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Frequently Asked Questions

Important Information about Student Testing

Student campus access privileges are contingent upon proof of a negative test result taken within 10 days prior to returning to campus. 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.

Students have the option of getting tested on their own, in their community or from a provider of their choosing. For those who want to utilize the University at-home test kit option, students will be able to request their test be shipped to an address of their choosing through an online portal. Additional details on this process will be communicated soon.

Regardless of whether you are subject to quarantine, students need to provide proof of a negative test result taken within 10 days of their planned arrival on campus. The University will use the SU I.D. card system to track and enforce participation in testing protocols.

Students will be able to request their test be shipped to an address of their choosing through an online portal. Additional details on this process will be communicated soon.

All returning students will be screened for the presence of COVID-19 infection. Specifically, over a staggered, four to five day return to campus schedule for students, the University will screen the entire student population using pooled sample saliva testing. That is, each student will provide a saliva sample, and those samples will be combined into a pool of between 20–25 students for testing.

Returning students will be grouped into pools (or cohorts) based on residence hall assignments. For off-campus students, these pools will be based on cohabitating students and off-campus student neighborhoods. Any pool sample that returns a positive COVID-19 result would then immediately trigger individual diagnostic testing of each student who contributed a sample to that pool.

The University is also implementing its own on-campus capability to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests at the Barnes Center at The Arch. This capability will be leveraged to confirm symptomatic cases, as well as to support individual-level testing given positive results from our pooled sample virus surveillance program. The University will implement this same population screening routine (pooled sampling virus surveillance) a second time, for the entire population, two weeks after students return. In addition, routine, random and ongoing testing of students will be conducted throughout the semester.

All returning students will be screened for the presence of COVID-19 infection. Specifically, over a staggered, four to five day return to campus schedule for students, the University will screen the entire student population using pooled sample saliva testing. That is, each student will provide a saliva sample, and those samples will be combined into a pool of between 20–25 students for testing.

Returning students will be grouped into pools (or cohorts) based on residence hall assignments. For off-campus students, these pools will be based on cohabitating students and off-campus student neighborhoods. Any pool sample that returns a positive COVID-19 result would then immediately trigger individual diagnostic testing of each student who contributed a sample to that pool.

The University is also implementing its own on-campus capability to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests at the Barnes Center at The Arch. This capability will be leveraged to confirm symptomatic cases, as well as to support individual-level testing given positive results from our pooled sample virus surveillance program. The University will implement this same population screening routine (pooled sampling virus surveillance) a second time, for the entire population, two weeks after students return. In addition, routine, random and ongoing testing of students will be conducted throughout the semester.

For students who choose to utilize the subsidized University testing option, the charge will be billed to Bursar accounts. Insurance companies have stated that they are not covering COVID-19 tests used for screening purposes. This is why, in part, Syracuse University decided to heavily subsidize this at-home option for students.

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.

To access campus privileges, students must provide proof of a negative test result taken within 10 days of their planned arrival on campus.

Students will not be tested upon departure from campus.

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.

Masks and Face Coverings

Syracuse University will require face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus, in the presence of others and in public settings where social distancing measures (more than six feet of separation and 50 percent utilization of space capacity) are difficult to maintain. In some instances, there are legitimate medical reasons that an individual cannot wear a mask for an extended period. There also may be a limited number of unique situations where wearing a mask during certain activities is not possible, appropriate or even hazardous to those with certain preexisting conditions. Efforts are underway to develop appropriate accommodations in such instances.

Yes. Syracuse University will provide all faculty, staff and students with an initial supply of reusable (washable) cloth masks upon return to campus. These masks will be provided at no cost. Additional PPE will be provided to faculty and staff performing operations or using products where the use of additional PPE is recommended.

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.

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.

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.

Syracuse University continues to engage with New York officials—alongside many of our peer colleges and universities statewide—to advocate for safe alternatives to the existing 14-day self-quarantine requirement. If such an alternative is proposed by New York State, we will quickly communicate that alternative to all impacted students and families. However, at this time we will continue our planning and preparation operating under the assumption that all students traveling from the aforementioned states, as well as all students from outside the United States, must comply with the current 14-day self-quarantine requirement.

If you have financial concerns associated with your plans to meet the 14-day quarantine requirement, please know there may be financial assistance available. Please review information about emergency funding and complete the financial appeal for U.S. citizens/permanent residents or financial appeal for international students to apply. These requests will be reviewed quickly and based on financial need or hardship.

You can self-quarantine in New York or in a state not listed in the travel advisory (e.g., staying with a relative or friend), as long as you complete your 14-day quarantine in advance of your scheduled move-in date.

The University is actively working with local hotels to provide a reduced rate for students who need assistance in quarantining in New York. View the list.

To accommodate the quarantine requirement, the University is offering new residential first-year and transfer students from travel advisory states only the option to move in early to their assigned room. We will accommodate as many students as possible. To indicate your intention to move in early and self-quarantine on campus, you must register on the MySlice Housing Portal by Thursday, July 23, at 5 p.m.

  • This will be your same room assignment all year, and you will still have your same roommate.
  • Move-in will be on Sunday, Aug. 2. Only one guest will be permitted to move a student in, for up to two hours, and guests will need to depart campus immediately afterwards.
  • Students will be required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to Aug. 2.
  • The fee for 14 days for room and three meals per day is $1,000).
  • Also, please be aware that any students opting for early move-in to a residence hall must submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to the August 2nd move-in date. 
  • As outlined in our Stay Safe Pledge, we are asking our students to remain in Central New York through the duration of the semester to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • We understand extenuating circumstances may arise, however, if a student leaves Central New York and travels to any of the states in the NYS travel advisory, they will have to follow quarantine requirements and do so at their own expense.
  • 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.

As soon as we know how many students from the affected states will be moving into residential housing early to begin the self-quarantine period, we will be able to move forward with on-campus housing assignments for all other residential students. We expect to send housing assignments on Friday, July 24. 

Due to the postponement of the housing assignments, the opening of the housing portal for move-in registration was also postponed. We will share the opening dates for move-in registration as soon as possible.

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

  • Register for move-in
  • Arrange to self-quarantine in New York or in a state not listed in the travel advisory for 14 days prior to your move-in date
  • Arrange for a COVID-19 test within seven days of your arrival.  We recognize that in states with high infection rates, scheduling an in-person test is particularly challenging. We are working to identify and implement a pre-arrival testing strategy to support all our students.

You must comply with the state travel advisory before Syracuse University can grant any campus privileges or campus access.  To do so, you have several options:

  • Arrange to self-quarantine in New York or in a state not listed in the travel advisory (e.g. with friends or family) for 14 days prior to August 24.
  • Reach out to your landlord to see if you can arrange for early move-in. The University is reaching out to local landlords to request their support to amend leases and rental agreements to accommodate impacted students.
  • The University is actively working with local hotels to provide a reduced rate for students who need assistance in quarantining in New York. We will share a list of hotels providing the reduced rate as soon as possible.
  • Quarantine for 14 days after moving into your residence and make arrangements to begin attending your courses online, transitioning to in-person attendance once your quarantine is complete.
  • The policy for individual Greek houses is set by their national organizations. Students living in off-campus housing can self-quarantine in their off-campus residence, at another residence in New York or in a state not listed in the travel advisory (e.g. staying with a relative or friend). They must begin their quarantine by Aug. 8, in order to have access to campus privileges when classes begin.
  • The University is actively working with local hotels to provide a reduced rate for students who need assistance in quarantining in New York. View the list.
  • Students who are unable to come to New York or would prefer not to return to the Central New York region for the Fall 2020 semester can still take your Fall 2020 classes remotely online. 

New York State’s travel advisory exempts individuals passing through designated states or in New York State for a limited duration (i.e. less than 24 hours). Parents should make plans to comply with the state guidelines.

No, if you are a student living on campus, you cannot exercise that option. New York State law dictates that the University can’t allow a student under quarantine to be in a building with students who are not in quarantine status.  That is why we are using the Sheraton for isolation. Quarantine is a legal order. You cannot be in contact with anyone while in quarantine while outside your family group. If a student is living off campus, coming from one of these states, and arrives at the start of the semester, there is an effort in academic affairs to allow them to begin their semester online then join their residential class after their quarantine period ends.

The student would have to come to New York state or another non-quarantine state to quarantine for 14 days. If this meant student was still quarantining at the start of the semester, he/she would need to begin online and then, once cleared, come onto campus for your in-person classes.

No, the portal is only open to the students in Travel Advisory states.

We will not be watching you. It is your responsibility to abide by the New York State quarantine guidance. Violations of the quarantine in New York State come with fines up to $2,000.

Under New York State rules, if you have had COVID-19 in the last sixty days you can submit evidence of a positive test to be exempted from quarantine.  A process for submitting test results will be communicated soon.

For students living on campus, New York State public health law prohibits Syracuse University from having students who are in quarantine status in the same residence hall buildings as students who are not in quarantine.  New York State Department of Health Guidance requires the quarantined individual to be situated in separate quarters (from non-quarantined individuals) with a separate bathroom facility for each individual or family group that is quarantined (we are treating each residence hall floor as a family group).  Sharing bathrooms or hallways with students who are not under quarantine is not permissible.

To permit first year students from travel advisory states to move in early, the University had to get approval from Onondaga County Department of Public Health that was contingent on guaranteeing that we would not put a single non-quarantine student in those residence halls during the 14-day quarantine period.  Additionally, the University had to commit to special staffing to monitor quarantine compliance and arrange for specific food service.

To permit first year students from travel advisory states to move in early, the University had to get approval from Onondaga County Department of Public Health that was contingent on guaranteeing that we would not put a single non-quarantine student in those residence halls during the 14-day quarantine period.  Additionally, the University had to commit to special staffing to monitor quarantine compliance and arrange for specific food service.  Allowing all students from travel advisory states to move in early would create a situation for move-in where we would have difficulty managing social distancing and would create challenges in meeting the New York State quarantine requirements.

Yes, as long as you abide by the requirements of quarantine.

No, the New York State Travel advisory is on a state by state basis.

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.

Students will be required to stay with their “family” group or pod on their residence hall floor.  There will be opportunities for activities, for spending time outside and for group meals within their pod.  We are working with Syracuse Dining Services, who are fantastic at accommodating dietary restrictions and preferences, to develop the food service options for the two weeks of quarantine.  Students will be able to walk or run outside, but must not come in contact with anyone outside of their quarantine group.

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.

Yes, as long as they continue to abide by the guidelines in the Stay Safe Pledge.

  • The ease with which you can unload your car should help determine what to pack. Students should bring only the essentials:
    Clothing for late summer and fall
  • Toiletries for the first few weeks – recommend having additional items shipped after arrival
  • Medications
  • Laundry supplies – consider pod style detergent and a laundry bag instead of basket
  • Small fan
  • Bedding and towels
  • Computer/laptop
  • Academic supplies to start the semester

Do Not Bring

  • Additional furniture, large lamps, shelving, or rugs
  • Large grocery items like cases of water

As a general rule, students should address their packages directly to their residence hall room number and address. Access on-campus addresses here. Please note, however, that packages sent to campus from August 2-17 must be delivered to the residence halls by Syracuse University staff. Accordingly, we ask that during this period you please keep packages to a maximum of two items of 50 pounds or less. After the quarantine period ends, commercial carriers will be able to deliver directly to residence halls.

Do not put Syracuse University on any packages or mail to your student.

  • Facilities Services’ custodial staff will continue to clean, disinfect and re-stock restrooms on campus daily. In addition, custodial staff have been directed to visit the restrooms in their buildings multiple times a day to wipe down high touch points as much as possible.  We will also monitor student lounges and common areas and clean as needed. 
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers are located at each building entrance as well as each elevator floor stop.
  • Social distancing and maximum occupancy signage has been installed throughout the buildings.
  • Signage is provided at the elevators noting reduced capacity.
  • Windows in each residence hall room can open to allow for ventilation .
  • Physical barriers will be installed at residence hall main desks (if not already present) and residential security stations.
  • Syracuse University has created a social compact and pledge that will guide interpersonal interactions; the residential staff will provide programing that adheres to this compact and will enforce adherence.
  • Students will be required to wear masks in all areas except inside their room
  • Student lounges will be open, they will be operating at reduced capacity
  • Students may walk or run outside but must avoid contact with individuals who are not in their quarantine group

Yes. Furthermore, all residence hall professional and student staff will be trained in proper procedure and protocol for maintaining health and safety. Residence hall staff practices have been adapted to minimize contact by employing technology and well as modifying practices (i.e. Resident Assistant rounds, mail pick-up, spare key processes). Physical barriers will be installed at residence hall main desks (if not already present) and residential security stations.

  • Take-away meal options will be available which include our traditional selection of hot and cold food options. A limited number of items will be self-serve and there will be single use gloves and hand sanitizer to use.
  • The dining centers will have a one-way flow of circulation throughout the serving area. At this time, we will not have seating available in the dining centers.
  • Students are encouraged to eat in open areas and in their residence hall rooms. Plexiglas barriers, social distance signage and multiple hand sanitizer stations haven been added to each facility.
  • Dining services will continue to provide options that accommodate dietary restrictions.

The Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience (ESE) is working to create virtual and “pod” based engagement opportunities during quarantine.

COVID Testing, Screening and Surveillance

All students will be tested when they return to campus and again two weeks after their return to campus. Syracuse University will use pooled saliva testing for this purpose, with subsequent rapid testing of all individuals in a pooled sample that indicates a positive result. Testing of symptomatic students will be performed by health professionals from the Barnes Center at The Arch (under the supervision of Syracuse University’s medical director) and in partnership with outside laboratories. More specific details about how these tests will be administered will be shared prior to our students’ return to campus. This testing protocol is designed to identify any asymptomatic students before they are granted access to campus.

In addition to our plan to test all students upon arrival, we are adding a pre-travel testing requirement. Syracuse University will require that all students be tested for COVID-19 before traveling to campus in August. We are incorporating this enhancement to our testing program based on recommendations of public health experts, and as a result of ongoing consultation with peer institutions in New York state and across the United States. We will provide additional details in the coming weeks related to how soon (prior to travel) this test should be completed and how to document a negative test result with the University prior to travel.

We will implement two primary approaches for ongoing monitoring, including random testing 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.

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.

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. Students who test positive will remain in isolation until a negative test is achieved. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 key to mitigating risk related to virus transmission in confined spaces is maximizing the flow of outside air. The University is disabling automatic controls of HVAC systems so as to maximize outside airflow to all spaces.

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.

For Students and Families

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.

For International Students

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provided guidance in advance of publication of a final rule that will affect the method of instruction our international students can engage in during the Fall 2020 semester. Specifically, the guidance includes the following directives:

  • International students will not be permitted to remain in the United States to take a full online course load. Therefore, international students at Syracuse University must register for classes that include in-person instruction; and
  • International students may remain in the United States and take the “minimum number of online courses required to make normal progress toward their degree,” along with in-person instruction. The minimum number has not yet been clearly defined.

We will provide additional information when it becomes available concerning how many online-only classes our international students can take. Additionally, we will work closely with our students to ensure they are able to register for in-person courses under our hybrid instructional model.

Syracuse University is frustrated and disappointed by ICE’s guidance. We will do everything in our power to support our international students as we navigate this challenge, including ensuring they remain in compliance, particularly as it relates to course load and the method of delivery (in-person, online or hybrid). Our government relations team is in contact with our congressional delegates to advocate for our international students and communicate how this guidance will impact them and our community.

Syracuse University appreciates the vast contributions of our international students to our campus community. Our support for them has not wavered. Those who come to this country to live, learn and study must be supported, respected, valued and protected. Syracuse University is joining the amicus brief in support of the lawsuit filed by Harvard and M.I.T. to block the implementation of this interim guidance.

For Faculty

The University is discouraging faculty and teaching assistants from meeting with students in confined spaces. Instead, consider holding office hours outside of your office—for example on the Shaw Quad or in a classroom or conference room (where 6 feet of distance can be maintained)—or by leveraging a technology solution like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Your health and safety are our chief priority. The University will not ask you to do anything that will jeopardize your well-being or the well-being of your family. Nor will the University penalize you in any way for making the decision that is best for you and your family.

The general expectation is that we will provide the majority of our instruction with an in-person component, of course with the right public health and safety protocols in place. However, if you or a family member have conditions that put you at greater risk for illness due to exposure to COVID-19, the decision to teach in the fall is yours and yours alone. We ask is that you communicate with your department chair about your fall teaching plans. As a reminder, as you’re preparing your courses for the fall, there are many resources available to help you transition to the various teaching modalities.

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.

The University is exploring the possibility of installing tents on the Shaw Quad for the period from the beginning of classes to early October and is discussing how to manage access to the tents.

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.

Training will be provided to returning faculty and staff on safety and sanitation protocols to ensure the safety and health of our campus community following a full resumption of campus operations. An online training module will be released later this summer.

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.

We recommend that faculty wear masks while teaching in person. However, we recognize that there are instances when wearing a mask is not possible or is pedagogically unwise. Each classroom has a 6-foot buffer zone between the nearest row of students and the instructional zone. The instructional zone is generally 2 to 6 feet wide. If an instructor needs to remove a mask, there is still at least 6 feet between the instructor and the nearest student. An alternative is to use a face shield. We are working to secure clear masks for classes in which there are students with hearing disabilities who need to read lips, and for classes in which the instructor needs to see students’ lips. We are also working to determine a policy for face shields and the best solution for microphones.

The University expects all faculty and staff to abide by the protocols designed to provide a healthy and safe environment for everyone on campus. If faculty or staff have a medical condition that may prevent them from wearing a mask, they should be in contact with the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services about an accommodation.

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/.

More than 90 percent of SU faculty and staff who work on campus reside in Central New York. We have been advised that, given regional rates of infection in CNY (which are very different vs. Los Angeles or Austin,Texas), requiring all faculty and staff to be tested is not necessarily warranted from a public health perspective. However, we will encourage faculty and staff to be tested the week prior to the start of the semester. To support that request, we are working with Onondaga County to set up a mobile test site on the SU campus (the week prior to the start of the semester) to provide testing to faculty and staff.  

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:

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.

Miscellaneous Questions

To permit first year students from travel advisory states to move in early, the University had to get approval from Onondaga County Department of Public Health that was contingent on guaranteeing that we would not put a single non-quarantine student in those residence halls during the 14-day quarantine period. Additionally, the University had to commit to special staffing to monitor quarantine compliance and arrange for specific food service. Allowing all students from travel advisory states to move in early would create a situation for move-in where we would have difficulty managing social distancing and would create challenges in meeting the New York State quarantine requirements.

The University is suggesting Aug. 8 as a start date for quarantine for a number of reasons.  First, we know that travel arrangement–particularly by air–can be challenging. We are suggesting that students and families give themselves extra time in the event that there is a travel complication. Second, if returning students plan to end their quarantine slightly before the beginning of classes, it provides an opportunity to take care of personal business before classes begin while reducing density in high traffic areas of campus such as health screening and testing sites and the Bookstore.

That said, the University is putting its trust in you to manage your quarantine responsibly and in accordance with New York State guidelines. Our ability to have a safe and healthy semester on campus is dependent on every student, faculty member and staff member following the guidelines and acting in the best interest of our community’s health and safety.

Yes, please email housing@syr.edu to discuss your specific plan.

Yes, it applies to all on campus housing.

They should email housing@syr.edu. Housing will work with their home college to confirm that the student has enrolled in distance learning before issuing a credit for room and board.

 

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.

If a student pursues online classes in the fall, their housing assignment for the fall is cancelled. They will be eligible to apply for spring housing. Based on availability of their previous housing assignment, some students may not be able to live with their previously selected roommate. The University will make every effort to have students live with their requested roommate however we cannot make a guarantee.

Yes.

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.