Dear Faculty and Staff: The resurgence of the COVID-19 virus around our country is intensifying on the heels of holiday travel and gatherings. Here in Onondaga County, we are experiencing rising infection rates and an uptick in hospitalizations. In response,…
New Restrictions in Place To Curb Spread of COVID-19
Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families:
Syracuse University continues to experience a troubling increase in new COVID-19 cases, particularly within our student population. Unlike our past experiences this semester, contact tracing does not suggest that these new cases are linked to any specific event or gathering.
Instead, Syracuse University’s Public Health Team believes that the increasing rate of infection we are currently experiencing can be attributed to two factors. First, the rising levels of COVID-19 cases confirmed across Central New York, and second, the understandable fatigue but ill-advised complacency on the part of some in our community who are not fully adhering to public health guidelines.
Given these developments, the University’s Public Health Team has strongly recommended that the University take additional action to curb the spread of COVID-19 on our campus, and also ensure that our students have the opportunity to plan a safe departure from campus.
Until further notice, the University will implement the following:
- All in-person student activities including the following are paused:
- all student organization and University-sponsored events, such as Orange After Dark, University Union and Tennity Ice Pavilion;
- all Greek life activities; and
- all other school/college/student organization-sponsored activities.
- No student gatherings or events, both on and off campus, may exceed five individuals who do not live together.
- We have suspended prior plans to dismantle the tents spread throughout campus for the winter; those tents will remain up and available for classes and office hours, and as general convening spaces for students, faculty and others;
- Beginning, Tuesday, Nov. 10, dining halls will suspend in-person dining; instead all meals will be served via grab and go;
- Greek houses are encouraged to prohibit individuals (beyond those who reside in those houses) from visiting their properties.
- All students are reminded of the critical importance of following all measures of the Stay Safe Pledge and are asked to dedicate themselves to best health practices, including social distancing and the use of face coverings, for the remainder of the semester.
Activities Not Paused
In the meantime, students may continue to:
- Attend in-person classes;
- Participate in COVID-19 testing;
- Schedule appointments to visit the Barnes Center and/or Flanagan for health or counseling services;
- Work out at the Barnes Center at The Arch and its satellite indoor and outdoor recreation facilities and services (Hours may be adjusted; call ahead or visit the Wellness Portal.);
- Use libraries and other academic support spaces to continue studies;
- Schedule academic and academic support-related appointments (e.g. financial aid counselor, academic advisor); and
- Participate in intercollegiate athletics.
As a reminder: If you are feeling sick, do not leave your residence. Instead, contact the Barnes Center by phone at 315.443.8000. Faculty and staff with cold/flu-like symptoms should call their primary care physician.
Classes to Move Online on Monday, Nov. 16
We have become aware that for a variety of reasons, some students plan to depart campus prior to the scheduled end of classes on Nov. 24. For that reason and given the current public health situation in Central New York and within our campus community, students and families have requested that the University provide enhanced flexibility to support a safe departure from campus. Beginning Monday, Nov. 16, we will shift all residential instruction to an online format for the remainder of the semester. This decision is guided by our desire to support our students and their parents/families in their efforts to travel safely ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Students will need to follow all checkout procedures, including turning in their keys and having their room inspected before departure. The Office of Student Living will provide more details to students (and their families) living in on-campus housing about the move-out process.
Get Tested Before Leaving Campus
As students plan their travel, we want to emphasize that being tested for COVID-19 is required before departure from campus. This is the right thing to do for yourself, your family and the community you call home. To accommodate students who may plan to depart campus early, we have accelerated our pre-departure testing program. Here is everything you need to know:
- Timing: You should plan to be tested three days prior to your planned departure from campus.
- IMPORTANT: If you plan to depart campus early (prior to the formal end of classes on Nov. 24) please indicate your planned departure date at the time of testing.
- Time: Testing is available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the stadium. We will announce expanded weekend hours later this week.
- Location: Enter the stadium through Gate N, stay to the right and follow the signs to the testing center.
- Appointments: No appointments are necessary; simply bring your SU I.D. and show up at a time that is convenient for you.
- Preparation: Do not eat, drink or brush your teeth for 30 minutes prior to testing.
- Safety Reminder: You must wear a face mask or covering when you arrive at the testing site. If you are experiencing symptoms or suspect you have been exposed to the virus, do not go the stadium—instead contact the Barnes Center at 315.443.8000.
- Type of Test: The test itself is a saliva swab, and the entire process only takes a few minutes.
- Delivery of Results: You will receive confirmation of a negative result via email. Individuals who return a positive test result will be notified by phone.
Campus Density—Faculty and Staff
Our campus has continued to operate at significantly reduced density since the pandemic began. At this time, there are no recommendations to further reduce density among faculty and staff. This is especially true because many of our staff continue to work under flexible arrangements, including remote working and limited time on campus. As always, any faculty or staff member with questions or concerns should discuss their unique circumstances with their immediate supervisor.
As shared on Friday, the New York State Department of Health met with Central New York officials over the weekend to discuss potential new measures to mitigate the local spread of COVID-19 in our community. We expect to know more about further state and county restrictions soon and will share more information then.
Please continue to stay safe, take appropriate precautions and look out for yourself and those around you. Now, more than ever, we need our students, faculty and staff to recommit to our collective goal—ensuring the health and safety of everyone in our community.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation
Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost