Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff: Recently the Onondaga County Health Department has reported a notable decline in new COVID infections and hospitalizations across the Central New York region. This positive trend, combined with significantly reduced population density on our…
Coronavirus Update 6.3.20: Return to Work, Health and Safety, Course Preparation and More
Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff:
Today, we have welcomed a small group of faculty and staff back to campus, after nearly three months of transitioning to remote work as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group returning to campus today is in addition to the many essential employees who have been working throughout this challenging time to ensure that critical functions of the University continue. I am grateful to them and to the many people who have devoted countless hours to the great collaboration that has made it possible to mark this important milestone.
We still have much work to do ahead of welcoming students back to campus in August, and every member of our community has a part to play in assuring that we can safely and successfully resume campus life in the fall. As we do this work, I would like to update you on our efforts to maintain the safety and well-being of our entire campus community. In today’s update, I will address the following topics:
- University Community
- Return to Work Guidance
- Changes to Campus Spaces
- Health and Safety Framework
- COVID-19 Testing
- Updated Guidance on Face Masks and Coverings
- Obtaining a Mask
- Hendricks Chapel Services
- Students and Families
- Retrieving Belongings from On-Campus Housing
- Barnes Center Services
- Summer Shuttle Schedule
- Faculty and Staff
- Course Preparation Support
- Resources for Trauma-Informed Teaching
For the University Community
Return to Work Guidance: As communicated earlier this week by Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Andrew Gordon, today marks the beginning of Phase One of returning faculty and staff to on-campus work. Phase One will proceed for at least two weeks as we continue to monitor public health guidance, campus density and the health of our faculty and staff on campus. All faculty and staff are encouraged to review the Return to Campus Plan for Faculty and Staff informational hub and FAQs on hr.syr.edu in anticipation of returning to campus. Individuals slated for Phase Two will hear from their dean or senior leader with an expected return date as we continue to move through this process, but we anticipate Phase Two to commence no earlier than Thursday, June 18.
Changes to Campus Spaces: As faculty and staff begin to return to campus, I ask that you take notice of new signage promoting social distancing and other public health measures. Floor decals placed in our campus buildings will remind people of the importance of keeping 6 feet of distance from one another as we move about our day. New signage aimed at promoting and protecting the health of our community will be placed in building entryways; outside elevators; and in dining centers, breakrooms, kitchen areas, meeting spaces and other locations frequented by faculty and staff. Our signage strategy will continue to ramp up throughout the summer as we look to welcome students in August. We will continue to provide updates and information related to ongoing changes to campus spaces, designed to support enhanced safety and well-being.
Health and Safety Framework: In my May 28 message to the campus community, I outlined the robust, comprehensive and science-based framework that has been developed by the Public Health and Emergency Management Subcommittee of the Fall 2020 Open Working Group. This framework is meant to ensure Syracuse University is fully equipped and prepared to safely resume campus operations on Aug. 24. The subcommittee’s report, which is currently under review by public-sector health officials, includes more than 100 recommendations that will serve as a foundation for our schools and colleges to develop and implement strategies that are uniquely tailored to their facilities, people and curricula, and the broader needs and challenges associated with safely resuming face-to-face instruction. Additional information as to the report’s findings and recommendations will be broadly shared once public-sector health officials have completed their review of the subcommittee’s report.
COVID-19 Testing: New York State Department of Health diagnostic testing criteria have been expanded further, making even more individuals eligible for testing. Testing is now available to the following individuals:
- any person who has COVID-19 symptoms
- any person who has had contact with a person who has tested positive for or has had COVID-19
- any person who is subject to a precautionary or mandatory quarantine
- any person who would return to the workplace in Phase One of the state’s reopening plan
You can find further information about where to get tested on the state Department of Health website.
Updated Guidance on Face Masks and Coverings: Syracuse University requires face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus and in the presence of others, and in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. While we cannot address every individual scenario for wearing vs. not wearing a mask while on campus, we implore every member of our community to use good judgment and to act with the safety of all in mind. If you are unsure about whom you might encounter and how close you will be to another individual as you work and move about campus, wear a mask. If you have an underlying health condition that precludes you from wearing a mask, you may request a reasonable accommodation through the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services.
Obtaining a Mask: At this time, Syracuse University is making masks available to campus community members, including students living on campus, students living off campus in the Syracuse area, essential employees or faculty/staff returning via Phase One as identified above and to managers who are acquiring masks on behalf of their teams. To request a mask, please fill out the face mask request form, and the Environmental Health and Safety Services team will have the mask delivered.
Hendricks Chapel Services: The chaplains and staff of Hendricks Chapel are available throughout the summer months to provide religious and spiritual care and support. For a list of services and programs, visit the Hendricks Chapel online resources page or contact Alex Snow at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those seeking access to the Hendricks Chapel Food Pantries should contact Syeisha Byrd at 315.706.4526 or email@example.com. For general information or questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315.443.2901.
For Students and Families
Removing Belongings from On-Campus Housing: To prepare for the Fall 2020 semester, we are asking all students to remove their belongings from their Spring 2020 on-campus residence. Saturday, May 30, marked the first day students and families were able to return to campus to remove belongings. The move-out process, which is guided by stringent public health recommendations, will run through June 14. If you have not yet made arrangements to remove your belongings from your on-campus residence, we request you do so before June 14. If it is not possible or practical for you to travel to campus to remove your belongings, University staff will pack your belongings, at no charge, but you will need to contract with Lazybones for storage or shipping. To read more about the three options the University has developed to assist in this process, please visit the Office of Student Living website.
Barnes Center Services Extended into Summer: The Barnes Center at The Arch is continuing to provide counseling, health care, nutrition, mindfulness, and recreation services and programs throughout the summer. Some highlights include:
- Individual counseling, nutrition and psychiatry appointments remain available via phone and Zoom, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students should call 315.443.8000 to schedule an appointment.
- In-person health care appointments are available Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., by appointment only. Students should call 315.443.8000 to schedule an appointment.
- The pharmacy will be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Pharmacy phone consultation is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Wellness programs will continue virtually, including SoulTalk and the Wellness Leadership Institute.
- Recreation opportunities include the Movement Challenge, esports virtual tournaments and live group fitness classes. Schedules, registration and additional information are available on the Wellness Portal.
Summer Shuttle Schedule: The summer shuttle schedules are now available. 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. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free shuttle service to the William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center and Syracuse Hancock International Airport is available by calling 315.706.5060 at least one hour prior to the desired pick-up time.
For Faculty and Staff
Faculty Fall Course Preparation Support: Faculty who are teaching this fall are encouraged to utilize coordinated course preparation support provided by ITS/CODL. The ITS “Teaching Tips” email to faculty will include directions for you to complete an intake form. Upon submission, an instructional designer will follow up with you directly to begin developing your course to a “baseline” standard of design, structure and preparedness. This baseline design will provide the flexibility to respond to multiple instructional modalities. Additional development—such as video production, rich media and advanced features of Blackboard—can be “scaffolded” onto your course based on your instructional requirements. Training and support from CTLE will also be provided as requested.
Resources for Trauma-Informed Teaching: One of the challenges of COVID-19 is that many people have been traumatized by the demands to change everything about their lives and shelter in place at home. For some students, faculty and staff, these changes have added to stressors already present or re-activated past traumas. To offer support in this area, CTLE, with the help of faculty in the Falk College who specialize in trauma, have put together some resources for trauma-informed teaching. These resources include materials on self-care and are available at Answers.syr.edu.
As a reminder, please routinely visit Syracuse.edu/coronavirus for the latest updates, news and information. Stay well, stay safe, and take care of yourself and your loved ones.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation