Dear Orange Friends and Community:
A global coronavirus pandemic now has us facing a declared public health emergency in our county, state, nation and in many parts of our world. Syracuse University and our community are adapting to this situation, which significantly changes by the day. I encourage each member of our community to do what is needed to protect your own health and the health and safety of our community. To aid in this effort, we are regularly updating Syracuse University guidance and decisions at Syracuse.edu/coronavirus. Visit often for new information and updates.
We are acutely aware of the extraordinary sacrifices so many have made in the current situation. I am deeply saddened that, for our students, their academic year is unfolding in disappointing ways, with many events, performances, competitions, classes and opportunities canceled or postponed indefinitely. Others have lost study abroad opportunities and spring break immersion trips of all kinds. Hundreds of student-athletes have had their seasons cut short. All students have had to adjust quickly to the cancellation of in-person instruction and the transition to digital learning in virtually all classes. Many have moved home on short notice; many others have been unable to get home.
Acknowledging this, I trust that our community can unite in this tough time to come together to do the best we can for all of our students. There are so many people who have made extraordinary effort already, and I thank them with all my heart. In particular, I thank:
- All of our extraordinary and humane faculty who have taken on additional work that was not anticipated, including changing the way we teach on very short notice, being supportive of student needs outside the classroom, lending public health and emergency management expertise to the University and community, and giving up time from their own families and important research and service work. I recognize that many of you have had to cancel planned research trips and conferences and that the additional workload will also likely have implications for your scholarly productivity.
- All of our dedicated staff who have worked tirelessly for our students, including heroic efforts to bring students back from abroad safely, transitioning many hundreds of classes to digital learning, making tough decisions about coronavirus response measures, and staffing housing and food service and safety and libraries and financial and so many other services both for students who have returned to their homes and students who have had to remain at the campus. I remind us all that our faculty and staff have their own families and serious worries to address, yet they have remained caring for our students.
- All of the Orange family from around the world, including everyone from our Board of Trustees to our alumni to our friends in Syracuse and wherever in the world our students have found themselves during this time. So many of you have helped, by volunteering your time, your counsel, your support and your kindness to the people we serve. I am particularly grateful for leaders and staff of partner institutions who have been kind and caring about Syracuse students, faculty and staff, including at hospitals and medical centers, and higher education institutions including SUNY-ESF, Le Moyne College, SUNY Upstate and world university partners.
I ask you all to recognize that our public officials, including those in Onondaga County and New York state—and our health care professionals across the globe—are under terrific stress to make tough decisions and to serve in very difficult conditions. I am deeply grateful for their work, and I ask that you support them and comply with their recommendations.
We are in the early stage of a public health emergency. While it is an uncertain time, what is clear is the power of our Orange community when we work together. Thanks to all of you, our university will get through this, as humanely and well and Orange as possible.
Chancellor Kent Syverud