Syracuse University Requiring Residential Advisors from “Hot” States to Return to Campus by August 1st

Friday, Jul 17, 2020 at 8:40 pm by Lucas Vogel

By Erin Lyons – Residential advisors from states on the New York COVID-19 Travel Advisory are required to return to the Syracuse University campus by August 1 and quarantine for 14 days, in order to comply with New York State mandates.


Syracuse University previously planned for residential advisors to return to campus by August 8 at the latest. The new move-in date gives students from “hot states” just over two weeks to change travel and moving plans. The Office of Student Living said they were unable to communicate the new date before July 16.


The Office of Student Living revealed the new move-in date for RAs from “hot states” in a Zoom meeting on July 17, facilitated by Assistant Director Ashley Veney. In addition to returning to campus earlier than expected, these residential advisors will use designated bathrooms, complete daily check-ins, have food delivered to their dorm rooms and must not “interact physically with others.”


 All RAs will complete their training virtually – including those from states not restricted by the New York COVID-19 Travel Advisory.


It is unclear what will happen to residential advisors who cannot return to campus by August 1. 


Initially, those who could not return to campus were told that Syracuse University “will unfortunately not be able to have you serve as an RA this semester.” 


However, in an July 18 email from the Office of Student Living, the Director of Residence Life George Athanas told students he would personally “work on options” with residential advisors who cannot make it to campus by August 1, but could arrive at a later date.

“If you are traveling from a ‘hot’ state and not able to get to campus until August 7th please reach out to me so we can work through potential options,” Athanas wrote. ”We want all of our staff to be with us this fall, you are OSL, and we are only as strong as our staff. We are in this together.”

Additionally, Athanas said residential advisors arriving later could still complete their training virtually, but that the option of quarantining on campus with OSL support “becomes complicated.”

Currently, residential advisors who arrive later than August 1 would not be able to quarantine in the university dormitories.


During the Zoom meeting, the Office of Student Living said RAs have an earlier move-in date than other students because they “are necessary student staff for campus thus a different option exists than a ‘regular’ student.”


Syracuse University employs 177 residential advisors during the academic year. In a Zoom webinar on July 17, Vice Chancellor J. Michael Haynie said roughly 2,000 Syracuse University students live in states currently on the COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Representatives on behalf of the university are in talks with officials in Albany about potentially amending the travel advisory for Syracuse University’s students.


However, Syracuse University’s Office of Student Living seems to not expect a new guidance or exemption from the state government any time soon.


“We are still working to figure this out, and had hoped for some easing from NYS government on this,” Athanas wrote. “It has not materialized.”


Haynie said the university will email students and families impacted by the advisory by Monday, July 20.


Residential advisors will receive additional information in a Zoom meeting on July 19. 


“The reality is tomorrow we will have more information than we did yesterday and more than I have right now,” Athanas wrote.


The advisory mandates that travelers coming from these states must quarantine for 14 days in New York. The quarantine requirement applies to any traveler coming from within one of the restricted states with significant community spread, but does apply to travelers passing through a restricted state for a limited duration of time. The restricted states currently on the list are:


  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi 
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin