Five faculty members have each received $10,000 New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Individual Artist grants to carry out creative projects, including several that have a focus on public service in the arts. NYSCA also awarded a $40,000…
COVID-19 Update: Continued Assessment of Masking Guidance
Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families:
In recent weeks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, the Onondaga County executive, and many of our national and New York state peer institutions have announced significant changes to public health guidelines. Primarily, these changes relate to reduced indoor masking requirements, including the elimination of mask mandates for children attending K-12 public schools across New York state.
Here on the Syracuse University campus, we continue to pursue a public health policy that is aligned with local conditions and local data. Accordingly, I’m writing today to announce that, conditions permitting, the University will transition on Monday, March 14, to the “Yellow” level on the COVID masking framework. This action would align our masking practices on campus with the most recent guidance from the CDC, and those in place in the local community and around the country.
Under the “Yellow” masking level:
- Masks are REQUIRED for all unvaccinated students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus indoors at all times, and outdoors when in the presence of others.
- Masks are RECOMMENDED for vaccinated students, faculty, staff and visitors while indoors in the presence of others, and outdoors in large group settings.
In addition to the recent changes on masking announced by the CDC and New York State, there are several other indicators and metrics informing this action, including:
- Vaccination and booster policy compliance rates are extremely high—for students, 98%, for faculty, 100% and for staff, 99%.
- The number of COVID hospitalizations in Onondaga County has dropped to its lowest number since September 2021.
- The number of patients in intensive care locally dropped to the lowest point in five months.
- We continue to experience very low positivity rates from our random surveillance testing program, averaging between 0.9% and 2.1% over the past five weeks.
Please note that Syracuse University will continue to offer free and on-demand COVID testing to students, faculty, staff and families. Further, we will also continue our random surveillance testing program and wastewater testing of our residence halls. However, to further ease the COVID-related requirements for fully vaccinated individuals, we will begin to reduce the number of vaccinated individuals required to test each week, while prioritizing ongoing testing for vaccine-exempt individuals. Please visit the Stay Safe website for the most up-to-date testing hours.
The action we’re announcing today is possible because of our community’s commitment to good public health practices—particularly the overwhelming campus community compliance with the University’s COVID vaccination and booster requirement.
Thank you for your continued commitment to the health and wellness of our community.
J. Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation