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Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 9:41 pm

COVID-19 Precautions Change Syracuse University’s Campus

Erin Lyons, SYRACUSE N.Y. – Syracuse University’s public health precautions are changing every aspect of student life. The pandemic has impacted how students study, eat and work out. 

Syracuse University reported the largest number of new COVID-19 cases and students under quarantine on September 16th. According to the university’s COVID-19 Dashboard, Syracuse University confirmed 13 new cases among students in Central New York since Monday, September 14th. There are 23 total active cases among students in Central New York.

The university also confirmed that 91 students are currently in quarantine. In a statement from the university, Vice Chancellor J. Michael Haynie said the “troubling trend” in cases and quarantine is linked to student travel over Labor Day Weekend.

Under the SU Stay Safe Pledge, students may face disciplinary measures if they travel outside of the Central New York area during the fall 2020 semester.

Syracuse University has lasted longer on campus than other peer institutions, and university officials have pointed to the public health precautions on campus as the reason this university hasn’t suspended residential instruction.

Students may be learning in the classroom, eating in the dining hall, or working out in the gym — but all with precautions.

“I think the university is doing well with what they are doing,” said Kevin Donoghue, a student at Syracuse University.

The most visible change is the 24/7 mask mandate for all students, faculty and staff on campus.

In-person classes are set up for socially distant learning, but also for students who opt to learn remotely over zoom or via other distance learning programs. Desks are spaced 6 feet apart and instructors are distanced from students. In many classrooms, students have been instructed to wipe down their desk before class starts and after class ends.

Dining halls have shifted from buffet-style eating to to-go style, with students grabbing pre-packaged meals and eating outdoors or indoors in small groups.

Gyms on campus are now available by appointment only in limited time slots. Syracuse University has also set up fitness equipment outdoors. 

“It’s nice that it’s not so crowded as it was before the pandemic,” said Jennifer Monacelli. Monacelli has gone to the gym twice since new safety measures were put in place.

Syracuse University is finishing their second round of on-campus COVID-19 testing, but has not announced plans to test every student again in the near future. Some students wish the university would test students for coronavirus more frequently.

“Maybe they don’t need to test every two weeks, but I think at least once a month we should be getting tested,” said student Emily Decker, “Just because if you’re asymptomatic, you don’t know who on earth you’re infecting.”

Syracuse University has recorded 40,697 coronavirus tests on campus since the semester began.