Dear Students and Families: Congratulations—we crossed the threshold of the midway point of the fall semester earlier this week! I hope you’ll take time this weekend to recharge your batteries, connect with friends and burn off some stress. The activities…
Chancellor Syverud Provides Updates on Fall Planning, COVID-19 and Leadership Searches in University Senate Remarks
In his remarks to the University Senate today, Chancellor Kent Syverud provided a preview of fall planning, updated the Senate on recent developments regarding COVID-19 and the progress of leadership searches. The full text of his remarks is below.
Thanks, Marcelle. I will take less than three minutes. We are now mid-way through the spring semester. Congratulations to the Syracuse University women’s and men’s basketball teams on their performance in the NCAA tournament–arguably, together, they have had the best performance of any school in the ACC.
On Fall Semester Planning
Aug. 30 will be the first day of classes for the Fall 2021 semester. We are adhering to the published academic calendar and are planning for a full range of in-person classes and activities this August.
I ask that we all plan around this assumption, even though it is not likely that we will be fully through every aspect of the pandemic.
We will continue to follow the best public health guidance in the summer and fall and ensure that we are caring for those who remain at risk. We will also do everything possible to support our international students, recognizing that the visa process remains very challenging in many parts of the world. And we will continue to support those who will still need to pursue their academics remotely.
It’s too soon to know exactly what COVID-19 will look like six months from now, but with improving conditions and continued optimism on the part of elected officials we work with, I expect we will return, by August, to a full range of in person classes and experiences.
And, we still need to manage through the rest of this semester. It still has challenges and surprises in store for us, as the virus has all along. The public health team has been tracking a cluster of cases in several of our residence halls. While the University is no longer forced to go “on pause” with 100 positive tests in a fixed two-week period, we are nevertheless being cautious. As promised, we have taken action well before we reach the new metric of 880 positive tests over a rolling two-week period. These recent steps include transitioning to grab-and-go dining and closing lounges in several residence halls. We are also requiring our on-campus students on North Campus to participate in testing twice a week. Additional steps will be taken if necessary, we are monitoring this situation very closely. Peer institutions like Duke and Cornell have experienced large outbreaks. So we know things can change quickly, and we have to stay vigilant.
Vaccine production and distribution is ramping up. More groups are becoming eligible for receiving vaccinations. This includes our staff and faculty who report to campus for work. Soon there will be widespread access to vaccines, bringing us closer to a return to normality.
Finally, I want to confirm to all that the provost search is well underway. I appreciate everyone who has participated in dialogue during the discussion sessions around campus. We are on track to conduct interviews in May and announce the new provost this summer. And, the senior vice president for the student experience search also is well underway. It attracted a robust and diverse pool of candidates. Excellent progress there. This search is on track to be completed in late spring.
That’s my report, thank you.