Important Update About the Return to Campus Plan for Faculty and Staff (May 21)
To promote social distancing, reduce campus density and ensure the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing capabilities, faculty and staff will return to campus using a phased approach. For an outline of this approach and a preview of what you can expect in terms of upcoming communication and guidance, read the full memo here.
Fall Semester to Follow Accelerated Academic Calendar (May 20)
Subject to guidance from New York State and public health officials, we are planning to be open for residential instruction this fall. The fall 2020 semester is expected to follow this schedule:
- Monday, Aug. 24: Residential instruction will begin (students living in on-campus housing will receive notification of their move-in date).
- Tuesday, Nov. 24: Residential instruction will conclude.
- Wednesday, Nov. 25: The in-person instructional semester will conclude, and students depart for Thanksgiving break (students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving break).
- Monday, Nov. 30-Wednesday, Dec. 9: Review sessions, reading days and final exams will be administered virtually.
Fall 2020 Planning (May 13)
Interim Provost John Liu provides an important update regarding:
- Fall 2020 Open Working Group
- Course Preparation for the 2020-21 Academic Year
- Research and Scholarship Support
- First-Year Seminar Curriculum Development
The University continues evaluating the health situation and University practices to ensure that we are supporting staff during these challenging times. We have identified a set of frequently asked questions to guide staff, as well as their managers, with navigating this truly unprecedented time.
Building Access: Building access remains limited to essential business only. All other use of University space is strictly prohibited through at least May 15. The following provides guidance regarding such access:
- Faculty and staff who have been deemed “essential” have access to the buildings and University-owned properties in which their duties must be performed.
- Essential faculty or staff working with others on campus should maintain safe social distancing of at least six feet. Meetings should be conducted online if possible.
- Non-essential faculty and staff who need to access their office or other University space to retrieve items needed for remote work must notify their supervisor of the date, time and purpose of their visit to such space prior to the visit. Supervisors should determine appropriate alternatives when possible.
- Campus recreation facilities, gymnasiums and fields are closed.
South Campus Access: Effective March 16, anyone entering or exiting South Campus must do so through the welcome center located off East Colvin Street (Skytop Road from East Colvin). Employees, students and guests will be required to show or swipe their identification card at the welcome center to gain access to South Campus. This access restriction will not prevent cleared visitors, meetings, deliveries or scheduled bus service.
Solutions for Working Remotely: Information Technology Services (ITS) is working with partners across campus to ease the transition to teaching, studying and working online. For example, the new Remote Desktop Services (RDS) provides remote access to a Windows 10 operating system complete with University-licensed software applications. This service is intended for Syracuse University students, faculty and staff who have a stable broadband internet connection but do not have a pre-existing method for working remotely. You can learn about the new Remote Desktop Services, as well as other remote access solutions, on Answers.
IT Security Awareness: The changes in work structure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have created more opportunities for hackers and phishers to access the personal data of our students, faculty, staff and alumni. Please be even more vigilant than usual in identifying phishing emails, scams and attempts to gain access to home-based systems. The ITS Information Security Department has some security guidelines to help you keep your home computer, personal data and the data of the University safe from hackers. If you have any questions or feel that you have been the victim of a scam or phishing attack, please contact the Information Security department at email@example.com.
Guidance for Researchers: (Issued March 22, 2020) As national and statewide mandates increase to control the spread of COVID-19, University recommendations and requirements are also changing.
Interim Sick Leave Policy: Faculty and staff who are directed by a health care professional to self-quarantine due to suspected COVID-19 exposure will not be required to use their personal sick leave during the self-quarantine period. We do this so that those who are directed to self-isolate or quarantine by a health care professional can do so without concern about their sick leave or pay. If you have questions about this policy, contact HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expanded Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Coverage: Syracuse University, in partnership with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, has expanded coverage for faculty and staff enrolled in its health plans to include telemedicine. Effective immediately, if a member’s health care provider, including a behavioral health provider, offers virtual (online) options for care, those services will be covered under the health plan. Effective April 1, members will also have access to MDLIVE, a national telehealth provider that provides patients with 24/7 access to a network of board-certified doctors, pediatricians and licensed therapists that can treat more than 50 non-emergency conditions, including providing behavioral health services, via a computer or mobile device. See the Office of Human Resources’ frequently asked questions for additional information.
Wellness Resources and Opportunities: The recent Wellness Initiative email to faculty and staff highlights upcoming virtual wellness programs, the opportunity to recognize a colleague with a shoutout, Carebridge webinars relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic and more. Faculty and staff are encouraged to remain aware of and engage in Wellness Initiative offerings as their schedules allow.
Carebridge Resources: The Human Resources website has been updated to include supplemental resources from Carebridge to assist our faculty and staff as we all navigate the unique challenges related to COVID-19. In particular, Carebridge is providing resources to support employees and leaders in reducing the risk for illness, tending to the needs of loved ones while remaining focused and productive with work responsibilities.
New Library Resources: Syracuse University Libraries has recently added two important online subscriptions: The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Access is available to all students, faculty and staff with a valid Syracuse University NetID and @syr.edu email address, from which you can establish an online account. Instructions and additional information are provided on news.syr.edu.
United Way Support Opportunities: COVID-19 has created an unprecedented time of need in our local Central New York community. I have heard from many of you asking how you can support our community despite the social distancing requirements. There are many opportunities to give back, including Syracuse University’s annual United Way of Central New York campaign. Donations can be made at any time on MySlice. Given the current immediate need, United Way of Central New York has partnered with local organizations and governments to create a COVID-19 Community Support Fund, which is designed to rapidly deploy flexible resources to nonprofits whose operations support vulnerable populations stressed by the outbreak. Donations can be made online at www.cnycf.org/covid19. United Way of Central New York is also registering volunteers and coordinating opportunities via its initiative VolunteerCNY.
Disbursement Processing: There have been rumors that the Syracuse University Disbursements Processing Department has temporarily suspended operations. This is not the case. The Disbursements Processing Department is operating throughout the University’s temporary move to remote work. The department continues to ensure that vendors are paid for goods and services procured by University faculty, staff and students. Weekly disbursement runs will continue. The department encourages all those seeking disbursements to submit them electronically by emailing email@example.com. However, in cases where there is no other alternative, hard copy disbursements will be accepted each Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Comptroller’s Office at 640 Skytop Road.
Testing for COVID-19:
- The Onondaga County Department of Health is the lead agency managing COVID-19 testing locally.
- If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, stay home and call your doctor. If you are older, have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised, call your doctor early, even if your illness is mild. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and order the test if needed. Only patients with a referral will be tested. In an emergency, call 911.
- If you do not have a doctor and have questions, symptoms or may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, call Upstate University Hospital’s Triage Line at 315.464.3979 and you will be advised about testing. The line is open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day.
- If you are tested for COVID-19, you will be notified of negative test results by the office that administered the test. By emergency order, anyone who is tested must self-quarantine until they receive a negative test result.
Sick and Personal Leaves: The University provides paid sick and personal leaves for benefits eligible staff. It is our collective responsibility to look out for the health and well-being of our fellow community members. As such, if you’re exhibiting symptoms, consistent with the coronavirus, the flu or other respiratory illness, you should not come to work. If you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, you should not be at work and you should contact your primary care physician. The frequently asked questions supplement already published documentation regarding the University’s benefits, including paid time off (sick, personal, vacation), disability and family leaves.
Health Benefits: We have been in close contact with the University’s health benefit providers to ensure we continue to provide high quality, comprehensive coverage. Questions on coverage can be directed to our dedicated phone representatives at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (800.493.0318 or TTY: 800.662.1220) and OptumRx (866.854.2945 or TTY: 711). Additional benefit provider contact information can be found on the HR Contact website. For general benefit questions, contact the HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty who have questions about transitioning in-person instruction to online teaching, contact your school/college IT department to coordinate support and training with Information Technology Services and other units, and the Center for Teaching and Learning for teaching support.