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 4.4.20: Support, Guidance, Resources and Services
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Over the past month our community has experienced unprecedented uncertainty. As Syracuse University confronts the rapidly evolving COVID-19 health emergency, our decisions and actions are informed daily by new information, policy guidance and public health research—some of which is ongoing right here at Syracuse University.
Given the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 health emergency, by necessity it’s often the case that the decisions and actions we take—in response to new information and local, state and federal policy guidance—must be contemplated and implemented decisively and expeditiously. One consequence of that decision-making reality is to sometimes compound the uncertainty and anxiety many of you are experiencing. This is understandable. It is also, however, why we will remain committed to frequent and authentic communications related to the University’s efforts to safeguard the health and safety of our community, and also concerning those actions we take to ensure the continuity of our academic mission throughout the COVID-19 health emergency. In this time when certainty is in short supply, please know that we will continue to communicate regularly and often.
With that in mind, today’s updates include:
For University Community
Campus/Building Access: Social distancing is perhaps our best tool in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Many of us are frustrated by the professional and social isolation stemming from the fact that we can’t visit places and see people as we had in the past. I appreciate this situation and acknowledge that it will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future. That said, I want to remind everyone of the social distancing expectations on our campus. At this time, only individuals who have been deemed essential personnel should be accessing buildings and facilities on our campus. Additionally, access to laboratories is limited to those engaging in essential research activity, including the maintenance of live animals and plants, microbes, cell lines and essential equipment and materials, along with any research related to COVID-19. To learn more about the research guidance and restrictions, please visit the COVID-19 Guidance for Researchers page.
South Campus Food Pantry Open and Accepting Support: The South Campus Food Pantry at the Carriage House remains accessible to all students. If you would like to join in supporting the pantry, visit givetosu.syr.edu/FoodPantry to contribute financial support. You can also send food directly by visiting the pantry’s Amazon wish list. Your purchased items will be shipped directly to South Campus. You can also drop off non-perishable and perishable items and toiletries at the pantry. To arrange dropoffs, contact Syeisha Byrd at 315.706.4526 or email@example.com.
Hendricks Chapel: Hendricks Chapel chaplains and staff continue to provide religious and spiritual care and support. For a list of services and programs being offered online by chaplaincies, including new information on Passover, Ramadan and Holy Week, please visit the Hendricks Chapel online resources page or contact Alex Snow at firstname.lastname@example.org. As a reminder, “Music and Message,” featuring student performers and spoken reflections, will be streamed online at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 5. For general information or questions, please contact email@example.com or 315.443.2901.
Mental Health Resources: In the second of a series of three special “ADA Live!” podcasts, Debbie Plotnick of Mental Health America (MHA) discusses resources available for people who may feel isolated, medical professionals and caregivers. She also talks about policy initiatives championed by MHA. The episode will be available Wednesday, April 8, at 1 p.m. on SoundCloud ADA Live! and on the ADA Live! website. An interactive transcript and text version are also provided. “ADA Live!” is a free online program of the Southeast ADA Center, a project of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University.
Resources for Working Remotely: As Syracuse University students, faculty and staff adjust to the online environment, we want to remind you of the Working & Teaching Remotely and Academic Continuity Resources pages on Answers. These resources cover a range of topics, including remote access, web conferencing tools and file management solutions. We will continue to update these resources over time and as suggested by users.
For Students and Families
Virtual Engagement Opportunities: As we adjust to our new normal, Syracuse University is leveraging its spirit of innovation and creativity to create a virtual Orange community and a set of events and experiences that bring our students together, even while they’re apart. As Chancellor Kent Syverud noted, we have added a virtual events category to the University Events Calendar, where you can find ways to stay connected outside of regular classes. This weekend, you can join Orange fans near and far online for a Facebook Live virtual watch party to relive the excitement of the 2003 NCAA men’s basketball championship game between Syracuse and Kansas. We also are working hard each day to expand virtual services to our students including Career Services, International Student Services, Cultural Centers, the Center for Learning and Student Success and in our colleges and schools.
Expanded Grocery and Convenience Offerings: The South Campus Express convenience store has expanded its product offerings in response to student requests. The store, which is open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is receiving regular shipments and carries a variety of grocery and snack items. The Syracuse University Bookstore continues to add new items to its online market, and free on-campus delivery is available every Tuesday and Thursday.
Sexual and Relationship Violence Services and Reporting: Whether students are on or off campus during this time, the Sexual and Relationship Violence Response (SRVR) Team at the Barnes Center at The Arch is still available 24/7 for students impacted by sexual and relationship violence. Students can receive confidential support, advocacy, safety planning and discussion of reporting options through the SRVR Team by calling 315.443.8000. The Dean of Students Office (not confidential) also remains available for support at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315.443.4357. The Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services (EOIRS) continues to provide support and resources to students, faculty and staff on issues related to sexual misconduct, Title IX and discrimination. Students, faculty and staff can reach EOIRS or file reports by contacting 315.443.4018 or email@example.com.
For Faculty and Staff
Transforming COVID into a Learning Opportunity: The COVID outbreak is disrupting teaching and learning in many ways, and such disruption can provide incredible learning opportunities. Educating students about COVID-19 may help them to deal with the challenges of the pandemic.
Online Learning Environment Support: In preparation of end-of-semester planning, faculty members are encouraged to reach out to the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE), the Center for Online and Digital Learning and Information Technology Services for support related to topics such as engaging online learners, reworking an exam for the online environment or transforming capstone projects to virtual experiences. The CTLE will provide consultations for the pedagogies and course plans and can be reached at CTLE@syr.edu. Faculty can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Support for Summer Course Development: To help our students continue their work toward degree completion in this time of uncertainty, University College (UC) is working with schools and colleges to expand the online summer course catalog with additional eight-week summer courses that begin on July 6 and end on Aug. 27. UC has dedicated funding to support faculty to develop online courses for this eight-week summer session. The Center for Online and Digital Learning will work with faculty on course design, development and production. Interested faculty should contact Ryan Williams, associate dean for academic affairs at UC, for more information about funding and support.
Wellness Resources and Opportunities: The recent Wellness Initiative email to faculty and staff highlights upcoming virtual wellness programs, the opportunity to recognize a colleague with a shoutout, Carebridge webinars relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic and more. Faculty and staff are encouraged to remain aware of and engage in Wellness Initiative offerings as their schedules allow.
Expanded Telemedicine Coverage through MDLIVE: As of April 1, faculty and staff enrolled in the University’s medical plans have access to MDLIVE, a national telemedicine provider that gives patients 24/7 access to a network of board-certified doctors and licensed therapists for non-emergency health concerns. Additional information on MDLIVE can be found here.
Finally, I’d like to conclude this update with a public acknowledgement of the many individuals—staff and faculty here on campus and abroad—who over the last several weeks have worked tirelessly to “bring home” hundreds of Syracuse University students who were studying overseas when COVID-19 began its global spread. We are beyond thrilled to report that as of April 1, all Syracuse University students studying abroad who desired to return to the U.S. have done so safely. Faculty and staff affiliated with our abroad programs not only monitored and supported students throughout this process, but also followed up with each individual student to confirm they arrived safely to their destination. This was a Herculean effort, executed with purpose and empathy. On behalf of those students, their parents and the entire University, I want to extend deep appreciation and gratitude to those who stepped up in remarkable ways in support of these students and families.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation