Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families: The start of the spring semester is quickly approaching, and many in our community are working diligently to prepare for the return of our students and to safely resume in-person teaching and learning. We…
Coronavirus Update 3.31.20: Community Assistance Portal and Student, Faculty and Staff Resources
Dear Members of the Orange Community:
Tomorrow we begin the final full month of the 2019-20 academic year. April is a month that traditionally goes by in the blink of an eye—occupied by end-of-year events, award ceremonies, a push to complete final projects, and efforts to secure jobs and internships. April is also the month that our grounds and facilities team accelerates its efforts to reveal the springtime beauty of the Syracuse University campus.
It’s true that April 2020 will be experienced differently than previously planned by many in our community. However, that does not mean that our collective efforts to engage and connect our students, faculty and staff—and to celebrate their many achievements—won’t endure in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. As highlighted in this update, we’re working to engage the entrepreneurial spirit that has long defined our Orange family, to create new traditions and to enact innovative ways to build community and bridge the physical distance between us. Thanks to so many of you who have stepped up in this effort.
Now to today’s updates.
For University Community
Community Assistance Portal: Syracuse University is committed to support the Central New York community as it responds to the COVID-19 health emergency. Faculty, staff and students are looking for ways to get involved and often are also being asked by others how the University can help. To that end, we have formalized a process to receive, prioritize and coordinate COVID-19 community assistance initiatives across the University. If you have an idea or would like to offer assistance to the community—or if you have been approached by a community member, organization or a governmental entity for assistance—please let us know by completing this newly created form. In response, a member of the Community Engagement team will follow up with you directly to discuss your idea, offer or request.
Coming Together: If you haven’t already, please check out the University’s first “Orange Moments.” It’s a new weekly short video series featuring user-generated positive moments from the Orange community. You can see future “Orange Moments” on the University’s main Facebook and Twitter accounts. And visit the University home page, the Syracuse Stories page and the Syracuse University News website to see the latest stories about faculty, students and staff creating positive impact at the University and beyond.
Preventing “Zoombombing:” While ITS recommends Blackboard Collaborate as the primary platform for synchronous classes and meetings, there also might be times when you use Zoom. Since there has been a large increase in Zoom meetings, internet trolls have been “Zoombombing” public meetings by sharing their screen and playing disturbing content. In an effort to combat this, Zoom has posted tips for preventing “Zoombombing.”
Transportation Services: Due to decreased ridership, Parking and Transit Services, along with Centro, has determined to reduce services. The following transportation services are now being offered:
- Centro SU344, running between College Place and South Campus, will be the only on-campus Centro service available; other off-campus Centro services are still available.
- Free trolley shuttle service to Tops and Walgreens for students remaining on-campus will run daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the last trip from Tops and Walgreens at 7:24 p.m.
- Former Orange and Blue Trolley loops have transitioned to an on-demand service. For on-campus transportation requests, please call 315.706.5060. This service will be available weekdays from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
- Free shuttle service to the Regional Transportation Center and airport is available by calling 315.706.5060 at least one hour prior to the desired pick-up time.
- For all the latest shuttle information, visit syracuse.edu/about/campus-shuttle/.
Hendricks Chapel: The chaplains and staff of Hendricks Chapel are available to provide religious and spiritual care and support for the campus community. For a list of services and programs being offered online by Chaplaincies, Religious Life Groups and the Office of the Dean, please visit the Hendricks Chapel online resources page or contact Alex Snow at email@example.com. The weekly Sunday evening “Music and Message” series, featuring student performers and remarks from Dean Brian Konkol, will return on April 5. Those seeking to access the Hendricks Chapel Food Pantry may contact Syeisha Byrd at 315.706.4526 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For general information or questions, please contact email@example.com or 315.443.2901.
For Students and Families
Pass/Fail Deadline Friday, April 3: As a reminder, for the Spring 2020 semester only, undergraduate students are permitted to choose the pass/fail grading option for any courses in which they are registered, with the exception of University College online courses. The deadline for students to complete this action is Friday, April 3. To convert to the pass/fail grading option in any of your classes, please notify your academic advisor by email. Your advisor will work with the staff in your school or college, and the Office of the Registrar, to make the changes. For more information, please read Associate Provost Johnson’s full message.
Housing and Meal Plan Refunds and Credits: As a reminder, Syracuse University will provide a prorated reimbursement of room and board payments to students who have left campus. The form to request refunds or credits went live on Friday, March 27, on the MySlice housing portal. We encourage students and families to continue to check the University’s refund webpage, as it is updated regularly with additional information and frequently asked questions.
Financial Literacy Resources: The Office of Financial Literacy is offering virtual appointments with Smart Money Coaches, providing students with assistance related to understanding their current financial situation; helping to set goals; and discussing topics like credit cards and scores, banking, investment basics, and paychecks and taxes. To make an appointment, email the Office of Financial Literacy. The office has also compiled a list of emergency resources for students seeking support related to food and personal care items, payment options for student loans or credits cards, utilities and other expenses.
Food and Groceries: As students continue to move from their North Campus residence halls to South Campus apartments, dining facilities will shift to meet demand. As all West Campus residence halls (BBB, Sadler and Lawrinson) are now closed, Sadler Dining Center is also closed. Shaw Dining Center and the Goldstein Food Court on South Campus remain open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Food Services website. Both the South Campus Express and West Campus Express convenience stores remain open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students can also place an online grocery order from the Bookstore’s market and receive free on-campus delivery.
South Campus Food Pantry: The South Campus Food Pantry at the Carriage House, located at 161 Farm Acre Road, next to the Skybarn, will be open on Tuesdays from noon to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m. to provide food and personal care items at no cost for students continuing to remain on or near campus through the remainder of the semester. In alignment with good health practices, students will be provided one bag at the pantry (please do not bring your own), and the pantry will be open to one user at a time. Parking is available outside the Carriage House or visit the Campus Shuttle schedule for other transportation options. Questions about the pantry may be directed to Syeisha Byrd.
Free eBook Access: The Syracuse University Bookstore and its eBook partner, RedShelf, are teaming up to provide free eBook access to students.
For Faculty and Staff
Faculty/Staff Notification of COVID-19 Diagnosis: For reasons of prevention and public health, if you—or a faculty or staff member reporting to you (with their approval)—test positive for COVID-19, we ask that you please notify HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042. Such a notification will allow us to coordinate more expeditiously with the local public health authority (e.g. Onondaga County Health Department) and identify/notify other individuals who may have been exposed given the positive test of a co-worker. Any faculty or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 should consult a physician related to the decision to return to work and provide evidence of that consultation (in the form of a physician’s note, etc.) to HR before resuming their duties.
Carebridge Resources: We hope you’ll take advantage of our Faculty and Staff Assistance Program. Not only does Carebridge offer up to six free counseling sessions to benefits-eligible employees, but they have now made them easier to access with phone and video sessions. Eligible employees can call Carebridge at 800.437.0911 to use this benefit. Visit Carebridge offerings related to COVID-19 to explore services that may be relevant to you. And we encourage you to sign up for a new webinar: “Coronavirus and Your Finances” is this Friday, April 3, at noon. Experts will offer ideas on how to assess your situation, stretch every dollar and rebuild moving forward.
Upcoming Wellness Opportunities: At a time when we are forced to be alone with ourselves or loved ones, and social distance from friends and family, it’s especially important to stay aware of and connected to our Faculty and Staff Wellness Initiative. Reach out to learn what you can do during these challenging times to best take care of your physical and emotional well-being by visiting wellness.syr.edu and subscribing to the mailing list. Many April programs are shifting to virtual offerings, including the next THRIVE! session on happiness and relationships April 28 or 30.
Virtual Professional Development: Being cooped up can be a time to focus on your personal and career development. Why not spend the time enhancing or developing new business, technology-related and creative skills through expert-led course videos using LinkedIn Learning. Choose from more than 4,000 on-demand courses as diverse as communication, customer service, management, personal development, time management and mindfulness. Stay engaged, productive and looking toward the future. Visit linkedinlearning.syr.edu and log in using your NetID and password. The Office of Human Resources website has all the information you need to get started.
Please continue to visit Syracuse.edu/coronavirus for the latest updates and do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions, concerns or issues you’d like to see addressed in these updates.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation