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Frequently Asked Questions

Vaccine Requirements

Vaccination is the single most important step that we can all take to protect ourselves, loved ones, our campus and community from severe COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death. A widely vaccinated community safeguards the health, wellness and safety of our students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community.  Vaccination is a critical factor that will allow Syracuse University to return to more normal operations.

The expectation is that the vast majority of our community will receive a vaccination.  The only exception to this requirement will be for individuals who have a medical or religious exemption.

Any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration will fulfill this requirement.  Learn More.

Please visit for the most up to date information on where you can obtain a COVID-19 vaccination.

The vaccination requirement will go into effect on June 1 for all students, faculty and staff who access campus over the summer months.  All new and returining students, as well as faculty and staff, will be required to be vaccinated prior to the fall 2021 semester.

The vaccination requirement will apply to all new and returning students, faculty and staff for the Fall 2021 semester.

For students who have already been vaccinated or choose to be vaccinated at an off-campus location, please submit your documentation through the Student Patient Portal.

For faculty and staff, consistent with the University’s flu vaccination protocol, in the coming days you will receive and are expected to complete a brief COVID-19 Vaccine Status attestation questionnaire.

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.

As summarized by the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”): “Over 167 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through April 5, 2021. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA).” Anyone with concerns about receiving the vaccine should consult with their doctor.

Stay Safe Pledge

Several changes have been made to the Stay Safe Pledge, including:

  • Taking part in required weekly surveillance testing throughout the Spring 2021 semester.
  • Getting a flu vaccine prior to the start of the Spring 2021 semester or requesting a medical or religious exemption.
  • Limiting gatherings to 10 people while Syracuse University is in an Orange zone.
  • Completing the daily health screening.
  • Not traveling or hosting visitors from outside of Central New York for the entire semester (defined as Onondaga, Cayuga, Cortland, Madison and Oswego counties).
  • If required to travel for a family, medical or personal emergency, registering that travel with the University’s travel registry.

These counties make up the Central New York region as defined by the state of New York for COVID-19 response purposes.

No. Students must agree not to host visitors from outside of Central New York for any reason, whether or not they are present on campus, to limit community spread and avoid placing an unnecessary burden on the CNY health care system.

Examples of essential travel for a family, medical or personal emergency include serious illness on the part of the student or a member of the student’s family, travel required for essential medical care and similar situations. Examples that may be deemed non-essential travel include family reunions or vacations, social events, visits to family or friends, tourism or sightseeing.

Registering essential travel using the University’s travel registry enables Syracuse University to quickly engage in contact tracing in the event that essential travel results in COVID-19 exposure or illness.

During a public health emergency, certain aspects of your medical information – including a positive COVID-19 test result – can be required to be shared with public health authorities, including the Barnes Center. Failure to notify Syracuse University of a positive test result may hinder accurate contact tracing and put your close contacts – including roommates, classmates and faculty – at risk of spreading the virus.

COVID-19 is often spread by individuals who do not know they are infected and exhibit no symptoms. Timely participation in contact tracing is essential to limiting the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility and Availability

Currently, there are three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. They teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. The mRNA is destroyed by your body within approximately five days and does not alter your genetic code in any way.

Johnson and Johnson is a viral vector vaccine. Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells. For COVID-19 viral vector vaccines, the vector (not the virus that causes COVID-19, but a different, harmless virus) will enter a cell in our body and then use the cell’s machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Both vaccines deliver genetic instructions that help our immune system develop antibodies to the COVID-19 spike protein. If exposed to COVID-19, you will be ready to neutralize the actual virus.  Pfizer and Moderna require two doses, 21 and 28 days apart and Johnson and Johnson is only one dose. With Pfizer and Moderna, both doses of the vaccines need to be from the same manufacturer.    

COVID-19 vaccines cannot give someone COVID-19 or other infections.

To date, all three vaccines have completely prevented severe disease and death. Hospitalizations are beginning to fall among age groups that first received the vaccines.

It has been widely reported that the three vaccines differ slightly in their effectiveness. However, it is important to note that vaccines’ protective efficacies determined in studies are not directly comparable due to differences in populations, different definitions of disease and different methods of measuring disease.  

For example, efficacies widely reported state that Moderna is 100% effective against severe disease, Pfizer is 90% and Johnson & Johnson is 85%, but these are not directly comparable. Additionally, reports of overall efficacy state 94-95% for Pfizer and Moderna and 66% for Johnson & Johnson, however the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was the only one studied outside the US, where different strains of COVID-19 are more common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommends you get any COVID-19 vaccine that is available when you are eligible and to not wait for a specific brand. CDC does not recommend one authorized vaccine over another.

The vaccines’ safety has been tested in more than 300,000 people during the trials, without any indication of severe complications. To date, millions of people have already received the vaccine without complication. More than 95% of doctors have gotten the vaccine themselves.

The mRNA platform (Moderna and Pfizer) is new for vaccines, but its safety is well tested. The mRNA technology is more than 30 years old. It has been used in numerous anti-cancer and anti-infectious disease vaccine candidates. The mRNA is destroyed by your body within 5 days and does not alter your genetic code. Viral vector vaccines (like the Johnson & Johnson) were created by scientists in the 1970s and two Ebola vaccines using this technology were used recently in Africa.

Although the process for developing the COVID-19 vaccine was fast, it was not rushed. The vaccines are built on decades of investment in the National Institutes of Health scientific discovery. Vaccine development has been accelerating as a result of this scientific discovery. The development of the COVID-19 vaccines benefits from this scientific discovery and is even faster than normal due to the unprecedented scientific, government and industry collaborations. Regulatory processes were streamlined, and vaccines proved effective in a short period of time because of the incredible amount of COVID-19 circulating when the trials were run. The vaccines were held to rigorous safety and effectiveness standards. 

To further enhance COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring, the CDC has rolled out a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker.  It is called V-safe.  It is the most comprehensive vaccine safety monitoring system in history.     

To date, there have been no serious adverse events following the vaccine. Comparatively the rate of death from COVID-19 for people aged 18-29 is 3 in 10,000 cases. Allergic reactions can happen but they are rare. The rate of severe allergic reaction is about 1-2 cases per million doses, and most often happens within 30 minutes. If you have a history of anaphylaxis or other severe reaction to another vaccine or injectable medication you should consult your personal medical provider prior to getting the vaccine. If you have a history of allergic reaction to food or venom (such as bee stings), you should be observed for 30 minutes following the vaccine instead of the standard 15-minute observation. Most people (50-70%) reported arm pain and soreness following the vaccine. About half of people report fever, fatigue, headaches, chills, or muscle or joint aches that fade after a day or two.

At this point, it is unclear how long immunity will last.   The vaccine manufacturers are looking at emerging new strains of COVID-19 and developing new booster vaccines.  It may be that in the future we will need an annual COVID-19 shot much like an annual Flu shot which is updated based on which strains are circulating.  If you have been infected with COVID-19, it is still a good idea to get vaccinated if you have completed your isolation.

New York State has created a phased approach to distributing the vaccine based on need and risk. Both the federal government and NYS have stated that plans are underway to ensure everyone will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available.

For eligible members of our campus community, COVID-19 vaccine appointments can be made through New York State and Onondaga County.

Make an appointment: Visit the Onondaga County COVID-19 Vaccine website to identify an available time that works for you. The county only makes appointments when they have available vaccine, so check back often. These appointments are typically within the next day or two.

Appointments can also be made at the New York State (Fairgrounds) vaccination sites.  New appointments are released daily, and if you cannot make an appointment in the next few days check back regularly.

If you have trouble signing up or are unsure of your eligibility, call the COVID PMO office at 315.443.6180. If you need access to a computer or Wi-Fi to sign up for a vaccine, visit the testing center at the Stadium for assistance.

Complete the two forms provided in your confirmation email: After you schedule your appointment, you will receive a confirmation email. This email will contain links to two forms: 1) a screening and consent form that will need to be printed and completed and 2) a form attesting to your eligibility status. The attestation form will provide a “Submission ID,” which you can show on your phone when you arrive at the OnCenter.

Provide proof of eligibility upon arrival: Please bring with you proof of identification such as your driver’s license, government-issued identification card or your SU I.D. 

  • Those eligible due to student employment should bring a recent paystub (printed or displayed on mobile device). For unpaid student employment (i.e. course credit or other unpaid campus internship), bring a letter from your supervisor verifying your on-campus employment.
  • Those eligible due to comorbidity or an underlying health condition are not required to bring a doctor’s letter or other medical documentation. However, you will be required to sign the screening and consent form where you will personally attest to your medical eligibility.

Bring your insurance card: You will be asked for insurance information, but the vaccine is free and there will never be a charge to you. This information is for administrative use only. You do not need to have insurance to get the vaccine.

Please note: the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines both require a second dose, which will be scheduled during your appointment for the first dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.

If you are eligible, we strongly urge you to schedule an appointment now. Like the flu and other communicable diseases, vaccination is the best protection against the spread of COVID-19.

Ten different vaccines are being administered around the world. The Pfizer vaccine is currently being used in 68 countries. Several more countries have approved vaccines but have yet to begin administrations. Most of the vaccines currently in use require two doses for a patient to be fully vaccinated.

There are many reasons why someone may be hesitant to get the vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that approves vaccines is a non-partisan civil service organization and the vaccines have been approved by organizations like the FDA across the world.

Communities of color and marginalized identities have historically experienced abuse by health care systems or have had less access to health care systems. This has led to legacy vaccine hesitancy among these populations. But in this pandemic, numerous communities of color are leading the way in vaccine acceptance, deployment, and getting us back to normal.

To learn more about this history and the COVID-19 vaccines, you can participate in our on-demand Wellness Leadership Institute workshop: “Vaccine History, Hesitancy, and the COVID-19 Vaccine."

The University is running a free a shuttle from the College Place bus stop to Onondaga County’s OnCenter vaccination clinic. Shuttles operate weekdays from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., running on a continuous loop.

Centro offers free shuttle buses for COVID-19 vaccinations at the New York State Fairgrounds.

Important Information About COVID Testing

All students, including off-campus students, who access campus must participate in weekly testing. This means if you are coming to campus—no matter how infrequently and for any purpose—including to attend in-person classes, use the Libraries or Barnes Center at The Arch, visit a dining center or café, work, or conduct research, you must participate in weekly testing.

No. You are required to participate in saliva surveillance testing weekly (at least every seven days). So long as you visit the Stadium Testing Center at a minimum of every seven days, you will remain in compliance. If the day you initially tested does not work with your schedule, you can return to the Stadium Testing Center at any point to test and begin a new seven-day window for compliance. Make a testing plan for yourself and don’t wait until the last minute.

You will be notified via email if the sample you provided was insufficient to be tested by the laboratory. Most often, this occurs when an individual does not closely follow testing instructions – for example, by not providing enough saliva, providing mucus or phlegm rather than saliva, or providing a sample contaminated with food, drink or tobacco.  Please return to the Stadium Testing Center as soon as possible to test again. If you do not return to re-test promptly, you risk being noncompliant.

Yes, you must participate in weekly testing. Simply notify the test administrator when visiting the Stadium Testing Center the date on which you have previously tested positive and your sample will be processed appropriately. If you have not already done so, please also upload your positive test result to the Student Patient Portal.

Please note, if you are currently in quarantine or isolation, or you are awaiting a diagnostic test result from the Barnes Center, you should not visit the Stadium Testing Center until cleared to do so.

Yes, you must participate in weekly testing.

Depending on when you last participated in surveillance saliva testing, you will need to test again within seven days of that date. When you receive email notification of a negative result, the email will also indicate the date by which you must test again. You will also receive email reminders beginning 48 hours in advance of becoming noncompliant.

The current hours for the Stadium Testing Center are as follows:

  • Monday: 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 9 a.m.–2 p.m.; 5–10 p.m.
  • Thursday: 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

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’ 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 provided to the University prior to your first day of classes (or your first on-campus engagement).

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.

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.

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.

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

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 created 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, the Syracuse University COVID-19 Dashboard is updated every day by 5 p.m. 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.

Quarantine and Isolation

The New York State Department of Health has adopted a recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that reduces the mandatory quarantine period for those possibly exposed to COVID-19 from 14 days to 10 days. As such, this semester, students and employees directed to a mandatory quarantine by a county health department (in which the diagnostic test is administered) will be issued a 10-day quarantine order.

The CDC guidance also mandates that any individual exiting quarantine after 10 days, must also follow enhanced health precautions (i.e., limiting contact with others, health monitoring, etc.) for a period of an additional four days due to elevated risk.

Students who receive a mandatory quarantine order will:

  • Receive a COVID test on the sixth or seventh day of their quarantine period as directed by the COVID Project Management Office.
  • If that test is negative, the student will continue in quarantine status and exit quarantine status after the 10-day requirement has expired.
  • If that test is positive, the student will transition from quarantine to a mandatory isolation status for a period of 10 days.

Employees who receive a mandatory quarantine order will:

  • Receive a COVID test on the fifth or sixth day of their quarantine period.
  • Receive a test on the tenth day of their quarantine.
  • Only if both tests are negative will the employee be cleared by the University to return to work.
  • The University will provide impacted employees access to testing and return to work clearance will be coordinated via HR Shared Services. It remains the employee responsibility and University policy that employees notify HR Shared Services of a positive test.

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.

Students in quarantine and isolation are contacted by their pod leader, normally a student services staff member, and provided with their email and cell phone number.  Pod leaders are responding to emails and texts with requests and concerns from students almost 24/7. They are responsible for facilitating all student services needs including facilities, food services, academic and logistical assistance (e.g. comfort items, how to get packages and deliveries, the process for being cleared by the health department and the COVID office for release).  Students can obtain health and counseling services by calling the Barnes Center, and if they need to be seen in person they are provided with transportation to and from the Barnes Center from the quarantine or isolation site. 

Rooms are pre-stocked with shelf-stable snacks, drinks, condiments and plastic utensils as well as a refillable water bottle.  Meals are delivered to each isolation location and labeled with the student’s name.  Students can order food for delivery, as long as they use a contactless payment method.  Students can also have pharmacy items delivered by the Barnes Center pharmacy and the Bookstore.

Students in isolation (those who have tested positive whether asymptomatic or symptomatic) receive a daily call from a Barnes Center healthcare provider who monitors their symptoms and vitals.  A Syracuse University contact tracer also reaches out to students regularly, and students may also be contacted by the Onondaga County Health Department.

Students in quarantine and isolation in Skyhalls or South Campus apartments are allowed to leave their rooms to do laundry, pick up food or deliveries from designated areas, to visit health care providers and for daily scheduled outdoor time. Students quarantining in the Sheraton must remain in their rooms.

All students in quarantine or isolation provide a detailed guide from their pod leader that includes:

  • Contact Information
  • What to Pack
  • Quarantine or Isolation Procedures and Policies
  • Health, Wellness and Pharmacy Information
  • Food Services and Outside Food Delivery Information
  • Laundry Services and Schedules
  • Facilities Information
  • Academic Information
  • Information about engagement and activities
  • Package Drop-Off and Delivery
  • Additional information about COVID-19

New York State Travel Advisory and Quarantine

Students arriving from contiguous states are exempt from the New York State Travel Advisory, but must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form. Students arriving from a non-contiguous state, US territory or CDC Level 2 or Level 3 Health Notice country are required to do one of the following:

  • Complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine, or
  • Test out of the quarantine requirement by completing the following steps:
    1. Obtain a COVID-19 test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York;
    2. Upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days;
    3. On day 4 of their quarantine, obtain another COVID test. If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.

For more information, visit the New York State COVID-19 Travel Advisory website.

  • 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 strict precautions 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.
  • The Stay Safe Pledge is not intended to restrict University-approved/sponsored travel, such as approved essential travel for research or academic purposes, athletics competition and other approved purposes, so long as it is otherwise within bounds of SU policies and individuals who travel observe New York State’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory requirements
  • University sanctioned travel includes added safety precautions to protect the health and well-being of our students, as well as our broader community when they return to campus. Any student who travels away from campus is expected to respect and uphold all provisions of the Stay Safe Pledge and to follow instructions from University officials at all times.

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

Financial Assistance

The pandemic has created financial hardship for many in our community. Please know there may be financial assistance available.

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 spring 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 here

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.

Flu Shots (General)

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 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.

Students can get their flu shot at their primary care doctor or local pharmacy and upload their documentation on the Student Patient Portal. Students can also schedule to have a flu shot at the Barnes Center pharmacy, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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.)

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.

  • 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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


Health Promotion and Prevention

All students are required to affirm that they will abide by all actions required by the updated Stay Safe Pledge.

Students are also required to abide by all directives from state and local public health authorities and to follow any and all guidelines of the New York State Travel and Quarantine Advisory prior to returning to campus.

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 is 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. As a condition of returning to campus, students will be required to affirmatively commit to the updated Stay Safe Pledge. 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 has already built 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 utilizes 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

In addition to daily cleaning, public restrooms are being monitored multiple times throughout the day to ensure cleanliness. Several times each day, staff disinfect 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 have been removed from restrooms to avoid spreading airborne particles.

The University closely monitored 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 were reviewed to both perform preventative maintenance and verify that systems were operating properly.  Where possible, modifications to ventilation systems were 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 Spring 2021 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. Eliminating potentially risky spring break travel. We are cognizant of the needs of students who may not be able to travel home and have 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.

View the academic calendar for Spring 2021 

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 International Students

We must report registration of students in F-1 status within 30 days of the program start date on the I-20.  Because the original start date of the Spring 2021 semester was January 19, we issued I-20s with that date although classes will now not begin until January 25.  That means that if you do not arrive by February 17, your immigration record will close and you will likely not be admitted to the U.S.  However, some academic departments do not allow for late arrival of students.  Please confirm with your department to be sure that your expected arrival date is approved by your department.

International students pursuing studies in the U.S. in will be allowed to remain in the U.S. and complete the semester fully online. 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

Please refer to Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Chris Johnson's memo on spring registration.

Faculty and staff may be tested at the Stadium Testing Center during operating hours. No appointment is necessary.

Faculty and staff can also 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 faculty and staff health plan covers COVID-19 testing conducted at other testing sites. 

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 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

We recognize and appreciate that the 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. Updated travel guidelines are available at

Any faculty or staff member who chooses to travel outside of Central New York, for business or personal reasons, must abide by any and all guidelines of the New York State Travel Advisory—including those related to quarantine—prior to returning to campus.

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, 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 required to take part in the University’s ongoing testing and virus surveillance protocols.

Any faculty or staff member who chooses to travel outside of Central New York, for business or personal reasons, must abide by any and all guidelines of the New York State Travel Advisory – including those related to quarantine – prior to returning 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 Spring 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 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 Teaching Preparedness 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. Still other courses will be listed as in-person only. 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, most but not 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 maintaining immigration status.

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. Newly matriculated international graduate students will receive a survey to indicate their intentions to complete course work online or in-person 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.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has recently indicated that Fall 2020 guidance remains in effect for Spring 2021. Therefore, international students who were in the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status on March 9, 2020 and who intend to be in the U.S. for the spring semester must register full-time (minimum 9 credit hours) unless it is their last semester of study (must file a Last Semester memo with the Center for International Services) or file a Certificate of Full-time Status with the Registrar’s Office. Enrollment may be completely online. 

International graduate students who arrived in the U.S. in Fall 2020 or who will arrive in Spring 2021 must register full-time (minimum 9 credit hours) and must be enrolled in at least one in person or hybrid course. 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.

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 Spring 2021 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.