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Frequently Asked Questions

Flu Shots

To protect individuals – students, faculty, staff and neighbors in our broader community from the danger of concurrent outbreaks of the flu and COVID-19.

Efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, have led to decreased use of routine preventive medical services, including immunization services. Ensuring that people continue or start getting routine vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for protecting people and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks, including flu. Routine vaccination prevents illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits and hospitalizations, which further strain the healthcare system.

A flu vaccine may also provide several individual health benefits, including keeping you from getting sick with flu, reducing the severity of your illness if you do get flu and reducing your risk of a flu-associated hospitalization.

Finally, it is possible to get COVID-19 and flu at the same time.  While we don’t know exactly what might happen to an individual infected with both viruses, it would likely be severe. Therefore, the flu vaccine is a step that individuals can take to protect themselves.

To ensure that we can swiftly and accurately diagnose suspected cases of COVID-19.

Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. 

If an individual with symptoms has been vaccinated against the flu, it allows health care providers to move more proactively to test for COVID-19 and limit its spread through tracking and contact tracing.

To avoid putting strain on the Syracuse medical community’s resources.

Receiving the vaccine will help to ensure that the seasonal flu does not reduce health care resources for those in need of care during a pandemic. 

To follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and fulfill the commitments made in our July 17, 2020 plan submitted to the New York State Department of Health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months receive a flu vaccine every season. During the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the overall burden of respiratory illnesses is important to protect vulnerable populations at risk for severe illness, the healthcare system, and other critical infrastructure.

To increase the likelihood that the fall 2020 semester is completed in-person and that we are permitted to resume in-person instruction in January.

Because of the unknowns about how the flu and COVID-19 will interact, the flu vaccine will help to eliminate the uncertainties as we work toward solutions, including a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Flu Shots (For Students)

Ensuring that people continue or start getting routine vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for protecting people and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks, including flu.  Routine vaccination prevents illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits and hospitalizations, which further strain the healthcare system. 

For the upcoming flu season, flu vaccination will also be important to help reduce the overall impact of respiratory illnesses on the population and thus lessen the resulting burden on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, it also supports early diagnosis of COVID-19 should a student present with similar symptoms.

A flu vaccine may also provide several individual health benefits, including keeping you from getting sick with flu, reducing the severity of your illness if you do get flu and reducing your risk of a flu-associated hospitalization. 

All students, including those who live on campus and those who live off campus and will use campus facilities (libraries, Barnes Center, etc.), are required to get a flu vaccine. In addition, students currently studying remotely for Fall 2020, but are returning for Spring 2021, are required to get a flu vaccine.

The only exceptions to this requirement are students who need a medical or religious exemption or those who plan to study remotely and will not access campus for the entire 2020-21 academic year.

Beginning Oct. 5, and continuing throughout the month, the flu clinic will be offered Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. at two locations, the Stadium and Skybarn on South Campus.

Students must submit proof prior to their first day on campus. This means prior to moving into your on-campus housing if you are a residential student or prior to your first day accessing campus facilities if you are an off-campus student (e.g. attending in-person classes; using libraries, Barnes Center or other campus resource; working at your on-campus job.)

  • Log into the Patient Portal with your SU NetID and password
  • Select ‘Appts’ on the home screen
  • In the drop-down section:
    • Under ‘Clinic,’ select ‘Health Clinic’
    • Under ‘Reason,’ select ‘Flu Shot Appointment 2020’
    • Under ‘Provider,’ select the location for your appointment (Stadium or Skybarn)
    • Select ‘Submit’
  • Select your appointment date and time (no more than 72 hours in advance)

The flu clinic is provided at no cost to students. Your pharmacy benefit (prescription card) will be billed for the flu vaccine. In the event there is a remaining balance from your insurance, you will not be responsible for that balance.

  • Review the Vaccine Information Sheet
  • Download, print and sign the flu vaccine consent form
  • Complete the daily health screening in the Patient Portal prior to arriving to campus (If you are not cleared to come to campus, you should not attend the flu clinic)
  • Bring your pharmacy benefit card (prescription card) and health insurance card with you to your appointment.
  • Once you arrive, check yourself in using the Patient Portal.

No. While the University is offering a flu clinic, students can obtain their flu shot through another medical provider or at a pharmacy. If you get your shot elsewhere, you must provide proof of your vaccine in the Patient Portal.

  • Log into the Patient Portal with your SU NetID and password
  • Select ‘Upload’ on the home screen
  • Follow the upload instructions
  • In the drop-down section, select ‘Flu Vaccine Documentation’
  • Select the file with your proof of vaccination to upload

You must have received your flu vaccination after July 1, 2020.

If you have already submitted a waiver for another vaccination, you do not need to take any further action. If you do not have a waiver form on file, you must upload the form and supporting documentation into the Patient Portal:

  • Log in to the Patient Portal with your SU NetID and password.
  • Select “Forms” from the main menu.
  • Under Student Forms, select the “Medical-Religious Waiver” form to print the waiver to sign.
  • Once you have signed the waiver and added required supporting documentation, select “Upload” on the home screen.
  • Follow the upload instructions.
  • In the drop-down section, select “Medical or Religious Waiver Form.”
  • Select the completed waiver file to upload.

Students Living Off-Campus

If you are arriving to your off-campus residence after Sunday, Aug. 23, please contact sucovid@syr.edu to schedule your arrival COVID screening prior to beginning in-person classes or attending your first on-campus engagement.

As a reminder, if you are traveling from a state listed in the New York State travel advisory or from outside the United States (excluding Canada), you must complete your 14-day self-quarantine before accessing on-campus privileges. Please complete the student affirmation of self-quarantine form emailed to you. Students arriving from states listed in the New York State travel advisory must also complete the New York State Traveler Health Form.

  • Important Note: If you are from a state impacted by the travel advisory or coming from outside the U.S., but you have resided in a state not impacted by the travel advisory, or within New York, you should still certify your compliance on the student affirmation of self-quarantine form.
  • Important Note: If you were required to comply with the quarantine requirement and have not yet completed the student affirmation of self-quarantine form and provided it to the University, you will NOT be permitted to access on-campus privileges. Please complete the form that was emailed to you prior to arriving on campus.
  • Important Note: If your quarantine plans are such that you need to begin your classes remotely, please arrange with your professors and transition to in-person attendance once you are cleared to access campus.

Important Information about Student Testing

Students’ campus access privileges are contingent upon proof of a negative test result taken within a 10-day window prior to returning to campus. For students living off campus: your test must be administered within a 10-day window prior to your first day of classes (or your first on-campus engagement), and you must provide the test results to the University prior to your first day of classes (or your first on-campus engagement). The University will use the SU I.D. card system to track and enforce participation in testing protocols. Students who fail to provide a negative result will have their SU I.D. cards “turned off” until results are provided.

Regardless of where students reside, the University will use the SU I.D. card system to track and enforce student participation in testing protocols. Campus access privileges will be restricted using this system if students are not in compliance with testing requirements.

Students can submit COVID-19 test results/documentation by logging into the Student Patient Portal. Log in using your SU NetID and password, click “Upload Forms,” select “COVID-19 Documents” and follow upload instructions.

If a student has tested positive for COVID-19 within the past eight weeks, such test results should be uploaded to the Student Patient Portal. Log in using your SU NetID and password, click “Upload Forms,” select “COVID-19 Documents,” and follow upload instructions.

No, antibody tests cannot replace a COVID test. All students must submit evidence of a negative COVID test.

We anticipate that there will be some students who will not participate in in-person classes at all. This group includes international students who are unable to travel to Syracuse and some domestic students whose medical conditions make it unwise for them to attend in-person classes. Because many, if not most, classes will include students who are unable to attend in-person classes, courses must be made fully accessible to such students, including—to the extent possible—synchronous learning opportunities. Importantly, however, if a student opts for an online semester and to remain in a location other than Syracuse, New York, for public health reasons, their access to campus will be limited (given that those individuals would not be part of the ongoing testing and monitoring procedures in place for the residential student population).

It is important to note that international students face restrictions on the number of online courses that they can take while remaining in the United States. These students should consult their advisors or the Center for International Services before finalizing their class schedule.

Students are expected to abide by all federal, state, local and University public health directives, including guidance related to social distancing and gatherings. Similar to the engagement opportunities we offered students at the end of the spring semester, we will continue to offer students opportunities to engage socially, in-person and virtually. Opportunities will continue to be offered through the Office of Student Activities, Orange After Dark, University Union and other departments to offer our students healthy, fun ways to engage while following public health protocols.

Masks and Face Coverings

Syracuse University requires face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus, in the presence of others, in public settings, indoors and outdoors.

Yes. Any individual accessing our campus—including visitors and contractors—is required to wear a mask or face covering while in the presence of others and in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. In addition, the University plans to limit campus visitors during the fall semester. According to health experts, visitors to campus from outside Central New York pose a risk of virus transmission to the University community (given that those individuals would not be subject to the ongoing testing and monitoring procedures in place for the residential campus community and CNY residents). For this reason, visitors and guests from outside Central New York will generally be restricted from accessing residence halls and other campus facilities.

Yes. 

Syracuse University’s policy is to wear mask and maintain at least six feet of social distance. Face shields cannot be used instead of face masks. They do not cover the mouth and nose in the same way as face masks. They can be used as an additional level of protection, but not instead of face masks. If an instructor finds it useful to use faces shields instead of face masks for the purpose of lip reading during teaching, they must maintain at least six feet of distance from students while wearing the face shield.

It is a shared responsibility. We must all do our part to protect ourselves and each other. During the COVID-19 health emergency, wearing a mask is not only an action designed to protect you from exposure to the virus, but it is also a visible sign that each member of our campus community is doing our part to safeguard the health and wellness of others.

In addition, all students, faculty and staff will be asked to sign the Stay Safe Pledge promising to abide by important health and safety precautions. Students who fail to adhere to campuswide safety protocols may be subject to penalties under the Code of Student Conduct based on the circumstances of the behavior. The Stay Safe Pledge is publicly posted on the Fall 2020 website.

The University is actively planning a robust communications campaign to inform and educate students on the health and safety directives we expect them to uphold as members of our community. We are also working closely with student leaders on a campaign to help promote healthy behaviors, such as mask wearing and social distancing. All of our sponsored student activities and programs will be held in a manner that abides by the health and safety directives. Students who do not abide by federal, state, local and University public health directives may be referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for violations of the Code of Student Conduct. As with any conduct violation, the complaint can be made by a student, staff or faculty member.

Housing

You should first complete this questionnaire to confirm your intention to take your courses fully online, and then email the Housing, Meal Plan, and I.D. Card Services Office (housing@syr.edu) to confirm your distance-learning status. The Housing Office will cancel your Fall 2020 housing and meal plan. The charges will be credited back to your account in approximately 7-10 business days.

It depends. Your housing assignment for Fall 2020 will be cancelled, so it is not guaranteed for Spring 2021. For example, your room assignment might be given to another student who is living on campus for the fall semester. You will need to take part in the housing reapplication process in the fall so that the Housing Office knows you plan to return to campus in January. If you choose to return to campus in the spring, Housing staff will work with you to place you in or around your original assignment and near your desired location.

Yes, you will be able to receive a prorated room and board credit dated to the day you left your on-campus housing assignment, provided that you move all of your belongings out of your residence, follow check-out procedures as instructed, and return your key before you leave.

Email housing@syr.edu with your late arrival date, and the Housing Office will mark that date in their system and share it with the Office of Student Living.

Due to the uncertain nature of the pandemic, the Housing Office will hold your housing assignment for three weeks after the start of classes.

You would first need to register with the Center for Disability Resources (CDR - formerly the Office of Disability Services). If approved, the CDR will alert you that you are eligible to participate in the COVID Medical Consideration process, and will be able to request a housing relocation or accommodation.

First- and second-year students are required to reside on campus. Third-year students and above do not have a housing requirement and can therefore seek off-campus housing after they have completed their on-campus requirement. Off-Campus and Commuter Services is a good resource for students living off campus.

If you are uncomfortable living in your on-campus housing assignment, you can explore a distance-learning option. If you complete a full year of distance learning, you will not need to reside on campus your third year to fulfill the housing requirement.

We are still working through this and will provide an update when we have confirmed information to share.

No they will not be able to visit other South Campus apartments just as students living in residence halls will not be able to visit other residence halls.

No, students will be moved to isolation housing in the Sheraton Hotel.

Yes.

New York State Travel Advisory and Quarantine

These mandates apply specifically to students coming into New York from “hot spot” states where COVID-19 infection rates are high. View the full list. This list could change in the days ahead with additional hot spots identified or removed.  Students coming to Syracuse from the states listed above or from outside the U.S. are required to self- quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine period also applies to students arriving from outside the United States.

  • As outlined in our Stay Safe Pledge, we strongly encourage students to remain in Central New York through the duration of the semester to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We acknowledge, however, that in rare cases extenuating circumstances may arise.
  • In those extenuating circumstances, non-University sponsored/sanctioned travel (personal) is not subject to formal University permission, approval, or exception. However:
    • If a student leaves Central New York for any reason, we expect that they will take great precaution during and after their travel to avoid large groups and close contact with others. We also encourage any student who travels outside CNY to be tested at the University’s testing center upon return.
    • If a student leaves Central New York and travels to any of the states included on the NYS travel advisory, by NYS law the student is required to quarantine for 14 days (at their own expense) prior to being granted access to campus. Students must also complete the NYS travel health form upon their re-entry to NYS.
    • Students are not permitted to quarantine on-campus without prior authorization from a University official.
    • Students may be subject to disciplinary action for failure to comply with NYS guidance regarding travel.
  • During the semester, a limited number of our students will be traveling with University organizations including academic groups, athletics teams and others.
  • The pledge is not intended to restrict otherwise University-approved/sponsored travel, such as approved essential research travel for students, so long as it is otherwise within bounds of SU policies and individuals who travel observe New York State’s quarantine guidelines. 
  • University sanctioned travel will include added safety precautions to protect the health and well-being of our students, as well as our broader community when they return to campus. We expect that any student who travels away from campus will respect and uphold the spirit of the pledge by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and taking other precautions as advised by public health officials.

Yes, international students are required to quarantine if they will be arriving from outside the United States.

Students will need to provide documentation that attests their quarantine requirement was met, including dates, address and contact information. For example, a letter from a family/relative/self attesting to the dates you arrived, where you stayed and affirming your compliance with the quarantine requirement guidelines; documentation you were not living at your primary residence, but in another state not impacted by the travel advisory (e.g. internship employment letter, paystub); hotel or rental receipt with address.  A process for submitting documentation will be provided soon.

Not during quarantine.  After the student is released from quarantine, students in the same residence hall can interact as long as they follow the guidelines in the Stay Safe Pledge as well as residential policies and directives.

No, students can’t visit students in South Campus apartments or in other residence halls.

COVID Testing, Screening and Surveillance

Like with all of our COVID planning and policy related to re-opening, Syracuse University is strictly adhering to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the NYS Department of Health. The policy allowing individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 to forego testing did not originate at Syracuse University, but instead is the public policy position of the CDC. In fact, on August 3, 2020, the CDC updated their policy position from 8 weeks to 12 weeks, as the duration of window during which an individual who previously tested positive (and has how now recovered and subsequently tested negative) does not need to quarantine or be tested again.

Specifically the CDC says: “People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again.” You can find this guidance at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html

If a student tests positive, the University will deploy its response protocol, which prioritizes the health of the student as well as the safety and well-being of the community. The student will be immediately moved via a Syracuse University medical transport to isolation housing. These rooms will be physically separated from other residential student rooms, have a private bathroom, and be stocked with a thermometer, sanitizing wipes, tissues, soap, hand sanitizer and toiletries. While isolated, the student will be assigned a case manager to support all academic, health, housing and dining needs. For those students who are ill or asymptomatically positive, to the degree reasonably feasible, these isolated students will be encouraged to continue academic activities remotely or be provided with academic accommodations due to illness.

The contact tracing process will identify all close contacts of the positive individual during the timeframe the individual was likely contagious. All those close contacts will be directed to quarantine. Some of those close contacts will likely be others in the class, but not all. If a faculty member tests positive, that faculty member must isolate until a negative test is achieved. Consequently, it follows that this faculty member cannot be in a classroom for that period.

We will implement two primary approaches for ongoing monitoring, including random testing of all students, faculty and staff, and a wastewater surveillance program developed by public health faculty from the Falk College. The wastewater surveillance program allows us to monitor for the potential of asymptomatic cases in our residence halls, athletic facilities, etc., and subsequently initiate individual testing of residents in response to virus detected in the wastewater originating from a given complex.

No, if your only course is online, you are not required to submit a test.  You are, however, required to participate in daily screening and ongoing random testing throughout the semester in your staff role, as well as abide by all other public health guidelines.

Testing for faculty and staff is covered by the University’s health insurance plan.  The mail-in test for students is being heavily subsidized by the University, which is paying two-thirds of the cost.

Contact tracers will notify anyone who is determined to have been exposed by phone and their University email.

RAs do provide a negative test before moving into residence halls. Some RAs, like other students, were not able to provide a negative test from home before coming to Syracuse. We tested all RAs upon arrival and waited for negative test results before they moved into residence halls.

The University publishes a weekly dashboard each Tuesday by 5 p.m.  Due to federal and state privacy regulations, the names of those testing positive will not be disclosed.

Wastewater surveillance will serve as an early warning system that will allow us to focus resources (e.g. testing, isolation, contact tracing) on groups of people who are more likely to have been exposed and take appropriate steps. Specifically, positive wastewater surveillance tests will prompt individual-level testing for residents/occupants of the given facility.

Yes. To comply with New York State requirements, all faculty, staff and students working or conducting research on campus are required to complete the online Daily Health Screening Questionnaire every day before reporting to work on campus.

Working closely with the Onondaga County Department of Health, Syracuse University is creating a proposal to hire and train our own contact tracing team. Acknowledging the personal nature of this task, the unique attributes of an academic environment and the broad diversity represented across our campus community, we believe that it’s important that the duties and responsibilities associated with contact tracing be performed by culturally competent individuals who themselves represent our community.

Yes, but importantly, the data will be shared within the limits of what is permissible by the Onondaga County Department of Health. The Department of Health will allow us to make announcements in the aggregate but will (on occasion) constrain the specificity of those announcements in the interest of personal privacy. It is also important to note that, by law, any positive test at Syracuse University is automatically reported to the Onondaga County Department of Health (we will use a shared reporting system). Thus, the Onondaga County Department of Health will also be making public positive tests at Syracuse University.

Students, faculty and staff will be contacted by phone and via their Syracuse University email. It is critically important that your current local address and phone number are updated in MySlice and we strongly encourage all members of the campus community to ensure that their information is updated and to regularly monitor your University email.

The Center for Disability Resources and the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services have fully participated in the Fall 2020 Task Force, which includes a subcommittee on Disability-related Considerations to ensure that the concerns of people with disabilities are reflected in policies and that accommodations are easily accessible.

Health Promotion and Prevention

As students, faculty and staff return to campus, they will notice robust new signage promoting social distancing and other public health measures. For example, floor decals placed in campus buildings to remind people of the importance of social distancing. New signage aimed at promoting and protecting the health of our community will be placed in building entryways; outside elevators; and in dining centers, breakrooms, kitchen areas, meeting spaces and other locations frequented by students, faculty and staff. Our signage strategy will continue to ramp up throughout the summer as we look forward to welcoming students in August.

Additionally, when students, faculty and staff return, they will also notice increased access to hand sanitizer stations and sanitizing wipes; classrooms, gathering spaces and other areas will have reduced chairs, tables and desks; and in lecture halls, chairs will be taped off to ensure social distancing. These are just some of the immediate changes you will notice on campus, but by no means do they represent the full scope of efforts underway.

Students will participate in an educational program prior to their return to campus focused on health and wellness issues and actions most appropriate during and beyond the COVID-19 health emergency. Further, as a condition of returning to campus, students will be required to affirmatively commit to a social compact statement (that is currently being finalized) that defines expectations related to behaviors and actions appropriate to protect their health and the health of those around them.

First, it is important for all members of our community to understand that enforcing social distancing standards and other measures of prevention is everyone’s responsibility. It should be a shared expectation that all students, faculty and staff will not only themselves adhere to the directives and policies in place to safeguard public health—but also remind others to do the same when necessary. For students specifically, the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience is currently taking steps to communicate expectations to students and families. As previously described, as a condition of returning to campus, students will be required to affirmatively commit to a social compact statement that sets expectations related to behaviors and actions appropriate to protect their health and the health of those around them. Students who are identified to have acted with disregard for their health and the health of those around them will be referred to the student judicial process for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.

Yes, but the Barnes Center at the Arch will not be stocking the nasal vaccine this year. Students who opt to get the nasal vaccine from another provider will be required to submit proof of vaccination.

Facilities Considerations

Given physical distancing and physical density constraints, classroom space is our greatest challenge in delivering in-person instruction. Applying a physical distance requirement of 6 feet reduces the capacity of our classrooms considerably. For classrooms with moveable seating, capacity reductions are in the range of 50-60 percent. For classrooms with fixed seating, reductions are greater—in some cases more than 80 percent. Therefore, we recommend that most of our classes adopt a hybrid and flexible (Hy-Flex) instructional model, in which a portion of the students enrolled in a given section attend in the classroom, while others enrolled in that same section participate remotely from other locations on campus. The expectation for these classes is that an alternate-day attendance format will allow all residential students to experience a portion of the class in person. There will, of course, be cases where circumstances will require us to consider formats involving less frequent attendance.

Building access will be restricted to students, faculty, staff and visitors with a scheduled appointment. Swipe card access will be used to restrict access where appropriate.

The University is undertaking ongoing, multi-faceted efforts to configure facilities and spaces—to the maximum extent practical—to reduce the risk associated with virus transmission. This work is ongoing right now.

Examples of these changes include, but are not limited to: deploying new signage in all buildings to promote social distancing; placing appropriate wayfinding signage at building entrances to limit flow through constrained spaces; configuring work and public spaces to allow for least 6 feet between individuals; assessing the need for barriers in workspaces where people must face each other or are unable to be 6 feet apart; removing chairs and desks to ensure proper physical distancing in conference and waiting rooms. In addition, in the fall we plan to limit access to academic and student-focused facilities for outside visitors and ask building coordinators to develop a plan to coordinate arrival and departure times of faculty and staff to reduce congestion. Finally, we will also limit in-person meetings to not exceed 50 percent of a room’s capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain 6 feet of social distancing.

Yes, the University is already building out the infrastructure to comply with all Centers for Disease Control (CDC)-mandated cleaning and sanitation protocols, including increased cleaning of public spaces, bathrooms, HVAC systems and other components. Specifically, these include enhanced cleaning and sanitation of classrooms, laboratories, studios and performance venues, libraries, residence halls, dining halls, recreation spaces, gathering spaces and other high-traffic areas. The University will utilize disinfectants that have been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as appropriate to eliminate the SARS-CoV-2 virus (cause of COVID-19). For information on cleaning and disinfecting efforts in work areas, please visit ehss.syr.edu/about/covid-19-information/work-area-cleaning-and-disinfecting/

In addition to daily cleaning, public restrooms are being monitored multiple times throughout the day to ensure cleanliness. Several times each day, staff will be disinfecting high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs and sink faucets using disinfectants identified by the EPA as qualified for use against the COVID-19 virus. In addition, all electric forced-air hand dryers are being removed from restrooms to avoid spreading airborne particles.

The University has been closely monitoring CDC and other public health guidance to prepare campus buildings for increased indoor ventilation during the COVID-19 health crisis.  Over the summer, all building ventilation systems have been reviewed to both perform preventative maintenance and verify that systems are operating properly.  Where possible, modifications to ventilation systems are being made to follow the most current guidance, including increasing air flow, retrofitting systems with MERV 13 filters, providing UV-C lighting in the air handling  system of health care facilities, operating exhaust fans in all restrooms 24/7, and providing mobile UV-C air cleaning systems in classrooms and labs that have reduced air flow.

Teaching and Learning

The academic calendar for Fall 2020 was developed with the following objectives in mind:

  1. Protect the health and well-being of our community by limiting the amount of travel in and out of Syracuse by our students. Ending in-person instruction before Thanksgiving will allow our students to go home and stay there until the beginning of the spring semester. We are cognizant of the needs of students who may not be able to travel home and are working on plans for those affected.
  2. Resume residential instruction with our students in alignment with public health guidance.
  3. Ensure that the academic calendar meets New York State requirements for minimum contact time and federal financial aid regulations concerning the minimum length of academic semesters.
  4. Preserve the existing course scheduling paradigm as much as possible to avoid requiring students to re-register for courses.

The Fall 2020 calendar modifications were informed by the guidance of public health officials, government leaders and faculty epidemiologists who have concluded that the benefits to community health that result from ending instructional activities before Thanksgiving are significant.

Instruction on Labor Day and on three weekend days is required to meet New York State guidelines regarding contact time for all course-schedule paradigms. The specific dates selected for weekend instruction were chosen to avoid several religious observances that fall on weekends this year and home football games. Students may use the normal religious notifications process to alert faculty about absences related to their faith observances on these dates.

Key Dates

Aug. 24 (Monday): First day of classes

Sept. 5 (Saturday): Wednesday classes meet on normal schedule

Sept. 7 (Monday): Labor Day—Normal instructional day, Monday classes meet

Oct. 25 (Sunday): Thursday classes meet on normal schedule

Nov. 8 (Sunday): Friday classes meet on normal schedule

Nov. 24 (Tuesday): Last day of instruction

Nov. 25-29: Thanksgiving break

Nov. 30-Dec. 2: Reading days

Dec. 3-4, 7-9: Final exam period

Dec. 21 (Monday): Grade reporting deadline

As always, faculty have the discretion to modify their class meetings. Students who have religious observances should follow the normal religious exemption process to receive accommodations.

We are in the process of assessing the needs and requirements of all departments and programs to determine how to best facilitate labs, studios and other hands-on or experiential learning programs. In some cases, it may simply mean finding much larger spaces to conduct these types of experiential courses. In other cases, it means we must “think differently” and identify creative ways to safely and meaningfully deliver classes like dance, vocal or woodwind instruction, or field work in the natural world.

The University is establishing protocols for social distancing on all University-owned and University-sponsored means of group transportation—and we are coordinating with Centro. As an example, these new protocols include: establishing maximum passenger counts for the SU Trolley and other means of University-sponsored group transportation to allow for appropriate social distancing; requiring all operators and passengers to wear a mask on every vehicle provided or sponsored by the University (including the SU Trolley); installing hand sanitizer stations on such vehicles; and disinfecting vehicles on an enhanced schedule. As part of the Stay Safe pledge, students are asked not to leave Central New York during the semester.

Yes, based on feedback from students in the spring indicating that shifting to asynchronous modes of instruction resulted in less interaction with faculty. We also received feedback about faculty who changed the time for class meetings, which caused many conflicts for students. If the University has to go fully online again, faculty should plan to teach their courses in their assigned time periods.

For International Students

International students pursuing studies in the U.S. in the Fall semester would be allowed to remain in the U.S. and complete the semester fully online (like they were allowed to do in the Spring 2020 semester). They will maintain their immigration status in the U.S.  They will not be subject to removal proceedings based on their online study as long as they otherwise maintain their status. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement provides answers here.   

For Faculty

If a student does not wish to participate in face-to-face class meetings, we will not force them to. Faculty may require attendance in one form or the other in synchronous learning modalities.

To comply with New York State requirements, all faculty, staff and students working or conducting research on campus are required to complete the online Daily Health Screening Questionnaire every day before reporting to work on campus. Please note that faculty and staff who have an elevated temperature (over 100.4°F/38°C), or are otherwise experiencing symptoms, must stay home from work and contact a physician or urgent care center, as well as notify their supervisor. You should not return to work until you are cleared to do so by a physician.

The faculty and staff health plan covers COVID-19 testing. Faculty and staff can easily find one of the many testing sites in Onondaga County that is most convenient for them by visiting the New York State COVID-19 Test Site Finder, where you can search by zip code.

The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, the Center for Learning and Student Success (CLASS) and Syracuse University Global (formerly University College) have developed resources for faculty who are preparing to administer exams online. Development of assessments that make it difficult for students to cheat, online proctoring and clear communication of expectations are keys to success. If needed, CLASS stands ready to work with faculty to administer academic integrity violations.

Specific requests will be evaluated based on several criteria related to campus reopening plans and the best available health guidance. You can learn about the space modification process and request an evaluation at bfas.syr.edu/facilities/service-requests/.

As part of our early response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Syracuse University took swift action to limit and prohibit travel as part of our robust strategy to safeguard the health and well-being of our campus community. We recognize and appreciate that the current travel limitations and prohibitions have created challenges for some members of our community, particularly for research-active faculty and graduate students whose research programs require field work and data collection during the summer months. Updated travel guidelines are available at https://news.syr.edu/blog/2020/06/12/coronavirus-update-6-12-20-revised-travel-policy-for-faculty-and-staff/.

Faculty can work with their school/college IT professionals and Learning Environments to “test drive” the technology in their assigned classrooms. That said, we are working hard to outfit classrooms that are not ready for hybrid teaching as fast as we can this summer. Some of those classrooms may not be outfitted until shortly before the start of classes. So, to some extent, the ability to do this will depend on the status of the room assigned for your class.

Students should be instructed to follow public health guidelines in their field work. They should be instructed to wear masks and maintain a 6-foot distance from others whenever possible. They should not be sent into situations where it will be impossible to maintain their safety. Expectations for students to participate in field production should be made clear at the beginning of the course. If possible, students who cannot leave their homes should be accommodated.

We have been having conversations with faculty for various scenarios in addition to field work, including labs, performance and music, and we want to work with faculty to determine best practices.

For classes that combine in-person and online teaching, several ways to organize the remote component of the course can be employed. Of course, faculty know themselves and their classes best, so they can be creative in finding approaches that work best for the content and their students. Definitions of some models and other resources are available on Answers (a NetID is required for login).

Faculty who wish to design their courses using these and/or other approaches are encouraged to engage with the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) to explore their ideas.

There are numerous resources being offered.

  • Course design and course building support services will be coordinated by the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE), Information Technology Services’ Online Learning Services (OLS) and Syracuse University Global’s Center for Digital Online Learning.
  • Faculty can also request support services to digitize content, evaluate online instruction and assessment options, request video production training and support, and engage in technology-enhanced instruction and online pedagogy workshops.
  • We encourage all faculty to fill out the Fall Course Development Form to request support or to submit questions about specific aspects of online instruction and preparation.
  • Faculty are also encouraged to bring questions to virtual “office hours” where they can meet with instructional designers and course builders every Tuesday at 6 p.m. EDT and every Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT. Join the sessions here.

Additionally, course development resources include:

The most recent update can be found here.

Each and every morning at 5:00 a.m., all faculty and staff receive an email that notifies that them they are required to conduct a daily health screening, before they are cleared to even come to campus. All faculty and staff must proactively answer a series of health questions via a personalized weblink and submit the form to the University. Only after they do and their responses are cleared by HR, do they receive a second email clearing them to come to campus. All faculty and staff are required to do this each and every day, before they are permitted to step foot on campus. No exceptions.

Faculty and staff are also part of SU’s ongoing testing and virus surveillance protocols. We will conduct almost 3,000 tests a month on campus, that will include faculty and staff. Faculty and staff will also be included in the ongoing wastewater testing of all campus facilities, and random testing conducted in the schools, colleges, and departments.

Because 91 percent of Syracuse University faculty and staff reside in Central New York, where the current infection rate is very low, there is no public health imperative that warrants ‘pre-arrival testing’ for this group, especially given a national shortage of testing. Any faculty or staff member who has traveled outside of Central New York to a state that is impacted by the New York State Travel Advisory must complete the 14-day quarantine requirement upon their return.  Faculty or staff who have traveled to a “hot” state and are designated essential personnel may present a negative test, conducted within the first 24 hours of their arrival in New York State, to be cleared to come to campus.

For Graduate Students and Teaching Assistants

1. If you are an instructor of record, fully responsible for teaching a course, you can access resources for support through the Fall Course Development Form. Completing the form and submitting it will get you to a consultant who can support you in meeting your teaching needs.  Please review the information for faculty and staff for additional resources.

2. If you are a TA in a course and will be responsible for recitation(s), reach out to your lead faculty member. The lead faculty member can provide you direction for outcomes to reach in the recitation section and information regarding expectations for those sections. If the lead faculty is willing, you can make an appointment with help@syr.edu to be directed to a team member who can assist in planning. Team members are ready to support faculty-TA teams in working through instructional expectations for recitation sections.

3. If you have taught a course before, you can start reviewing the Fall Course Checklist.

Most, but not all, graduate courses will include in-person instruction. Many in-person courses will also include online components to accommodate social distancing requirements and students who require remote learning. A smaller subset of classes will be provided in online-only format. As such, the general expectation is that graduate students should be on campus to attend courses in person. It is also understood that health concerns for individual graduate students may require that you attend courses remotely. For that reason, nearly all courses can also be taken remotely. You are encouraged to consult with faculty from within your individual program to confirm best options for online only courses. A process for indicating that you intend to enroll for remote instruction only will be forthcoming. Please read below for important considerations for international students regarding visa eligibility.

We recognize that because of delays in visa processing, many of our new and continuing graduate students will be unable to arrive on campus in time for in-person instruction. For international graduate students who are unable to return to campus, most programs will offer the opportunity to complete coursework online from their home country. A process for international students to indicate their intentions to complete course work online or in-person will be provided in a future communication. All affected students are encouraged to consult with faculty leadership from your program to determine options for online study, in-person course work, leaves of absence or – for new students – whether program deferral is necessary.

Regrettably, new students from Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Cuba will have to defer admission because of previously existing government sanctions. Students from these countries may not start the semester fully online.

Given the guidance provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this week, international students who intend to be on campus for the fall should understand that, to remain in immigration compliance, you must register for classes that include in-person instruction. You will also be permitted to take one or more online courses, as necessary for your degree progress. The details of this requirement are still being clarified. For now, rest assured that we will work closely with all international graduate students to ensure that you are able to register for in-person courses under our hybrid instructional model.

For Ph.D. and master’s students who are finished with all or most course work but who are still completing research requirements, dissertation and master’s thesis work is considered “in-person.” You will need to register for appropriate credits (e.g., GRD 998), maintain your full time status and work with the Center for International Services to complete necessary paperwork to assure your valid immigration status. More detailed information concerning the new ICE guidelines will be provided as it becomes available. Syracuse University is joining an amicus brief in support of litigation filed by Harvard and M.I.T. challenging the ICE directive.  We value all of our international students and the many ways that you enrich our academic community.

Some graduate students’ research progress may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Degree completion timelines follow departmental guidelines. Departments are asked to be compassionate in reviewing expectations for student progress. Where appropriate, students may petition for an adjustment to their degree completion timeline. For more information, please contact Associate Dean Gabby Chapman.

Returning/continuing students who hold assistantships and are continuing their research, teaching or other activities consistent with their educational training and degree program may receive their stipend consistent with these activities. New or returning Students designated to receive funding from a fellowship can still receive the fellowship stipend, assuming their home department is in agreement with the arrangement. 

New graduate students who begin graduate study in their home country may only receive remitted tuition if originally included in their admission package.

In planning for our Fall 2020 academic start, health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty are our first priority. The University is adopting extensive measures to protect community health and safety, including the use of rigorous testing and surveillance protocols, required use of masks on campus, and adoption of alternating day class attendance and hybrid instructional approaches to ensure sufficient social distancing in our classrooms, studios, performance venues, and other instructional spaces.

We anticipate that a majority of undergraduate and graduate courses will include a face-to-face component. It is also understood that health concerns for individual graduate students and their family members – as with individual faculty – may require that teaching activities be limited to remote instruction only. Schools, colleges and programs will provide an opportunity for graduate instructors and graduate TAs to indicate if a health concern necessitates an online-only instructional approach. You will not be asked to disclose any personal health information as part of this request and the University will not penalize you in any way for making the decision that is best for you. 

If you require a TA assignment that does not include in-person instruction based on a health concern for you or someone you live with, please communicate this need directly to your TA supervisor, graduate program director, or department chair.

If, after consulting with relevant faculty members in your department, you still have concerns or questions about your TA assignment or workload expectations, please don’t hesitate to contact Graduate School Dean Peter Vanable or Associate Dean Gabby Chapman for additional support.

The Fall 2020 semester will be unusual, and we understand that graduate teaching assistants will be asked to assist with hybrid and flexible course formats in new ways. That said, it is still an absolute expectation that departments stick with the time commitment specified in your teaching assistantship appointment letter, typically 20 hours or less per week.

Information Technology Services (ITS) and the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) staff will offer three webinar-style sessions on Online Teaching for TAs: Getting Started for Fall. The sessions will provide an overview of course delivery models and typical TA roles within those formats. The facilitators will demonstrate SU-supported web conferencing, video streaming, and other instructional tools integrated in Blackboard, and answer questions. Sessions will be held

  • Tuesday, July 28, 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Monday, August 10, 9:30-11 a.m.
  • Thursday, August 20, 1:30-3 p.m.

TAs and other graduate students involved instructional activities (e.g., instructional assistants, part time instructors) may register online for the session of their choice. Additional sessions will be provided if warranted based on demand.

Note that if you are a TA in a course and will be responsible for recitation(s),  your lead faculty TA supervisor should soon be in touch to discuss responsibilities. The lead faculty member can provide you direction for outcomes and information regarding expectations for those sections. We also encourage you and your faculty mentor to make an appointment with help@syr.edu to be directed to a teaching and learning team member who can assist in planning. Team members are ready to support faculty-TA teams in working through instructional expectations for recitation sections.

All graduate instructors of record teaching this fall are also encouraged to utilize the University’s suite of Fall Course Transition Services. Use the Fall 2020 Preparedness Checklist as a starting point, then consult the Fall 2020 Teaching Guide for helpful resources on designing objectives, assessments, assignments, weekly activities and running class sections in a mixed formats. Lastly, for individualized support, the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, Online Learning Services and the Center for Online and Digital Learning can help. To start the process, complete the brief Fall Course Development Form.

In addition, Teaching and Technology Tuesday Discussion Groups are now open to graduate students.  Information about these virtual lunchtime sessions is available on Answers, in addition to other teaching and learning resources.

Decision Making

More than 120 faculty and staff have been engaged in the Fall 2020 Open working group. In addition, the Subcommittee on Student Experience and Engagement is working closely with the Student Association and other student groups. That team has established a Social Norms committee, which consists mainly of students who have been extremely helpful working with us on plans for opening and best ways to communicate with students.

In particular, the Academic Strategy subcommittee included 27 members and was guided by the shared goals of maximizing the student experience, protecting the health and safety of faculty, staff and teaching assistants and safeguarding our campus community. The recommendations related to fall-semester instruction were shaped by extensive faculty feedback that spanned a broad range of themes. There are many areas that are specifically under the jurisdiction of federal, state and local public health authorities where the University faces limitations in its ability to create flexible policies.

To date, academic leadership, including the Chancellor and Provost, have held virtual meetings with all but one academic unit and attended the University Senate Open Forum on June 24. In addition, listening sessions have been held with Directors of Graduate Studies and graduate students.