Dear Colleagues:
I am writing this afternoon to call your attention to the message you recently received from Mike Haynie, vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation, and to provide a few additional thoughts on our ongoing efforts to manage COVID-19.
First, I want to highlight a few key points:
Now, I’d like to provide reminders on a few important topics in the context of COVID-19.
Excused Absence Policy
As in past semesters, students who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate. You will receive an absence notification from the staff in SOaR for students who have to miss class for more than 48 hours. For privacy reasons, those notifications will not include a medical diagnosis. Your student may communicate with you directly before you receive the absence notification.
Faculty are required to provide students who are in isolation with the means to keep up with the rest of the class so that they can successfully resume their participation when their isolation period is over. You are free to decide how you do this in the manner most fitting for your classes. Many faculty choose to livestream or record their classes for students in isolation—though this is not required. Our students have indicated clearly that this is their preferred option and I encourage you to give it serious consideration. Nearly all of our teaching spaces are equipped for both streaming and recording classes. Please don’t hesitate to contact your school or college’s IT team if you need help setting this up.
Our immunocompromised students may have sought and secured accommodations through the Center for Disability Resources (CDR). All faculty are obliged to follow the University’s policies and federal law related to serving students with disabilities. The Disability Faculty Portal, located in the Faculty Services field in MySlice, can be used to view accommodation letters for your students, upload exams and assignments, and provide feedback to CDR.
Testing Positive for COVID
As a reminder, if you test positive for COVID, you should notify your department chair and HR Shared Services by phone at 315.443.4042. If your school does not have departments, please notify your dean. If you are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and you want to continue teaching your classes online, you may do so. Otherwise, you should work with your department chair or dean to arrange for alternate instruction.
Close Contact Exposure
Finally, the CDC continues to recommend that anyone in close contact to a COVID positive individual should wear a mask while in public for a period of five days following exposure. As our campus policy is aligned with CDC guidance, we ask that all members of our campus community adhere to this guidance. Faculty members should feel free to remind students of this policy in their classroom.
Let me close by extending my deep gratitude to our faculty and staff for their continued support of our students and our community. Because of you, we continue to provide the Orange experience our students expect and enjoy. At the same time, please know that I recognize that for many in our community, COVID remains a significant concern. We will continue to follow the guidance and directive of public health authorities, and provide updates to our community as there are changes to guidance or new developments. Let us continue to support each other as part of a caring community.
Many thanks to you all for your hard work, tenacity and commitment to Syracuse University. I hope your semester is successful and productive.
Gretchen Ritter
Vice Chancellor, Provost and Chief Academic Officer
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