., the purchase of materials to make masks for local hospitals or use of University facilities for public quarantine or hospital purposes).
Please continue to stay safe and be well.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation