Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families: Late yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified Onondaga County as a region of substantial transmission due to an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases. In response, a short time…
Coronavirus Update 7.31.20: Planning Progress, Dashboard, Virtual Sessions and More
Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:
We are weeks away from welcoming students back to campus, and consequently our efforts to deliver a robust academic experience and a safe residential experience are in high gear. To provide just a small snapshot of what our team has been doing to support preparations for a safe return to residential life, consider that over the past two months:
We have purchased:
- 3,476,150 disposable masks
- 35,000 reusable masks
- 30,000 KN95 and N95 masks
- 35,280 bottles of hand sanitizer
- 3,000 hand sanitizer dispensers
- 1,400 hand sanitizing floor stands
- 18,000 boxes of gloves
- 20,163 face shields
- 11,000 social distancing floor decals
- 55,276 containers of disinfecting wipes
- 21,000 “COVID Health Kits” to be distributed to all returning students that include three reusable face masks, hand sanitizer, a door opener and a forehead thermometer
- 2,500 “Instructor Health Kits” to support faculty in the classroom that include disposable face masks, alcohol wipes, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer
- 26,000 flu shots
We have installed:
- 245 barriers in high-traffic reception and retail environments
- 84 sheets of Plexiglass at all food service and dining hall locations
- More than 10,000 public health reminder signs across campus, including signs at every parking welcome booth, building entrance, restroom, classroom, conference room and elevator and in other public spaces
- MERV 13 air filters in 160 air handling units in 40 building across campus
- UV-C lighting in the air handling system of our health care facilities, and mobile UV-C air cleaning systems in classrooms and labs with reduced air flow
- Operating exhaust fans in all restrooms
- 3 temporary module classrooms on North Campus
- 21 outdoor gathering and teaching “tents” on both North Campus and South Campus
This is just a snapshot of the ongoing preparations and work underway, positioned to set the conditions to make it possible for all of us to return safely to campus in the fall. My sincere thanks to the many committed professionals who have shouldered this effort. They have been challenged to fundamentally rethink and reinvent processes and protocols that have been unchanged for decades in order to accommodate residential campus life during the time of COVID-19—and they have elevated to the challenge.
Today’s message includes updates on:
- For Our Community
- SU Safe Weekly Roundup Virtual Update Session
- COVID-19 Dashboard
- Quarantine Protocol
- Social Media Assets
- Fall 2020 Website and FAQ
- For Students and Families
- COVID-19 Testing Kits Available to Students
- Stay Safe Pledge
- For Faculty and Staff
- Staff Virtual Zoom Session
- Fall Course Preparation
- New Video System
- Phase Four Underway
For Our Community
SU Safe Weekly Roundup Virtual Update Session: Join us on Zoom later today from 1 to 2 p.m. ET for my weekly virtual update discussion. This week, I’ll be joined by Andy Gordon, senior vice president and chief human resource officer; Ramesh Raina, interim vice president for research; Chris Johnson, associate provost for academic affairs; and other University leaders. The discussion will focus on staff issues and return to work in preparation for the Fall 2020 semester. For those unable to participate live, the link to the video will be posted on Syracuse.edu/Fall2020.
COVID-19 Dashboard: Beginning next week, Syracuse University will provide weekly updates related to the public health situation on campus and within the campus community. We will do so via a Syracuse University COVID-19 Dashboard, where we will report metrics, statistics and trends associated with the presence and prevalence of COVID-19 health outcomes among and within the Syracuse University community. This dashboard will be updated weekly, accessible to all and reside on the Fall 2020 Open website.
Quarantine Protocol: As outlined in New York State’s travel advisory, all members of our campus community traveling from impacted states and outside the U.S. are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to New York. Many of your questions regarding the quarantine are answered on our updated Fall 2020 Open FAQ page.
Social Media Assets: Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Do Your Part: This week, a pre-semester social media toolkit went live for campus community members. The social media resources highlight the importance of healthy habits, social distancing, wearing a mask and other information on the COVID-19 virus. The resources were inspired, curated and supported by student feedback and student leaders. I encourage you to access the toolkit on Answers, using your NetID and password, and share the resources over the next few weeks.
Fall 2020 Website and FAQ: The Fall 2020 Open website is the University’s official source for information regarding the University’s planning, health and safety precautions, messaging and other critical resources for our campus community. The Frequently Asked Questions webpage, within the Fall 2020 website, offers guidance and the latest information in such areas as policies on masks and face coverings; the New York State travel advisory and quarantine; COVID-19 testing and screening; facilities consideration; and teaching and learning. On this website you can also find the University’s reopening plan and submission to New York State. Refer to the Fall 2020 Open site frequently as it is updated regularly.
For Students and Families
COVID-19 Testing Kits Available to Students: All students, including those who live off campus, are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus. Students who have access to testing in their community or with their health care provider should plan to be tested within a window of 10 days prior to arriving on campus. For others in areas where testing might be difficult to access, the University has engaged an outside laboratory to make available FDA-approved, at-home COVID-19 testing kits to students for a University-subsidized rate of $49. In a letter earlier this week, students and families were advised of the process and provided with resource information if they have financial concerns. The University will provide further details to students and families about the testing in the coming days, to include announcing a website where students who wish to take advantage of the University-subsidized testing option can request a test kit be mailed to their home. Although we can’t specifically address every student’s unique circumstances via an email, we have posted the answers to the most frequently asked questions we are receiving about student testing. We encourage you to review these questions and answers at your convenience.
Stay Safe Pledge: Students and families received the Stay Safe Pledge, a campus commitment to protecting the health and safety of all Orange community members. The pledge outlines the practices students will be expected to uphold to keep themselves and the Orange community healthy and safe from the spread of COVID-19. Students are encouraged to review and commit to the pledge prior to their arrival in the fall. If students cannot abide by the practices in this pledge, they are encouraged to study remotely. Whether or not a student takes the pledge, failure to comply with the directives may result in a referral to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR) for violation of the Code of Student Conduct and subsequent sanctions.
For Faculty and Staff
Virtual Zoom Session for Staff to Be Held Tuesday, Aug. 4: Staff members are invited to join myself and other members of the University’s leadership team for a virtual Zoom session focused on staff questions about returning to work and the Fall 2020 semester. The session will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 1:30 p.m. ET. An email invitation with the Zoom link was sent earlier this morning to staff members.
Fall Course Preparation Resources, Services and Tools for Faculty: All faculty teaching this fall and graduate students who are instructors of record are highly encouraged to utilize the University’s suite of Fall Course Transition Services. No matter what format will be required, you can plan for a successful semester and get a running start on the first two weeks of classes.
The Fall 2020 Preparedness Checklist can help you determine where to best spend your time and energy. The Fall 2020 Align Your Course for Any Format provides resources on designing objectives, assessments, assignments, weekly activities and running class sections in mixed formats. If you teach a large course session with TAs, consider working with them now to begin planning for their fall sessions as well. The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, Online Learning Services and the Center for Online and Digital Learning can help—complete the brief Fall Course Development Form to get started. Don’t know where to start? Have a simple question? You can reach a consultant by emailing email@example.com.
New Video Management System Available: Kaltura at Syracuse University is now available. This cloud-based video management system will help instructors store and share video course content to create engaging and accessible learning experiences for their students. Kaltura:
- Enables instructors and students to create video content through Blackboard.
- Provides instructors the ability to edit and combine videos while making them more interactive.
- Empowers instructors and students to use webcams and mobile devices to create content.
In the coming months, instructors also will be able to take advantage of Kaltura’s lecture capture ability. Although Ensemble will continue to be available through the Fall 2020 semester, any new content should be created in Kaltura. Instructors can explore the Kaltura at Syracuse University home page on Answers to learn more.
Phase Four of Return to Campus Plan for Faculty and Staff Underway: As of last week, the University is in Phase Four of returning faculty and staff to the campus workplace. Thank you to those who have patiently moved through this process with us throughout the summer. As a reminder, we ask that all returning faculty and staff review the materials and information available within the Return to Campus Hub on the Office of Human Resources’ website and abide by all COVID-19 public health measures while working at a Syracuse University facility.
I remain grateful for the extraordinary work being done by thousands of dedicated faculty, staff and others in implementing new operating procedures and, in some cases, entirely new systems to deliver on our commitment to our students and ourselves. Thank you for continuing to keep yourself informed and safe, for the sake of our entire Syracuse University community.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation