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HR, Risk Management Release Joint Message on Fall Planning and COVID-19

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Stronger togetherLynn Johnson, vice president of Human Resource Services, and Lawrence Zacarese, vice president for Enterprise Risk Management and chief security officer, released a joint message on Aug. 2 on fall planning and COVID-19. The message reads as follows:

Fall Planning and COVID-19: All You Should Know About Our Careful, Informed, Adaptable Approach

Today, as many employees resume a daily in-person work schedule, we want to update you on our plans to help ensure the health and safety of our community, which has been our highest priority throughout the pandemic.

In planning for the fall semester, we’ve drawn upon the knowledge and expertise of our working groups that include faculty, staff and healthcare experts. Working closely with administrative leadership, we’ve followed the guidance of New York State (NYS) and local health agencies, and all of our planning efforts have been in line with State guidelines and timing.

Our planning will continue to rely on three important elements that allowed us to keep COVID-19 case counts low, keep the University open to in-person learning, as well as be recognized as a role model for COVID response and minimization:

  • Following science and closely monitoring data. There are many different data points we continuously monitor, including Suffolk County’s daily COVID-19 tracking updates. On our campus, there has been one positive case in the last week, and the overall positivity rate from pooled testing remains at 0.0%. Throughout the fall semester, Stony Brook leadership will continue to closely watch and monitor the scientific data and medical recommendations of our public health officials.
  • Vaccine mandates and aggressive testing requirements. Over the past year, we have used regular, frequent pooled surveillance testing for both students and employees to help ensure a healthy campus. This fall, we are requiring:
  • Residential students to be vaccinated and produce a negative COVID test result upon arrival. These students will also be subject to monthly testing.
  • Commuter students to produce an initial negative COVID test result, and to be vaccinated or subject to weekly testing.
  • Employees to be vaccinated or subject to weekly mandatory testing, among other requirements, in accordance with the NYS mandatory vaccine requirement, currently under negotiation. Vaccinated employees will also be subject to monthly surveillance testing.
  • Tracking and tracing for those who test positive, to ensure prompt isolation and quarantine.
  • Consistently aligning with State and local (Suffolk County) Department of Health Guidance. Currently, both State and local health authorities are requiring those who are unvaccinated to wear masks indoors.

Prioritizing these three areas, we are prepared to start the fall semester in a safe and healthy manner. To help ensure we are doing all we can to accomplish this, we are requiring, effective tomorrow, August 3, through Tuesday, September 7, that all faculty, staff, students and visitors, regardless of their vaccination status, wear face coverings while inside campus buildings. This includes classrooms, hallways, libraries and other common spaces, as well as SBU buses and shuttles. Face coverings are not required inside personal rooms at residence halls, while eating in on-campus dining areas, within personal offices or in non-public-facing personal workstations. With this and other areas, we will continue to monitor, adapt and respond to changing data and guidance, keeping you informed as situations evolve.

We’d like to close with a few important notes about vaccines …

If you are vaccinated and have not already done so, please upload your vaccination status so that you will be subject to less frequent, random testing:

  • Those who are not patient facing and who do not work in a healthcare setting should enter their vaccination status through SOLAR. This will allow fully vaccinated employees to shift to random monthly COVID-19 testing rather than mandatory weekly testing based on the latest SUNY and NYS guidance. Click here for instructions.
  • Those who are patient facing and/or those who are not patient facing but work in a healthcare setting will receive separate instructions on how to update their vaccine status.

Vaccines are the strongest weapon we have in the fight against this pandemic. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to stop by our vaccination site located in the Innovation & Discovery Building (IDC) in Stony Brook’s Research and Development (R&D) Park. The site is open starting at 8:00 am, seven days a week, with walk-in appointments available.

Stay healthy and help us stay #StrongerTogether this fall.

Sincerely,

Lawrence M. Zacarese
Vice President for Enterprise Risk Management and Chief Security Officer

Lynn M. Johnson
Vice President, Human Resource Services

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