It’s officially called the Summer Literacy Clinic, but there’s much more to it than one-on-one reading and tutoring. True, when you enter the library of Roberts PreK-8 School in the Syracuse City School District (SCSD), you see third- and fourth-grade…
Ongoing Efforts to Manage COVID-19
I am writing this afternoon to call your attention to the message you recently received from Mike Haynie, vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation, and to provide a few additional thoughts on our ongoing efforts to manage COVID-19.
First, I want to highlight a few key points:
- Active cases: The University is tracking 15 active cases among our faculty and staff, and 34 among our students as of today. These are students who have tested positive and submitted their test result to the Barnes Center at The Arch. If one of your students reports a positive test result, you will receive notification from the Office of Student Outreach and Retention (SOaR). Students who report positive results are eligible to receive an excused absence. I understand from many of you that you are receiving emails from students, some with photos of a positive test result. If this happens, I encourage you to remind your students that they are required to contact the Barnes Center. Notifying the Barnes Center of a positive test result is the only pathway for our students to receive an excused absence from class.
- Boosters: The Bivalent booster is available. Some of you have shared with me that other universities are making the booster available. Please note, all states have been tasked with implementing their own booster distribution plans. While some states have included universities in their respective plans, New York State’s distribution efforts do not yet include universities. Instead, the state is prioritizing distributing the Bivalent booster to pharmacy networks. We encourage everyone who is eligible to sign up for a booster. Visit the CDC’s Vaccine Finder webpage or your preferred pharmacy to make an appointment. As a reminder, you are eligible to receive the booster if it has been at least two months since your previous booster dose, or two months since you completed your initial primary vaccine series.
- Public Health Guidance: Our public health guidance continues to follow recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health and the Onondaga County Health Department. As the University has since COVID-19 was first detected in the United States, we will continue to adhere to all guidance as directed by public health authorities. This includes as it relates to testing, masking and isolation protocols.
Now, I’d like to provide reminders on a few important topics in the context of COVID-19.
Excused Absence Policy
As in past semesters, students who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate. You will receive an absence notification from the staff in SOaR for students who have to miss class for more than 48 hours. For privacy reasons, those notifications will not include a medical diagnosis. Your student may communicate with you directly before you receive the absence notification.
Faculty are required to provide students who are in isolation with the means to keep up with the rest of the class so that they can successfully resume their participation when their isolation period is over. You are free to decide how you do this in the manner most fitting for your classes. Many faculty choose to livestream or record their classes for students in isolation—though this is not required. Our students have indicated clearly that this is their preferred option and I encourage you to give it serious consideration. Nearly all of our teaching spaces are equipped for both streaming and recording classes. Please don’t hesitate to contact your school or college’s IT team if you need help setting this up.
Our immunocompromised students may have sought and secured accommodations through the Center for Disability Resources (CDR). All faculty are obliged to follow the University’s policies and federal law related to serving students with disabilities. The Disability Faculty Portal, located in the Faculty Services field in MySlice, can be used to view accommodation letters for your students, upload exams and assignments, and provide feedback to CDR.
Testing Positive for COVID
As a reminder, if you test positive for COVID, you should notify your department chair and HR Shared Services by phone at 315.443.4042. If your school does not have departments, please notify your dean. If you are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and you want to continue teaching your classes online, you may do so. Otherwise, you should work with your department chair or dean to arrange for alternate instruction.
Close Contact Exposure
Finally, the CDC continues to recommend that anyone in close contact to a COVID positive individual should wear a mask while in public for a period of five days following exposure. As our campus policy is aligned with CDC guidance, we ask that all members of our campus community adhere to this guidance. Faculty members should feel free to remind students of this policy in their classroom.
Let me close by extending my deep gratitude to our faculty and staff for their continued support of our students and our community. Because of you, we continue to provide the Orange experience our students expect and enjoy. At the same time, please know that I recognize that for many in our community, COVID remains a significant concern. We will continue to follow the guidance and directive of public health authorities, and provide updates to our community as there are changes to guidance or new developments. Let us continue to support each other as part of a caring community.
Many thanks to you all for your hard work, tenacity and commitment to Syracuse University. I hope your semester is successful and productive.
Vice Chancellor, Provost and Chief Academic Officer