Dear Faculty, Instructors and Graduate Teaching Assistants: We are writing to provide you new information from the Onondaga County Health Department related to the COVID-19 vaccination distribution process. Eligibility Reminder At this time, per the New York State Department of…
Coronavirus Update 9.7.20: New Testing Schedule, Campus Study Spaces and Student Activities
Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families:
Today marks the start of the third week of classes. Making it to the third week of the semester was certainly not a milestone in past years, but this year is different. This year is different because we will continue to teach, learn and work in an environment of unprecedented uncertainty. This year is different because we’ve had to innovate, adapt and be resilient like never before in response to profoundly unfamiliar norms and expectations. With each week that passes, we are understanding new ways that the residential college experience in the time of COVID-19 is different.
For so many reasons, all this difference is hard. At the same time, over the past three weeks I’ve experienced our campus community shift from a focus on what is necessary in the time of COVID-19, to a mindset focused on achieving what possible in the face of our constraints. I share this because I’m convinced that to focus our energy and positive emotion on what is possible—as opposed to what is difficult and necessary—may just be the mindset that affords us the opportunity to achieve what many still believe is impossible. That is, to safely sustain our residential campus experience through November as planned. I am optimistic that if we are vigilant and accountable to each other, all that is possible.
So, in the spirit of a focus on what is possible, I write today to provide some important information and updates related to our collective efforts to sustain a safe and meaningful residential campus experience. This week’s updates include:
For Our Community:
- Barnes Center at The Arch Access
- Dashboard Reminder
For Students and Families:
- Saliva Pool Testing Schedule
- Campus Study Spaces
- Student Events and Activities
- MySlice Contact Information
For Faculty and Staff:
- Caregiving Resources
- Daily Health Questionnaire
For Our Community:
Barnes Center at The Arch Recreation and Outdoor Cardio and Weight Area Now Open: In accordance with Gov. Cuomo’s recent executive order and guidance from New York State, the recreation and fitness areas of the Barnes Center at The Arch are now open. In addition, the Outdoor Cardio and Weight Area at the Women’s Building Field opened Friday, Sept. 4, and will be open from noon–8 p.m. daily. Students, faculty and staff can use the Wellness Portal to access schedules and make reservations for cardio equipment, weight machines, the indoor track and more. Reservations are required. Visit the Barnes Center at The Arch Fall 2020 webpage for complete information on recreation and fitness hours, services and programs.
COVID-19 Dashboard: As a reminder, the Syracuse University COVID-19 dashboard is updated three days a week. Updates are made on Monday, Wednesday and Friday by 5 p.m. on each of those days. The dashboard includes metrics, statistics and trends associated with the presence and prevalence of COVID-19 within the Syracuse University community. We have also recently updated the dashboard to include a new metric: the number of new, COVID-19 cases confirmed over any two-week period. This update is provided in response to Gov. Cuomo establishing a standard of 100 new cases over any two-week period as the threshold for discontinuing residential instruction on any New York state college or university campus. Please bookmark the site: www.syracuse.edu/covid-dashboard.
For Students and Families:
COVID-19 Surveillance Testing—Round No. 2: As detailed in Syracuse University’s public health plan (Syracuse University SAFE) and in the Syracuse University reopening plan submitted to New York state (July 17, 2020), beginning this week we intend to commence a second round of COVID-19 surveillance testing of all students. All students—including those who live off campus—are required to participate in this surveillance testing program.
Specifically, testing will commence beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Testing centers have been established on the Kenneth A. Shaw Quad (North Campus; two stations), and at the SkyBarn (South Campus). These testing centers will be open daily from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8. No appointment is necessary to be tested and students may report to a testing station of convenience. Given the large volume of testing we plan to accomplish over the next 10 days, we have organized a testing schedule based on the “home” school or college of our undergraduate and graduate students. The only exception to this school- or college-based schedule relates to residents of Ernie Davis and Sadler Halls. Given the recent positive wastewater testing results of those facilities, we request that all residents of Ernie Davis and Sadler Halls be tested (regardless of school or college affiliation) on either Tuesday, Sept. 8, or Wednesday, Sept. 9. The testing schedule is as follows:
- Sept. 8 (Tuesday): Residents of Ernie Davis and Sadler Halls; Architecture; Arts and Sciences
- Sept. 9 (Wednesday): Residents of Ernie Davis and Sadler Halls; Architecture; Arts and Sciences
- Sept. 10 (Thursday): Education; Engineering and Computer Science; Maxwell
- Sept. 11 (Friday): Falk; iSchool; Newhouse; Visual and Performing Arts
- Sept. 14 (Monday): Law; Whitman; University College
- Sept. 15 (Tuesday): Falk; iSchool; Newhouse; Visual and Performing Arts (alternative)
- Sept. 16 (Wednesday): Education; Engineering and Computer Science; Maxwell (alternative)
- Sept. 17 (Thursday): Law; Whitman; University College (alternative)
- Sept. 18 (Friday): Architecture; Arts and Sciences (alternative)
Ongoing COVID-19 surveillance testing is a critical dimension of the University’s strategy to mitigate the potential for an outbreak on our campus. For that reason, students should plan to be tested in accordance with the schedule above. If for whatever reason you cannot be tested on your first assigned date, an alternative testing date has also been assigned to each school/college.
Campus Study Spaces: To provide students with more spaces for studying, participating in classes via Zoom and working on assignments in between classes, the University has identified more than 50 classrooms across campus, as well as other campus locations, that are open and available for students to use throughout the day. The full list of locations, and the dates and times these locations are available, can be found on the Campus Study Spaces webpage.
Student Events and Activities: Throughout the semester, the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience is hosting a series of events, involvement opportunities and activities on and off campus. Students are encouraged to visit the following resources for updated information:
- ’Cuse Activities Portal: Information about all recognized student organizations and their events and workshops, events and activities hosted by the Office of Student Activities.
- Orange After Dark Calendar: List of signature late-night events and entertainment, including virtual, in-person and hybrid offerings.
- Wellness Portal: Schedules for and information about group exercise classes, weekend adventure day trips, zip-lining, the climbing wall, Esports room, Wellness Leadership Institute workshops, the Crowley Family MindSpa and more. Please note, reservations are required for all these opportunities through the Wellness Portal.
- University Events Calendar: Academic, social, leadership, cultural and professional events happening across campus.
Bookstore Online Order Pick-up Moves Indoors: The Syracuse University Bookstore has asked students to place their orders for textbooks, academic supplies and Syracuse gear online, as physical access to the store is limited. Ordering online is the quickest and easiest option for students to receive their materials. The online order pick-up location has moved to the third floor of the Bookstore. The store continues to offer free delivery to all on-campus locations, including South Campus. Students living off campus can also place orders for delivery, offered at a flat low-cost shipping rate.
For Faculty and Staff:
Caregiving Resources: To augment existing childcare resources, the University is taking several steps:
- First, the application process for the Dependent Child Care Subsidy Program has re-opened through Dec. 4. The program had previously closed for 2020. This additional application window is being opened to provide eligible faculty and staff the opportunity to receive subsidies of up to $3,000 for their eligible dependent care expenses in 2020. Visit the Dependent Care Subsidy Program webpage on the Office of Human Resources website to apply.
- Next, Academic Affairs is assessing interest in a pilot program that is under consideration to provide virtual tutoring support for K-12 children of faculty, staff and students. We encourage anyone with an interest to fill out the brief survey.
- Finally, the University has invested in an institutional membership in Care.com, a secure online digital platform that connects individuals and caregivers. Additional information will be provided to faculty and staff regarding this benefit and how to access it in the coming weeks.
To learn more about caregiving resources, please refer to the message recently sent from Interim Provost John Liu and Chief Human Resources Officer Andrew R. Gordon.
Daily Health Screening Questionnaire for Faculty and Staff Updated: Faculty and staff may notice that a new question was added to the Daily Health Screening Questionnaire that we all complete each day before coming to campus. The questionnaire now asks you to indicate whether you will physically be at a Syracuse University location that day before proceeding to questions about symptoms of and exposure to COVID-19. This update will help strengthen and streamline reporting on the daily health screening results. Additionally, your school, college or administrative unit may ask you to complete the form every day that you work, regardless of whether you will be at a Syracuse University location. As a reminder, you are required to complete the questionnaire each day that you come to campus or any other Syracuse University facility, no matter how briefly, and without any exceptions.
We will continue to communicate information related to new and updated resources positioned to support our students, faculty and staff. I remain impressed with and proud of our community, given the many different ways we’re working together to teach, learn and work in this environment of unprecedented uncertainty. Thank you.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation