Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families: The start of the spring semester is quickly approaching, and many in our community are working diligently to prepare for the return of our students and to safely resume in-person teaching and learning. We…
New Provisions in Place to Prevent Spread Beyond Emerging Cluster
Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families:
As communicated earlier today, the University is currently taking action to address what our investigation suggests is an emerging cluster of COVID cases, associated with one or more off-campus gatherings that took place late last week. As of this writing, our clinical and surveillance testing indicates as many as 45 positive COVID cases associated with last week’s off-campus gathering, and we fully expect to confirm additional cases in the days to come.
In response, and in consultation with the Onondaga County Health Department, we have taken aggressive action to organize immediate testing and quarantine of close contacts associated with all those newly confirmed COVID-positive cases, and we have enhanced surveillance testing of the off-campus student population. At the same time, our Student Experience and Barnes Center teams are now focused on supporting a significant number of students who must now enter isolation or quarantine status.
We ask that any student who suspects exposure stemming from social gatherings on Walnut Avenue last week or over the weekend, to report to the testing center at the Stadium beginning tomorrow at 10 a.m.
This is a serious situation, and as I said in my previous message, it will take quick and coordinated cooperation of the entire campus community to prevent this situation from expanding beyond our ability to control. To that end, to further contain the spread of COVID-19 on campus, and to allow sufficient time for the contact tracing team to identify and isolate instances of potential exposure, the University is directing these immediate actions:
1. Until further notice, all in-person student activities, with the exception of classes, associated coursework and intercollegiate athletics, are paused temporarily. This includes all student organization and University-sponsored events, such as Orange After Dark, University Union, the Barnes Center at The Arch (and all satellite indoor and outdoor recreation facilities and activities), Tennity Ice Pavilion, Greek life and other school/college/student organization-sponsored activities. For the time being, many of these activities will transition to online modalities. Please be sure to visit the University’s events calendar to identify virtual activities and events. In the meantime, students may continue to:
- Schedule appointments to visit the Barnes Center and/or Flanagan for health or counseling appointments;
- Schedule and attend flu clinic appointments;
- Access dining services, including at cafés and campus express;
- Use libraries and other academic support spaces to continue their studies; and
- Attend academic and support related appointments (e.g. financial aid counselor, academic advisor).
2. Until further notice, the provision of the Stay Safe Pledge that allows for social gatherings of 25 individuals or less is amended such that, with the exception of classroom activity, social gatherings on- and off-campus may not exceed five individuals who do not live together.
3. For the time being, we are asking and strongly encouraging Greek houses to adopt a “no-visitors” policy (beyond those who reside in those houses), akin to the policy in place for on-campus residence halls.
4. Until further notice, we are asking all students to remain vigilant and rededicate themselves to best health practices, including social distancing and the use of face coverings.
Finally, we are aware that some of our students have hosted outside visitors in recent days and weeks. Please, as a reminder to our students, their families and friends: The University continues to ask parents, families and friends to refrain from visiting Central New York for at least the duration of this semester.
The University will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available. In the meantime, please be accountable to protect yourself, each other and our community.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation