Dear Faculty and Staff: The resurgence of the COVID-19 virus around our country is intensifying on the heels of holiday travel and gatherings. Here in Onondaga County, we are experiencing rising infection rates and an uptick in hospitalizations. In response,…
Coronavirus Update 4.18.20: Important Information for Students, Faculty and Staff
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
With less than two weeks until the start of final exams, Syracuse University students, faculty and staff continue to demonstrate strength and resilience in the face of the COVID-19 health emergency. Each member of our community faces different and unique challenges as we work to navigate and balance the “new” challenges of daily life, with ever-present academic, professional and personal responsibilities. At the same time, every member of our Syracuse University community has in common the grit and perseverance and determination learned and tested in our classrooms, on our athletics fields, in our research labs and by our Central New York winters! For what we have in common, now more than ever, we should be grateful and optimistic for the future.
To that end, we continue to seek and leverage the guidance of public health officials, as well as local and state government leaders, to inform both our current actions and future-focused planning. Those decisions, plans and actions include ongoing efforts aligned with the goal of reopening our campus in fall 2020, as the Chancellor outlined Thursday.
With that in mind, I write today to share the latest updates stemming from our continued efforts in response to the COVID-19 health emergency. Topics I will address today include:
- For University Community
- Extension of Remote Work
- Protecting Your Face
- Testing for COVID-19
- Building Access
- Syracuse Responds Fund
- New Online Resources
- For Students and Families
- Zoom Appointments at the Barnes Center
- Career Services Update
- Support for Managing Online Learning
- Information on Summer Housing
- Caps and Gowns
- For Faculty and Staff
- Adapting Hands-On Courses
- Summer Online Course Development
- Vacation Policy
- Positivity and Well-Being Resources
For University Community
Remote Working Continues Through at Least May 15: Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the extension of his “New York State on PAUSE” Executive Order, which means our faculty and staff will continue to work remotely through at least Friday, May 15. Any questions about changes to your remote work arrangement should be discussed with your supervisor or senior HR business partner. We will continue to monitor guidance from the state and share any new information.
Protecting Your Face: Effective immediately and until further notice, in compliance with Gov. Cuomo’s Executive Order, all students, faculty and staff currently working or living on campus are required to wear a face mask when out in public or when social distancing is not possible. Employees working alone in their offices and students who are alone in a room do not need to wear masks, but anytime someone is on campus and within six feet of another person, a mask (either cloth or surgical) must be worn. For individuals who need a mask, here’s how you can obtain one:
- For employees, University department heads and managers are now equipped to distribute masks to their employees. If an employee on campus needs a face mask outside of these resources, they should contact Director of Environmental Health and Safety Services Rebecca Ponza via email at email@example.com.
- For students, please email Director of Environmental Health and Safety Services Rebecca Ponza, and her team will get the mask delivered to your on-campus residence during normal business hours.
- For more information, including do’s and don’ts of wearing masks, visit Environmental Health and Safety Services.
Testing for COVID-19: We have received many questions related to testing for COVID-19. Here is what you need to know:
- The Onondaga County Department of Health is the lead agency managing COVID-19 testing locally.
- If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, stay home and call your doctor. If you are older, have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised, call your doctor early, even if your illness is mild. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and order the test if needed. Only patients with a referral will be tested. In an emergency, call 911.
- If you do not have a doctor and have questions, symptoms or may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, call Upstate University Hospital’s Triage Line at 315.464.3979 and you will be advised about testing. The line is open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day.
- If you are tested for COVID-19, you will be notified of negative test results by the office that administered the test.By emergency order, anyone who is tested must self-quarantine until they receive a negative test result.
Building Access: Building access remains limited to essential business only. All other use of University space is strictly prohibited through at least May 15. The following provides guidance regarding such access:
- Faculty and staff who have been deemed “essential” have access to the buildings and University-owned properties in which their duties must be performed.
- Essential faculty or staff working with others on campus should maintain safe social distancing of at least six feet. Meetings should be conducted online if possible.
- Non-essential faculty and staff who need to access their office or other University space to retrieve items needed for remote work must notify their supervisor of the date, time and purpose of their visit to such space prior to the visit. Supervisors should determine appropriate alternatives when possible.
- Campus recreation facilities, gymnasiums and fields are closed.
Syracuse Responds Fund: You can continue to help our students facing financial hardships in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic by making a gift to the Syracuse Responds Fund to support remote-learning technology needs; lost jobs and wages; and travel and transportation costs; and room, board and living expenses.
New Online Resources: The Burton Blatt Institute’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach (OIPO) has established the OIPO New York State COVID-19 Online Resources web page that gathers and organizes Syracuse, Central New York and New York State COVID-19-related links of relevance to both disabled people and nondisabled individuals and families. In addition, Diane Wiener, research professor and associate director of OIOP, has curated a broad set of wellness, creativity and advocacy resources of interest during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Students and Families
Barnes Center Counseling, Nutrition and Psychiatry: The Barnes Center at The Arch is now offering Zoom appointments for counseling, nutrition counseling and psychiatry services. Students can meet one-on-one with a counselor through a confidential, personalized Zoom invitation. To schedule an appointment, students should call the Barnes Center at 315.443.8000. The counseling team has also relaunched group therapy via Zoom for existing groups and will announce new group options soon on the Barnes Center website and @BeWellSU.
Career Services: Available virtually, Career Services is able to support students now and throughout the evolution of their career development needs. Zoom Drop-In Sessions are hosted Tuesdays from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Cover letter and résumé support services are available by sending documents to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Document Review-[Your Name].” For more information on accessing services, scheduling appointments or providing suggestions, please visit the Career Services Personalized Services web page. Students are encouraged to check back for new content and resources, as well as to connect with their school/college career and advising offices for services.
Managing Online Learning: For students who need assistance managing their time with classes, coursework and studying, the Center for Learning and Student Success (CLASS) offers personal guidance to help students adjust to the online learning environment. Students can sign up for a 60-minute “Managing Online Learning” session with a peer tutor or coach.
Summer Housing Application Available April 17: We know many students remaining on campus are facing uncertainty about their summer plans. Beginning today, students currently living on campus can apply to stay in their South Campus apartment this summer. The application, which is available on the MySlice Housing portal, asks students to choose how many weeks they initially plan to stay in on-campus housing. We know travel plans are changing by the day, so the Housing Office will reach out to students on a weekly basis to make sure the office has the latest information about their housing needs.
Cap and Gown Orders: The Syracuse University Bookstore and their regalia partner, Herff Jones, are committed to helping students with their cap and gown decisions. Please visit the Bookstore’s Commencement website for information on how to receive your orders, shipping information and request cancellations.
For Faculty and Staff
Adapting Hands-on Courses to Online: So many of our faculty are doing extraordinary work—under difficult circumstances—adapting their courses to a remote-learning format. Hands-on courses, in particular, can be challenging to modify for the online environment. Teams with the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, the Center for Online and Digital Learning, and Information Technology Services can support and assist faculty in developing ways to implement hands-on courses. Contact email@example.com for assistance.
Support of Summer Online Course Development: Faculty who are preparing to teach a summer course online are encouraged to utilize the online Academic Continuity Resources. Instructional design support is available for faculty who feel they need or want to seek additional resources before converting their course for online instruction. To request instructional design support, submit an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the title of the course you are developing and indicate if it is a graduate or undergraduate course. You will be contacted within one business day by an instructional designer to coordinate consultation and resource support.
Vacation Policy During Remote Work: In response to COVID-19, most of the University’s faculty and staff have transitioned to working remotely instead of reporting to the University campus. While balancing work and work breaks, we encourage benefits-eligible staff to utilize their accrued vacation time prior to the end of the current fiscal year, as it cannot be carried over. Staff should work directly with their supervisor to schedule time off from work to relax, refresh and reset. Union employees should also refer to the terms of the applicable collective bargaining agreement for additional information regarding the use of vacation time.
Positivity and Well-Being Resources: While we cannot control the uncertainty and fear that COVID-19 has brought to so many of our lives, we do have control over our inner state and how we react. To that end, the Office of Human Resources has compiled a list of well-being and positivity tips, ways to demonstrate compassion in action, and reminders to foster civility and respect toward our fellow human beings, now more than ever.
My next update is planned for early next week, unless of course there is urgent news to share that affects our community. Please continue to visit Syracuse.edu/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information. Additionally, I urge you to visit Syracuse.edu/stories and News.syr.edu to learn how your fellow students, faculty and staff are innovating, creating and acting in the face of this global pandemic. The stories are inspiring and serve as an important reminder about what we can achieve when working together.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation