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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Health Alerts

Back to New Normal

Well-Screen Update and Video


As part of the process to continue safely monitoring our workplaces, Governor Cuomo has mandated that we must institute a screening process at entry points to our facilities.  The purpose is to quickly identify individuals who may have emerging COVID-19 symptoms before they come into contact with others. Downstate's screening process started with staff taking temperatures, asking related questions, and making referrals to Student/Employee Health or the Emergency Department, if the basic requirements were not met.

Now, we are incorporating technology into this process.  Beginning Thursday October 29, 2020, all persons entering the campus at 450 Clarkson Avenue and 445 Lenox Road will be required to use one of the Well-Screen devices posted at the entrance. To use the system as an employee, it’s as simple as 1-2-3! Please watch the video above for a quick lesson!

Step 1:  Scan your SUNY Downstate Identification Badge at the scanner.

Step 2:  Take your temperature by exposing your forehead to the scanner. This may mean taking off your hat or moving your hair to the side.  If you are tall, you can step back to get yourself within the outline.

Step 3:  Answer the questions either No or Yes, using your ID to press as indicated.

Questions you will encounter are as follows:

In the last 10 days did you have:

  1. Fever greater than 100oF *
  2. Cough or shortness of breath *
  3. Severe fatigue, muscle aches, or headaches *
  4. Sudden loss of taste or smell *
  5. Exposure to anyone confirmed/suspected of COVID-19 without using PPE *
  6. Travel out of tri-state region (NY, NJ, CT, PA) *
  7. To quarantine due to COVID-19 *
  8. A positive test for COVID-19 *

*If you answer YES to any of these questions, you will be given the opportunity to qualify your answer so that you will not be screened out.  For example, if you answer YES that you have a headache, but you have been previously cleared by Student/Employee Health because the headache is not COVID-19 related, then you will answer Yes on this secondary question and be cleared for entry into the building.

If you are not cleared through screening, you will see a flashing red screen.  This means you must first be cleared by Student/Employee Health (or the Emergency Department during off-hours) before you may enter the building.  You will not be permitted to enter the building until you complete that step.  Students and employees who do not pass screening at the door and do not report to Student/Employee Health may be subject to disciplinary action.

This process is designed to be quick (under 20 seconds), but during the first few days or weeks, it may take people a few extra seconds to get used to the process.  We appreciate your patience as we implement this new technology.

Stay safe.


BTNN Bulletin - November 2020

As we make progress on reopening programs and services that were closed or were functioning remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to provide regular updates to the Downstate community about programs, policies, and changes on campus. 

These include:

Well-Screen Implementation

Beginning shortly, you will see some new devices to assist with screening at some entrances.  These are being tested to work out any potential operational issues before being fully implemented by the end of October. The basic process: (1) Walk up to the device (2) Choose Employee, Student, or appropriate designation (3) Scan your ID badge (4) Use your badge to answer the screening questions. The system will automatically take your temperature.  As with the current screening process, all information gathered is confidential. While using the Well-Screen system, please consider the following:

1.      If you are coming in from the rain or sweating, please wipe your forehead before allowing the machine to take your temperature.

2.      The wrist band is an indicator that you have been screened. It can be worn on the lanyard for your badge or on your wrist.

3.      The forehead needs to be visible in order for the Well-Screen machine to register your temperature.  This means that hats must be removed.

4.      Badges are used to assist you if you leave the building and re-enter within 12 hours, your badge scan will help eliminate the need to do the screening again.

Employees will be asked a series of screening questions related to symptoms, unprotected exposure to COVID, and travel to the restricted states. Eventually, this process will be used in conjunction with a smart phone App so that you can complete your screening questions before you get to the door.

See the Screening Policy (to use the Intranet, you must be on-site or have VPN access) for additional information.

COVID Surveillance Testing for Students and Employees

SUNY Chancellor Dr. Jim Malatras has required that all campuses conduct surveillance testing.  Some Unions have agreed to include their employees as part of the surveillance testing.  Those unions include UUP, PEF, PBANYS, CSEA, and M/C. A committee has been formed and they are currently developing a comprehensive testing program.

Just as a reminder, walk-in testing for COVID-19 is available Tuesday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM for students, faculty, and staff at Student/Employee Health Services.

Flu Vaccine Fair 2020

Getting vaccinated against the flu is more important than ever as we continue our fight against COVID-19.  SUNY Downstate will hold its annual Flu Vaccine Fair in Sodexo Court by the cafeteria from October 19th through October 23rd.  You can visit daily any time between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM, and 4:00 PM and 11:00 PM.  Save the dates on your calendar.  If you choose to get your flu shot elsewhere, please bring proof to Student/Employee Health Services to get your sticker.

Extension of the Telecommuting Pilot Program

Please be advised that the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations has extended the pilot telecommuting programs for CSEA, UUP, PEF and M/C represented employees through January 1, 2021. Accordingly, all non-essential employees who have applied and received approval to participate in the Telecommuting Pilot Program can continue to work remotely, where feasible. All essential employees must continue to report to work onsite or as assigned by their supervisor. For more information, go to our Telecommuting Information webpage here.

If you are interested in participating in this non-traditional approach to work or have any questions, please contact Amanda Rodriguez (x1188) or Tony Parker (x2936).

Updated Resources Page

The Resources page has been updated to provide Downstate students, staff, and faculty with up-to-date information about COVID-19, as well as Downstate’s subsequent policies related to this pandemic.

This new page is now accessible by the desktop icon labeled “COVID-19 Information”, which will provide you with direct access to resources, forms, and public information materials about COVID-19. (To use the Intranet, you must be on-site or have VPN access.)

This updated page includes various resources such as our current Mass Casualty Response Plan, Lab Testing Notification, and PPE Guidelines, with relation to COVID-19.

Here is the SUNY Academic Resources Page for students, faculty, and staff:


Update On Cafeteria's Dining Area

Sodexo Cafeteria's Dining Hall will officially reopen tomorrow, Wednesday, September 2nd.

The Dining Hall will reopen with limited seating. Please adhere to the rules below that are in place for everyone's safety.

There will be three sections, one each for Staff/Students, Sodexo Staff, and Family/Visitors. Signage will be placed in each area to notify every visitor where they should be seated.

Please wear your masks when purchasing your food and walking through the dining area, only removing them when you are eating.  Tables and chairs should not be removed from where they are placed, or from the Dining Hall area. Removing the furniture would violate the public health rules that are in place for everyone's protection.

The furniture has been set up with social distancing and occupancy numbers in mind to ensure the safety of staff, students, and our community. Tables and chairs will be cleaned and sanitized between 6:30 PM and 3:00 AM every day, Monday through Friday.

Cleaning supplies will be provided for diners who wish to sanitize their tables before sitting down to eat. We also encourage you to take advantage of the hand sanitizer dispensers that are placed around the Dining Hall.

We expect that users will follow all public health guidelines set in place for the safety of everyone.

As always, you also have the option to take your food to go as well.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and for keeping our Dining Hall a safe environment for everyone.


Updates Documents for SUNY Downstate



The Children’s Center at SUNY Brooklyn is now OPEN

7:30 am – 5:30 pm

Accepting children ages 8 weeks to 5 years old

Indoor and Outdoor Play • Arts and Crafts • Socializing with Peers
Creative Curriculum • Social Emotional Development

Qualified, Caring and Nurturing Certified Caregivers

Breakfast, Lunch and Afternoon Snack* On-Site Certified Cook

Sliding Fee Schedule


*Able to adapt for food observances

Childrens Center Brochure


SUNY Campus Safety Video 


As more Downstate faculty, staff, and students return to campus, we must rethink the way we conduct meetings amid the limited space we have vis-à-vis the new rules of social distancing, face coverings, as well as frequent handwashing, cleaning, and disinfecting our surroundings.


Considering the limitations placed by the COVID19 pandemic and the New York State guidelines that prohibit indoor gatherings of more than 50 people, we will limit the number of in-person meetings to those that are critical and necessary. We will also limit the size of gatherings in keeping with social distancing guidelines. These restrictions apply to all gatherings.


We encourage minimizing group gatherings, ensuring social distance, to protect the health of our students, trainees, staff, and faculty. As more people return to campus in support of our students, they have been reaching out to Classroom Services to schedule meetings. These guidelines apply to all programs on campus.


To safely accommodate these requests, we have modified our meeting request guidelines to ensure the safest use of campus meeting spaces. Please see the new guidelines below:


  1. To the extent possible, we recommend that departmental meetings should be held virtually. This is particularly important particularly where the number of participants cannot be confirmed in advance.
  2. In instances where an online meeting is impossible, gatherings should include as few people in person as possible, and masks must be worn throughout.
  3. To achieve appropriate social distancing for all gatherings other than those requiring specific, hands-on training, the occupancy limits of all classrooms, lecture halls, and auditoria have been reduced. In addition, the configuration of certain rooms may be limited to ensure appropriate social distancing.
  4. New occupancy guidelines posted on the rooms will be enforced.
  5. Briefer is better; to minimize the length and size of gatherings, please do not create a situation where persons will be in enclosed spaces for full-day sessions.  
  6. Food will be prohibited in rooms used for training. Any food provided during meetings should be individually wrapped for participants to consume in spaces designated for eating (e.g., the Grove, cafeteria).


Classroom Services will assist in structuring and locating appropriate space to meet Departments’ needs based on these criteria. To see new room occupancy limits, log onto


The Library will remain open for students seeking a place to study.


Main floor (Information Commons)

Mon -Fri. 8am to 5pm

Sat 9am to 5pm

Sun Noon to 5pm


ALRC (Basement level)

Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm

Sat 9am to 5pm

Sun noon to 5pm


Group study rooms are NOT AVAILABLE during this time.


(Hours are subject to change based on staffing emergencies or other unforeseen circumstances.)


Thank you for your understanding and your continued commitment to a safe Downstate.


Update from the Back to New Normal Workgroup

The Back to New Normal Workgroup has been developing a plan to get the campus fully operational while minimizing risks and protecting the health and safety of our patients, students, staff, faculty, vendors, and visitors.  We have been issuing campus-wide communications to keep the Downstate community apprised of plans going forward.

At this time, we would like to provide you with a few updates concerning our campus and the progress being made currently to get back to our new normal at SUNY Downstate:

  • The Chancellor has approved SUNY Downstate’s plan for reopening our campus for students and faculty.
  • We are developing a phased schedule for returning different organizational units to campus operations, based on plans being submitted by these different units.  These plans may include some portion of staff working on site while others continue to telecommute.  Once these plans are approved, supervisors will be notified.
  • On July 1st, we distributed a survey to student, staff, and faculty to assess concerns and potential obstacles to returning to normal operations.  We are analyzing the results of this survey and taking these concerns into account as we implement our return plans.
  • We will be distributing a second, SUNY-wide survey in late July-early August that will help us understand our campus in the context of other SUNY campuses.
  • The library will be re-opening on 07/29/2020 and will provide access while implementing social distancing practices to ensure safety for our students and faculty.  However, there will be no eating in the library until future notice.
  • We expect the cafeteria’s dining area to reopen shortly with limited seating.  And we are working on alternative means to access food on our campus.  Stay tuned for further announcements!
  • Classrooms, lecture halls, and auditoria have been reevaluated with reduced capacities that are being posted, so students and faculty can remain at least 6 feet apart.
  • Temperature screenings are currently happening through a ‘no touch’ method at our entrances for everyone who comes into the building along with a series of screening questions.  Please be courteous to our screeners who are ensuring the safety of everyone coming onto our campus.
  • While on campus, people are required to maintain a social distance of at least six feet and wear a mask (cloth or disposable).  This cannot be a vented mask, for the safety of all on the campus.

Individuals who may need an accommodation related to any of the requirements related to reopening our campus operations should contact Human Resources at

We all look forward to a sense of normalcy that includes a safe and healthy return to Downstate’s campus. In the meantime, the Back to New Normal Workgroup will do everything they can to address your needs. 



As an integral part of the return to normal operations at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, the Back to the New Normal workgroup (BTNN) will conduct an anonymous survey to understand concerns about plans to bring the campus back to a new hybrid form of operation and to assess the understanding of those plans.

On behalf of President Riley, the BTNN Workgroup is developing plans to return in a way that maximizes safety while conforming to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York State, and SUNY guidelines.  These guidelines include screening, use of face coverings, cleaning protocols, and social distancing.

While Hospital operations have continued throughout the COVID pandemic, the rest of the Downstate campus has largely been working remotely.  As different units begin to come back to hybrid or fully online operations, it is critical that we share plans for a safe return. 

With direct input from operational and business units, we plan to phase in the return to campus in a carefully planned manner, notifying groups through their supervisors and schools about when and how they will return.

  • Medical students doing clinical rotations are among some groups that have begun the return to campus during Phase II of the State’s re-opening process.  Other groups will begin to return during Phase III.
  • Each operating unit and/or cohort of students will be notified when they are expected to return to campus and under what circumstances. If you are an employee or if you are a student, and have been working remotely, you should continue to do so until notified of any change by your supervisor.

Please complete the attached survey and return no later than July 10, 2020. All responses will be kept confidential. Your feedback will assist in adapting our plans and communications to address your concerns.

We look forward to your participation so that we can include your concerns in our planning. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey which you can access at this link:



The Back to the New Normal Workgroup, as part of the Coronavirus Preparedness Task Force appointed by president Riley, has been working collaboratively and diligently for more the last few weeks to:

  • Understand the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control, the Office of the Governor, New York State Department of Health, SUNY System, and local authorities for a phased return to work for non-essential workers
  • Assess needs of operating units throughout Downstate for returning to campus and/or continuing to work remotely—in whole or in part—while ensuring the normal resumption of campus activities and business operations
  • Identify critical needs for supplies, support, education and signage, physical changes, and new policies and protocols that will ensure safety and do our jobs
  • Develop a clear and comprehensive plan to meet the critical needs that are identified
  • Create and communicate a thoughtful plan aimed at a phased return to campus for all Downstate, Research Foundation, UPB, and affiliated staff at all locations onsite and offsite

Chaired by Heidi Aronin, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, the Workgroup comprises more than 30 members from across SUNY Downstate, with representatives from every college/school of Downstate Health Sciences University, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and from administrative and shared services.

The Workgroup has been examining and planning for issues that include disease trajectory, an operational survey of working units to determine needs; adaptations to physical locations; conducting surveys and outreach to identify community concerns; clinical ramp-up; return of educational programming; resumption of research activities; support and administrative services required to return to work; communications and education to ensure that members of the campus community are informed of plans and progress.

Downstate is committed to minimizing risks and protecting the health and safety of our patients, students, staff, faculty, vendors, and visitors. In the coming weeks, the Back to the New Normal Workgroup will issue campus-wide communications to keep the community apprised of plans going forward.

In the interim, individuals working remotely should continue doing so until otherwise notified. We are taking an approach like the State in terms of our reopening. Therefore, restarting operations will be determined on a department-by-department basis.

Masks: Airflow Visualization


The Development of the “Back To Work” Workgroup to Assess Downstate’s Return to Business Operations 

Since this crisis began, we have been following guidance from the New York State Department of Health and the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The Governor’s most recent communication extends ‘NYS on PAUSE’ through June 13, 2020. All non-essential employees must continue to work remotely, where feasible. Essential employees must continue to report to work onsite or as assigned by your supervisor.

We continue to fight against an elusive enemy. Courses are being delivered for students via online and in other socially-distanced formats, and non-essential workers are working remotely. We adjusted business operations and physical environments to employ social distancing practices with the ultimate goal of slowing the coronavirus spread and flattening the curve.

As we approached the anticipated peak of the outbreak in April, we were cautiously optimistic that the curve was flattening. With the number of hospitalizations and deaths decreasing—albeit with a recent delay for some areas of the State—Governor Cuomo has determined that New York On-Pause Program can slowly begin a phased-in process to return the State to normal operations.

Each region must meet seven specific metrics to enter this phase. New York City does not yet meet the required number of metrics to begin the reopening process. However, as of today, some upstate regions will begin the Phase I reopening process for construction, manufacturing, and select retail businesses. How quickly a region advances depends on a decreasing number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

In anticipation of New York City’s Phase I reopening, we have begun planning for a return to regular business operations. While the Governor’s extension of non-essential workers remotely working expires on June 13, the downstate New York region has not yet met the criteria required for reopening. Therefore, under the umbrella of the Coronavirus Preparedness Task Force, I established a special workgroup to make recommendations for SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University and University Hospital of Brooklyn to safely reopen our academic and clinical operations.

The Back to Work workgroup, chaired by Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Heidi Aronin, is charged with exploring and making recommendations to me the factors necessary to safely ease our workforce and student population back to business and academic operations. It is tasked with recommending policies and communications that will be implemented along the way for a safe and comfortable return. Members of the Workgroup include representatives from Downstate’s research, clinical, academic, and operational enterprises.

In the next week or so, you will receive a link to a survey that will assess essential elements for a safe return. Your responses will help determine various aspects requiring attention and the necessary parameters for implementation.

Your input is vital for this very crucial fact-finding step—your participation by completing the survey when received is strongly encouraged. All survey responses will be kept confidential.

Like you, I look forward to a sense of normalcy that includes your safe return to Downstate’s campus. In the meantime, please continue to stay safe and be well.