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Collage of activities like donation drives and virtual gatherings taking place at SUNY schools in response to COVID19 outbreak.
Health Alert - Novel Coronavirus

Message from Chancellor Kristina Johnson 


Dear SUNY Community,

Community Response to COVID19

See what SUNY campuses, students, and faculty are doing to come together and help recover from the COVID19 crisis.

Throughout the unprecedented novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, SUNY has responded as a system. Students, faculty and staff at each of our 64 individual campuses continue to contribute what they can and when they can, leveraging their own distinctive expertise.

I am writing to you now for two reasons. First, to thank you for your courage, grit and resiliency as we navigate these unchartered waters. Though there have been some bumps in the road with our near-universal shift of classes to distance learning, this never-before-attempted experience has been largely a success. That's thanks to you and your passion for higher education and carrying out the SUNY motto – to learn, to search and to serve.

And in addition to our students, faculty and staff moving to remote instruction within a fortnight, you used 3D printers to make face shields and sew masks, producing more than 55,000 personal protection equipment for New York State medical center staff. You are carrying out research on COVID-19 diagnostic tests, clinical trials of promising therapeutics, novel tracing technologies, and genome sequencing to further our understanding of the virus and accelerate a path towards solving this pandemic.

Our first responders and frontline health care workers from Upstate Medical University left the safety of their homes to volunteer downstate, where SUNY hospitals have cared for thousands of COVID-19 patients. SUNY campuses on Long Island are home to temporary field hospitals, and campuses all over the State are setting up regional drive-through testing sites.

And this past year we invested time and resources in building a system-wide, online platform - SUNY Online, which allows faculty from any SUNY campus to follow their students and oversee academic progress anywhere and at any time. This preparation paid off in an unexpected way.

All of this is part of what it means to be #SUNYTogether, with everyone pulling together toward the same ultimate goal to deliver absolute inclusivity - high quality education for all New Yorkers. And I thank you for your fighting spirit and support.

My second reason for writing is to be informative and transparent about what we are doing and how we are planning to resume face-to-face, on campus instruction, research and scholarship.

The infection curve thankfully is now flattening as a result of Governor Andrew Cuomo's "PAUSE" effort and the State is moving toward a phased-in re-opening of the economy.

This is a complicated undertaking with many moving parts, and it requires collaboration with a wide range of partners. We have established a SUNY COVID-19 Re-Imagine and Resume Residential Education Task Force (Task Force), with seven working groups focused on specific areas integral to a safe and successful resumption of residential education - from student wellness and academic operations to community engagement, campus resources, research and the science of re-opening, physical plant preparedness and community colleges.

Just as the State is working in concert with neighboring states on a regional re-opening approach, SUNY is working in consultation with its 64 campuses, the Governor's New York Forward Advisory Group (Advisory Group), New York's private colleges (CICU), CUNY, local and state elected officials, public health experts, and others. We are also reaching out to higher education leaders across the country to compare notes on best practices and determine the safest and most effective route forward.

We understand that resuming face-to-face instruction cannot occur in a vacuum; each of our campuses is a complex ecosystem with regular engagement with their respective surrounding communities. The Task Force is working collaboratively with the Governor Advisory Group, to develop plans and a checklist of criteria that must be met before on-campus learning resumes.

In addition to a checklist, and part of our resume strategy, SUNY is creating a risk wheel that will dynamically pull real-time data from a number of dashboards to help all of us manage operations during the transition back to face-to-face instruction and beyond.

Again, this is a complicated and fluid process that is changing by the day and informed by the input of a wide array of experts. We recognize that this situation has been both challenging and frustrating, and we thank the members of our SUNY community for being both resilient and patient as we work to determine the safest path forward.

Our main goal is to be able to fulfill our mission of providing high-quality education to all students with the broadest possible access, while prioritizing the health and wellness of the entire system. There are numerous challenges ahead, and we are assessing the changing landscape daily and responding to them as quickly as we can. We will continue to provide updates as they become available. Thank you again for your resiliency, courage and grit during this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD. 
Chancellor, The State University of New York

 

 

SUNY's response to COVID-19

  

For Immediate Assistance

New York State Coronavirus health hotline:
888-364-3065

Call with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms

 
Resources for Remote Learning:
Open SUNY and SUNY Online - Leading Learning and Teaching

The entire SUNY system is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and the action steps being taken will be updated continuously as the situation evolves. The World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus as a pandemic, and we recognize that this virus is rapidly spreading across communities at home and abroad. SUNY is taking all the necessary precautions to protect our students. SUNY is and will continue to abide by all guidelines recommended by the New York State Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control. SUNY is comprised of 64 campuses, and each campus will be working with system administrators to develop plans tailored to the risk level in their area. Information will be forthcoming to students before they return to campus.

We have compiled helpful FAQs for both students and their families below:

 

Campus Operations

SUNY campuses are limiting exposure to the coronavirus by transitioning in-person classroom instruction to distance learning education. This is taking place during an extended spring break. Campus officials are currently assessing student needs, faculty are reviewing their curriculum, and spaces are to receive enhanced cleaning.

Students are being discouraged from returning to campus until further notice. Campuses remain open to accommodate those students with special circumstances: international students and students where other safe living and dining arrangements cannot be made or have limited or no access to technology may return to campus facilities.

SUNY campuses are not closed, but campuses are transitioning in-person classroom instruction to distance learning education so students can get their education remotely. Students are being discouraged from returning to campus until further notice. Campuses remain open to accommodate those students with special circumstances: international students and students where other safe living and dining arrangements cannot be made or have limited or no access to technology may return to campus facilities.

Yes, all campuses are following the same guidelines while addressing the specific student needs on campus, and in consultation with their local public health official. Each campus will make the transition to online or other distance learning programs following an extended spring break to reduce campus density. Before students continue their studies, they will be informed on what to expect, including any changes to schedules and operational processes.

SUNY is aware of cases at certain campuses. In each case, the school has alerted students, faculty, and staff. For information about a specific campus, please visit their website.

No, health facilities are open to help those students with special circumstances who need to stay on campus.

SUNY campuses are not closed, but campuses are transitioning in-person classroom instruction to distance learning education so students can get their education remotely. Students are being discouraged from returning to campus until further notice. Campuses remain open to accommodate those students with special circumstances: international students and students where other safe living and dining arrangements cannot be made or have limited or no access to technology may return to campus facilities.

Campuses are making arrangements for students to retrieve their belongings. In the meantime, their belongings will remain safe on campus. Please contact your campus for further details.

There will be food service, mainly take out, on campus for essential employees and students with special circumstances who need to stay on campus. Please contact your campus for details.

Campuses are making significant changes to stop the spread of the coronavirus including restricting visitors. Please contact your campus for more details.

SUNY stands ready to do everything it can to help Governor Cuomo's efforts to support the state's public health system in dealing with the increase in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

At this point, we have not changed our admissions requirements for the Class of 2021. We are hopeful that students will have an opportunity to take their exams in time for application review. If students are seeking admission for Fall 2020, please encourage them to contact the admissions office at the campuses to which they have applied.

Classes

Most classes will be transitioning to distance learning education, including SUNY's online platform, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, email, and even traditional mail. Campuses are taking all measures to limit the need for in-person classes. Laboratory instruction, for example, is also being reviewed to be taught remotely where possible, and, if not, campuses will follow social-distancing protocols of less than 10 students per lab and more than 6 feet separation between lab benches and benches must be wiped down after each use. Campuses will contact students with further details.

Distance learning will be in place until further notice. The safety and well-being of students is our first priority.

SUNY is strongly discouraging students from doing so. Most classes will be transitioning to distance learning education, including SUNY's online platform, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, email, and even traditional mail. Campuses are taking all measures to limit the need for in-person classes.

Yes, please visit https://innovate.suny.edu/covid19/students/, developed by the SUNY Online team, for resources to help with online learning. These include: Resources for Success in Your Online Course; Resources for Active Military and Veteran Students; Mental Health, Nutrition, and Technology Resources; as well as links to the Support Guides for Working with Blackboard, brightspace, Canvas, and Moodle.

In addition, the Open SUNY Helpdesk is available to assist students at all campuses with technical support, including how to access their courses using online tools/technology. Access the helpdesk at: https://online.suny.edu/help/.

 

SUNY has organized live, drop-in, sessions via Collaborate to assist students with the transition to remote course instruction. Sessions are staffed by SUNY personnel familiar with how to quickly address common student questions about participation in online/remote courses, connect students with technical support for remote access to their courses, and point them to appropriate campus resources.

Staff will continue to be available at the days and times listed below:

  • Monday - Friday 7:00AM - 12:00AM Midnight EST
  • Saturday 10:00AM - 5:00PM EST
  • Sunday 1:00PM - 9:00PM EST

Visit http://innovate.suny.edu/covid19/students to register for a session.

Most answers to questions about technology can be found at https://innovate.suny.edu/covid19/students/.

If you don’t have a computer, you should contact your campus IT department. SUNY System has ordered 7,000 laptops to help campuses with their computer loan program for students. We are also working on internet access issues for both faculty and students.

These unwanted intrusions (also known as "Zoom bombings") are most likely a result of the way a Zoom session was set up and the way the link is being shared. Here’s how you can mitigate Zoom bombings:

  • Set up Zoom sessions to require passcodes beyond the meeting ID. Allow only signed-in users to join.
  • Share the Zoom link through your LMS course site, which requires a user ID and password.
  • If faculty are sharing information about Zoom sessions in email, do not include the Zoom link or passcode to the Zoom session. Let students know they have to get into the LMS course site to access the Zoom session.
  • Do not use your Personal Meeting ID (PMI). Instead, use randomly generated meeting ID and passcode for each course.
  • Use Zoom’s waiting room feature, which allows the host to approve each person who enters the room.

Additional guidance is available in this recently posted blog on how to prevent Zoom bombings: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/20/keep-the-party-crashers-from-crashing-your-zoom-eve.

We will also highlight these issues and strategies in future Zoom trainings and webinars through the SUNY Remote Teaching Clinic.  

For additional help, faculty may wish to join the Faculty ID Drop-in Sessions at https://innovate.suny.edu/covid19/course-support-session/.

Please report all Zoom bombings to Ken Runyon at 518-320-1368 or ken.runyon@suny.edu.

SUNY's longstanding policy is to accept AP scores of 3 or higher for college credit. We wish high school students the very best on their upcoming AP exams, and encourage them to be sure to identify their intended SUNY school on their score report request(s). Once students receive their scores, they should be sure to visit their intended SUNY campus website for additional advisement.

Opportunity Programs

All 49 SUNY campuses with Educational Opportunity Programs will provide online pre-freshman summer programs for entering EOP students. To help close the technology gap, the Office of Opportunity Programs will provide loaner laptops to participating students.

SUNY campuses will accept letters from school counselors documenting the amount received in public assistance in 2018 for initial review. However, official documentation must be provided as soon as possible, and before the start of the fall semester, to clear the students for economic eligibility.

To mail paper documents, please contact the Recruitment Response Center at askSUNY@suny.edu. The ASC will be able to mail a postage paid envelope to your student.

To send EOP documents electronically, please contact the Recruitment Response Center at askSUNY@suny.edu. They will be able to work with the student to submit documents electronically.

Events

SUNY campuses will be limiting large gatherings in consultation with their respective local public health department.

The coronavirus may affect spring commencements. Graduation ceremonies will be held for graduating students at some point.

Students interested in learning about a specific campus can find virtual information sessions on our Events page. Additional online events offered by SUNY campuses can be found on the Visit a Campus page. Finally, virtual tours for each campus can be found by viewing individual Campus Profile pages.

Health

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing but do not always require emergency care. If you do not need urgent care, stay in your home or dorm room, and do not go into public. Follow CDC guidelines for good hygiene.

Call your doctor to discuss your symptoms and recent travels. Do not go to your doctor or campus health center without calling first. Avoid contact with other people and pets.

Monitor your health, and call your healthcare provider or your campus health center immediately if you develop symptoms, such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Follow the directions of your healthcare provider and/or the local health department.

Practice good hygiene, which includes frequent handwashing, and social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away). Follow CDC recommendations on what to do to prevent household and community spread.

Contact student services, your healthcare provider, and the local health department, and alert them of the results. Strictly follow their directions, which may include self-isolating until symptoms subside. The campus community will be notified that someone on campus has tested positive.

If you are on campus, contact your student health center or counseling center for assistance. Campus counseling centers are still providing service online and/or over the phone, and seeing students residing both on and off-campus. You can also find resources about emotional well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak from your local health department or your primary care doctor.

Additional information:

 

Financial Impacts

Several SUNY campuses have moved their deposit deadlines to June 1. You can view a list of current deadlines for more detail.

The ASC will accept an unsigned fee waiver request together with an email assurance from the student’s school counselor that the applicant meets the criteria for the waiver. Fee waiver requests can be emailed to askSUNY@suny.edu.

 

Study Abroad

COVID-19 is a global issue, and therefore SUNY leadership guidance reaches beyond its physical infrastructure to locations outside the United States where SUNY students participate in study abroad programs. Ensuring student safety and success is a priority for SUNY.

SUNY has determined that it is necessary to cancel all campus-administered study abroad programs for the 2020 spring semester in response to the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak. This means that program participants in all countries have been returning to the United States, including students who are studying in countries at low risk for the virus.

Campuses and SUNY System Administration are actively working on course/credit recovery options for all students. SUNY is also working with Federal and State officials to understand policy flexibilities to accommodate students with financial aid due to these exceptional circumstances.

We have compiled helpful FAQs about study abroad for both students and their families below:

SUNY campuses are considering options to help students finish the semester. Those options include distance learning programs.

SUNY is taking every measure to resolve or minimize any impact.

SUNY and campus representatives are in close communication with students so they understand why they should return to the United States. The global impact of coronavirus is unknown, so bringing back students is a necessary precaution. Students will not be penalized academically, and SUNY is working to mitigate the academic and financial hurdles caused by the cancellation of these study abroad programs.

Travel guidance has been changing, so please contact your campus before travelling. They will be able to inform you about what to expect when returning to the United States.

SUNY has cancelled student study abroad for Spring 2020 and Summer 2020. SUNY is closely monitoring the evolving situation and had not yet made a determination about the Fall.

 

International Students at SUNY during New York State PAUSE

New York State is on PAUSE, which means that all non-essential workers are directed to work from home, and everyone is required to maintain a 6-foot distance from others in public. If you have questions regarding immigration status, travel, employment and campus operations you must reach out to your international student services office for advice and guidance.

Immigration Status

U.S. universities received guidance from the Department of Homeland Security that allows students to continue this semester's courses online without jeopardizing their immigration status. The Student and Visitor Exchange Program (SEVP) has confirmed that "If a school closes temporarily but offers online instruction or another alternative learning procedure, nonimmigrant students should participate in online or other alternate learning procedures and remain in active status in SEVIS." Furthermore, SEVP confirmed that international students may take full-time courses online either from within the U.S. or from abroad. This means that to maintain your immigration status you need to participate in online learning, continue to be enrolled full-time, and make normal progress toward your degree. Regardless of where you are participating in online classes, your immigration status will remain active.

On March 13, the U.S. government announced that as long as you maintain full-time enrollment online during the COVID-19 emergency, there will be no negative impact on your immigration status, even if you depart the United States and complete your classes via distance education from elsewhere. This temporary provision is in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.

If you are maintaining full-time status until the end of the Spring Semester, then you are entitled to your annual summer vacation. According to the immigration regulations, an F-1 or J-1 student is in status during the annual (or summer) vacation if the student is eligible and intends to register for the next term. If you maintain your immigration status, the 5-month rule does not come into effect. Remember that when classes resume in person, you must return to campus to maintain your immigration status.

Travel

Most SUNY campuses will be able to work with you to ensure there are accommodations for housing.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict if and when further restrictions will be put in place by the U.S. Administration for travelers returning from high risk countries.

You need to check the travel and visa restrictions that may be in place at the time you are planning to travel as the situation is changing daily. If you are currently outside the U.S. or plan to travel outside the U.S., we recommend that you continue to monitor travel updates by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). As of March 18, 2020 routine U.S. visa issuance has been suspended worldwide and daily restrictions on travel are being implemented.

You may stay in the U.S. on an expired F-1 or J-1 visa as long as you maintain your immigration status by being in possession of a valid I-20 or DS-2019 and by meeting normal enrollment requirements. (Canadian citizens do not need a visa to enter the U.S.)

 

News and Resources

Stay up to date with the latest news and resources on SUNY's efforts against the COVID-19 coronavirus: