Whitney Phillips, assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, wrote an op-ed for Wired titled “We Need to Talk About Talking About QAnon.” Phillips, an expert on social media,…
Dashboard Update, New State Dashboard and Important Reminders
Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families:
Over the last several days, Syracuse University has administered nearly 15,000 COVID-19 tests across campus, and we will continue testing students through Friday as part of our second round of on-campus surveillance. I’m pleased that more than 80 percent of our students have participated since last Tuesday. If you have not yet been tested during this second round of all-student COVID-19 testing, you can do so until Friday either on the Quad, or at the Skybarn on South Campus.
The good news is that the vast majority of this testing is returning negative results. However, we have experienced an uptick in new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past few days. Specifically, we are currently reporting 23 active cases in Central New York (CNY), 13 of which are new since Monday. We are also currently reporting 91 students in quarantine. That is the highest number of new cases and quarantined students we have recorded since the start of the semester. Accordingly, I want to explain what we currently understand related to this troubling trend.
It appears that the majority of these new cases can be traced back to travel over Labor Day weekend, and specifically a relatively small number of individuals who traveled to visit friends on other college campuses. While traveling, those individuals were exposed to the virus, and subsequently brought the virus back to our campus upon return. This is a disappointing outcome and should drive home the fragility of our campus bubble, and the risks associated with risky travel away from CNY.
We have acted quickly in response to this situation and feel confident that close contacts of these positive cases have been identified and quarantined. However, the latest test results are a reminder that we must remain vigilant. The threat of COVID-19 remains real and individuals who engage in high-risk travel and then return to campus put our community and our campus at risk.
To keep the community informed as to the situation on campus, the University will continue to update our COVID-19 dashboard three times per week. Additionally, we learned yesterday that the State of New York is in the process of creating its own dashboard, that will include school-by-school data reported by colleges and universities across the state. We will update the community related to this new tool as soon as we receive additional information from the state as to the format and planned launch date for this new resource.
Please continue to be vigilant and be accountable to each other. As always, thank you to all those members of our community who have committed to the behaviors and sacrifices necessary to keep everyone safe.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation