Syracuse University Students and Faculty told to Prepare for Transition to Online Course Delivery after Spring Break (Updated 3/11/20)

Due to the serious nature of coronavirus (COVID-19) Effective Immediately Implementing ‘distancing protocols’

Syracuse University- Preparation for no campus classes after spring Break. Students are being told to pack their books and everything they need to work remotely. Since many students are from areas where Coronavirus is in the community. 60% of SU students come from NYC or Northern New Jersey areas. School officials have said the delay is for at least 2 weeks. While Cornell University is preparing to shut down classes for the remainder of the semester. Look for other educational institutions to follow suit.

The concern is for the entire community as travel may result in the disease being transmitted locally as people travel for spring break and then return. “Given the rapid spread of coronavirus across New York state, the fluidity of the situation, and the uncertainty and concern the virus is causing in our community, we believe this decision is prudent and necessary.” – Syracuse University

March 11, 2020 – Updated with additional information from Syracuse University

The following is the message sent to the Syracuse University community


Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Syracuse University continues to monitor and assess guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and New York State and Onondaga County health officials related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global health emergency. Following extensive consultation with local health officials, medical professionals, faculty experts and community leaders, effective the end of the academic day on Friday, March 13, Syracuse University will suspend residential academic programs and transition to online course delivery.

We are taking this action in a proactive effort to safeguard the health and wellness of our undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff, as well as the broader Central New York community.

This was not an easy decision. We acknowledge that suspending residential course delivery will create challenges for students, faculty and staff. That said, these are unprecedented circumstances. Given the rapid spread of coronavirus across New York state, the fluidity of the situation, and the uncertainty and concern the virus is causing in our community, we believe this decision is prudent and necessary.

Marshall St. economic impact on area businesses

Specifically, the actions we are announcing today are as follows:

  • Beginning at the end of the academic day on Friday, March 13, and through at least March 30, Syracuse University will transition from residential to online instruction and/or other alternative (non-residential) modalities.
  • While residential instruction will be suspended as of the end of the academic day on Friday, March 13, the University will otherwise remain open for normal business operations until further notice.
  • Students will be encouraged to depart campus this week for spring break, as soon as their academic schedule (i.e. planned exams, labs, etc.) permits. Students leaving campus will be instructed:
    • to take with them any devices, textbooks and other critical materials to be able to continue their coursework remotely; and
    • to bring with them any personal effects, valuables or other items they may need for a potential extended period of time away from campus.
  • We acknowledge that some students may be required to remain on campus during the period residential instruction is suspended; therefore, campus student and auxiliary services will remain open and in operation (with limited or reduced services) during spring break and throughout the period residential instruction is suspended.
  • Effective immediately, the University will implement on-campus social distancing protocols:
    • Schools, colleges and units will cancel, postpone or conduct virtually any planned event where attendance will exceed 50 individuals. Residential classes of 50 or more are an exception through the end of the academic day on Friday, March 13.
    • Schools, colleges and units with plans to host an external speaker or external groups on campus between March 10 and March 30 should cancel, postpone or virtually conduct those events.
  • Guidance for appropriate work-from-home and other policy accommodations for staff will be forthcoming.
  • Guidance for athletic events and competitions will be forthcoming, based on policy coordination with the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA.

In anticipation of transitioning classes online, Information Technology Services created a Rapid Online Course Development Guide, which was shared with all faculty earlier this week. This guide will support faculty in transitioning their instruction online while engaging students in distance learning modalities that meet course learning objectives. The Rapid Online Course Development Guide is part of a larger toolkit of Academic Continuity Resources under development by the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, Information Technology Services, and the Center for Online and Digital Learning. To access these tools, please visit

We will continue to closely monitor and evaluate information and guidance provided by state and federal agencies in order to inform future decisions concerning residential instruction and on-campus activities. Please visit regularly as we will continue to update it with real-time information and news. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this quickly evolving and dynamic situation.


Kent Syverud
Chancellor and President

Michael Haynie
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation