Dear Students and Families: The first day of classes is now less than 40 days away. We are all excited by the prospect of a return to an academic and student experience that resembles our pre-pandemic campus environment. A critical…
Coronavirus Update 4.24.20: Social Distancing Vigilance, New Resources and Expanded Support
Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:
For so many, the evolving nature of the COVID-19 health emergency has imposed new and changing constraints on the activities of daily living. That said, I continue to be amazed by the resilience, optimism and enthusiasm for the future on display across our Syracuse University community.
Yesterday, I was fortunate to experience that enthusiasm and optimism firsthand when I logged in to Blackboard Collaborate to serve as a guest judge for end-of-semester presentations delivered by students from our Whitman School of Management. While a few expressed frustrations with the haircut they had received from mom or dad, otherwise those business school students were all business. They were polished, professional and resolved to deliver on their own high expectations, despite the constraints imposed by our new normal. It was inspiring to experience their resilience, and to share their obvious pride in our Syracuse University community. To those students, I am grateful.
Today’s campus message will address actions we are taking—and actions you can take—to ensure that you remain healthy, safe and productive. Specifically:
- For University Community
- A Reminder on Social Distancing
- Writing Center Support
- For Students and Families
- Financial Support for Students
- Summer Housing Application
- For Faculty and Staff
- Summer Course Checklist
- Carebridge Virtual Support Groups
- Virtual Wellness Series
- Stay Well While Working Remotely
For University Community
Social Distancing Vigilance: In recent days, elected officials—including at the local, state and federal levels—have expressed cautious optimism that the actions taken to curb the spread of COVID-19 appear to be having a positive impact on flattening the curve. This represents important and positive progress. However, to preserve this progress we must continue to adhere to social distancing restrictions still in place under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “New York State on Pause” Executive Order, as well as related directives from Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon. These include:
- wearing a mask or face covering when in public;
- staying home as much as possible;
- maintaining six feet between yourself and others; and
- avoiding congregating in or attending social gatherings.
Unfortunately, University leaders and local government officials continue to receive reports suggesting that some Syracuse University students continue to disregard these requirements by gathering in groups off campus and demonstrating disregard for social distancing practices. These actions not only put you at risk, but your actions put others at risk as well—particularly senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions. We must do better.
Gov. Cuomo previously directed all New York residents to stay at home, wear face masks when in public, and not 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. It is our hope that the threat of disciplinary action isn’t what motivates our students to adhere to these public health directives. Instead, we encourage each member of our community to acknowledge and act on the responsibility to safeguard their own health and to ensure that your neighbors, friends and even strangers remain safe, healthy and protected throughout this global health emergency.
Writing Center Support Available for All Students, Faculty and Staff: Writing Center appointments will take place digitally. Students, faculty and staff can continue to log into the schedule, select “Face-to-Face” schedule, and reserve an appointment. Rather than meet with a consultant in the Writing Center, users will now be receiving electronic feedback from consultants. Please also note appointments must be made at least 48 hours in advance. Contact Ben Erwin with any questions about Writing Center policies or procedures.
For Students and Families
Student Financial Support: We recognize that some students and their families may be experiencing unusual financial hardship or changes in their financial situation due to COVID-19. We want to remind students that appeals can be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid by emailing email@example.com or calling 315.443.1513. Additionally, students can access this list of emergency resources related to food and personal care items, payment options for student loans or credits cards, utilities and other expenses compiled by the Office of Financial Literacy.
Summer Housing Application Now Available: We know many students remaining on campus are facing uncertainty about their summer plans. Students currently living on campus can now apply to stay in their South Campus apartment throughout the 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. However, we know travel plans are changing by the day, and 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.
For Faculty and Staff
Summer Course Checklist: For faculty members planning their summer courses, a new checklist is available from the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. Guided by the question “What do I want my students to remember from this course in five years?” the checklist includes course objectives, assessments, assignments and weekly modules to maximize online learning during the condensed summer semester.
Carebridge Virtual Support Groups: The pandemic has created an extraordinary number of simultaneous stressors. To help cope, consider joining one or more of the new virtual support groups offered by Carebridge, our Faculty and Staff Assistance Program. Groups are focused around topics like grief and loss, parenting and general stress management.
Thrive! Other People Matter: Strengthening the Foundation of Happiness: On April 28 or 30 at noon, join one of the well-being initiative Thrive! series sessions exploring why our relationships matter (perhaps now more than ever) and strategies for prioritizing and strengthening the connections we have with others.
Stay Well While Working Remotely: A new list of wellness resources and information on wellness.syr.edu provides tools and suggestions that can help you relieve stress and anxiety, be more active and breathe a little deeper during this period of uncertainty.
We will continue to monitor and assess ongoing developments related to the COVID-19 health emergency and act to prioritize the health, safety and well-being of our community. Accordingly, please continue to stay up to date on our response by visiting Syracuse.edu/coronavirus.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation