SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Back to New Normal
Updated Guidance Regarding: Telecommuting and Use of Face Coverings (Masks)
- TELECOMMUTING PROGRAM
Please be advised that we received updated guidance from the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER) concerning the Telecommuting Program covering COVID-19 specific accommodations. Initial guidance was set to expire and employees were expected to return to pre-pandemic, in-person workplace presence on September 7, 2021. This date has now been extended until October 12, 2021.
Supervisors and employees in all departments must plan for a full return to in-person duty, including, but not limited to, planning for childcare, transportation, etc. The Telecommuting Program may be used to accommodate social distancing requirements through October 12, 2021. If you require continued use of the Telecommuting Program, please ensure that you contact your immediate supervisor to review and update the terms of the program including submission and approval by the Department of Human Resources. If your supervisor has already requested that you return to in-person duty, you should continue to report to the office.
- USE OF FACE COVERINGS/ MASKS
In accordance with the determination from the Department of Health and the resurgence in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, all members of the Downstate community must wear face coverings/masks when indoors, regardless of vaccination status, except when:
- alone in a private office
- actively eating or drinking
This requirement applies to employees, contractors, vendors, visitors, clients, and all other individuals who enter campus facilities.
PLEASE ENSURE TO CHECK YOUR E-MAIL ON A REGULAR BASIS
TO ENSURE YOU ARE AWARE OF THE MOST RECENT UPDATE
Vaccination Requirement Update and Reminder
As previously announced, the state of New York now mandates that all Downstate students, staff, and faculty be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The State has extended the deadline for compliance with this mandate to September 27th, whereas you must have completed at least one dose of a two-dose vaccine (or have taken the one dose of the J&J vaccine). All members of the Downstate community must be vaccinated by that date. Requests for medical exemptions (for staff, affiliate staff, volunteers) must be submitted as soon as possible to email@example.com. Student requests for medical exemptions must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Only those who have received approved medical exemptions through these processes may choose not to be vaccinated. Individuals approved for medical exemption are required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and submit to additional safety requirements.
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has eliminated religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccination requirements for health care facilities. As described in previous announcements, because of the unique physical structure of SUNY Downstate’s academic and health care enterprises, all persons within our campus community are considered “engaged in such activities such that if they were infected with COVID-19, they could potentially expose other covered personnel, patients, or residents to the disease.” Therefore, in compliance with the revised Department of Health regulations, SUNY Downstate will not be considering or granting any religious exemptions to the vaccine requirement.
Documentation of receipt of the vaccine can be submitted through this link. All vaccinated individuals are required to submit documentation of vaccination in order to be compliant with the DOH regulations. In addition, SUNY Downstate will be scheduling additional COVID-19 Vaccine Proof fairs in September to enable people to submit vaccination documentation (either an original CDC vaccination card, A New York State Excelsior Pass with a QR Code, a copy of a medical record, or a signed HIPAA Authorization form requesting vaccination proof, along with a SUNY Downstate identification badge). Individuals who have submitted their documentation electronically and/or present documentation will receive a sticker for the SUNY ID badge indicating they have received their vaccine.
The telecommuting program under which approved individuals have been working from home for some or all of their time expires on September 7, 2021. After that time, the only State employees approved to work from home are those whose departments have an Administration-approved plan to alternate work schedules to ensure social distancing until all staff are vaccinated. SUNY Downstate’s Administration is currently reviewing new guidelines recently issued by SUNY to determine under what circumstances SUNY Downstate may approve telecommuting agreements for employees going forward. Announcements will be made concerning those options in the near future.
SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University maintains its firm commitment to the health and safety of our campus community. We appreciate the efforts of all staff, students, volunteers, and contractors to support and ensure that commitment through these requirements.
Revised Daily Screening Procedures
Beginning Tuesday, July 13th, students, fellows, residents, and employees will no longer be required to have their temperature taken at Downstate’s entrances. Instead, students, fellows, residents, and employees will only be asked to answer the screening questions at the entrances or via the Well Screen mobile phone application.
If the screening questions are answered via the mobile phone app, a simple scan of the badge will provide the validation to enter the building (assuming responses are appropriate). If you have not done so already, please download the app. If you have any issues with the WellScreen app, please call 1-800-705-3401.
Additionally, a question about vaccination status has been added. This question is voluntary and can be answered either with “yes” or “no/prefer not to answer.”
Back To New Normal Bulletin 7/2/2021
Returning to Campus
As previously communicated, the State’s Pilot Telecommuting Program will expire on Friday, July 2, 2021. Supervisors and employees in all departments must plan for a full return to in-person duty, including but not limited to planning for childcare, transportation, etc. The Telecommuting Program may be used to accommodate social distancing requirements through September 7 only; it may no longer be used on a full-time basis. Please see the instructions below.
If you are a State employee or Resident that has a medical condition or any other issue that prevents you from complying fully with the items listed above, you may contact either ADA@downstate.edu (for questions concerning accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act) and/or FMLA@downstate.edu (for questions on whether you qualify for leave under the Family & Medical Leave Act of 1993).
Upon return to the campus following the expiration of the Telecommuting Program, there may be changes made to your specific work schedule and/or workspace to meet the social distancing requirement and operational needs. Your supervisor will advise of any changes prior to implementation.
Also, to comply with the Governor’s return to work mandate, all employees will be required to sign an affirmation upon their return. You must complete the form even if you have been on campus the whole time throughout the pandemic. It may be completed by following this link.
New information emerges regularly from the CDC and other sources. As the State of New York recommends changes to our policies, we will notify you as they are implemented. Please continue to pay close attention to updates from the Back to New Normal Committee.
Reminder to Supervisors:
- Prior to making schedule changes for unionized employees, supervisors must consult with the Office of Employee & Labor Relations (OELR) to determine feasibility and notice requirements.
- Supervisors may not ask or require employees to disclose their vaccination status.
- Here is a template that supervisors are required to complete and email to email@example.com. This template will help the campus better plan for the increase in volume and its timing.
Support for Your Mental Well-Being
As we return to campus, some may experience anxiety, fear, or stress related to being back on campus. Please know that there are resources to assist you if needed.
If you would like information on Mental Health services and/or other resources, please contact the Employee Assistance Program at (718) 270-1489, or email Dr. Magda Alliancin at magda.alliancin@Downstate.edu. All calls and emails are kept confidential.
You may also reach out to the Department of Psychiatry at (718) 270-1318 or text (718) 550-6722. All calls and emails are kept confidential.
Students can reach out to the Office of Student Counseling at (718) 270-1408 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. All calls and emails are kept confidential.
If you need immediate support, please contact the following:
NYS Emotional Support Line: 1-844-863-9314 or nyprojecthope.org
Crisis Text Line: Text "Got5" to 741-741
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
New Guidelines for Mandatory Pooled Testing
New SUNY Guidelines now exempt fully vaccinated individuals from weekly surveillance testing (i.e., mandatory saliva testing). To qualify for this exemption, those who are fully vaccinated must provide proof of their vaccination status. Please note that vaccinated individuals may still be tested on a sampling basis to check for breakthrough infections.
You are considered “fully vaccinated” 2 weeks after completing the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or 2 weeks after receiving a single dose of a one-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).
In collecting this data, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University will ask if you are vaccinated via our screening tool, Well Screen. You may answer “yes” or “no/prefer not to answer.” If your answer is “Yes”, you will receive the link below via email as a reminder to provide the required proof. If your answer is “no” or “prefer not to answer” you will be given the opportunity to further qualify whether your answer is “no” or if you “prefer not to answer.”
Providing your vaccination status to SUNY Downstate is voluntary. Supervisors may not ask or require employees to disclose their vaccination status.
If you choose to provide your vaccination status, you will be asked to provide accurate information. Data you provide will be stored in a HIPAA-compliant database and is not shared with Human Resources or your supervisor.
If you choose not to provide information about your vaccination status, as per agreement with our unions, you will be considered unvaccinated for purposes of mandatory testing and any other rules or requirements in the workplace that are different for vaccinated versus unvaccinated individuals.
You may provide proof of your status by uploading a copy of your vaccination card, by providing a screenshot of your Excelsior Pass, signing and uploading the HIPAA Authorization Form to get data released from the place you received the vaccine, or by signing an attestation form.
Please click this link to provide proof of your vaccination status. Please note that exemption is not instantaneous as the documents submitted must be reviewed.
Providing Proof of Vaccination = No More Weekly Testing!!!
TO: The SUNY Downstate Community
New SUNY Guidelines now exempt fully vaccinated individuals from weekly surveillance testing, i.e., mandatory saliva testing. To qualify for this exemption, those who are fully vaccinated must provide proof.
You are considered “fully vaccinated” two (2) weeks after completing the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or two (2) weeks after receiving a single dose of a one-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).
In collecting this data, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University will ask if you wish to share your vaccine status via our screening tool, Well Screen. If your answer is ‘Yes,” you will receive the link below via email as a reminder to provide the required proof.
Providing this information is voluntary.
If you choose to participate, you will be asked to provide accurate information about your vaccination status. The data you provide will be stored in a HIPAA-compliant database.
If you choose not to participate, information about your vaccination status, SUNY Downstate will be required to assume you are unvaccinated for purposes of mandatory testing exemption and any other rules or requirements in the workplace that are different for vaccinated versus unvaccinated people.
You may provide proof of your status by uploading a copy of your vaccination card, by providing a screenshot of your Excelsior Pass, by signing and uploading the HIPAA Authorization Form to get the data released from the place you received the vaccine, or by signing an attestation form.
Please click on this link to provide proof of your vaccination status. Thank you.
NYS Reopening Update
Dear SUNY Downstate:
As you may be aware, Governor Cuomo announced that the State will reopen beginning May 19, 2021. Additionally, the State’s Pilot Telecommuting Program is set to expire on Friday, July 2, 2021. While the Pilot Program provided the flexibility needed for the campus to continue operating at a high level amidst the pandemic and over the course of the last year, it is unlikely to be extended beyond the July 2nd date. Accordingly, supervisors and employees in all Departments must plan for a full return to in-person duty, including but not limited to arranging for childcare, transportation, etc.
Also, please be reminded that, as stipulated in the Telecommuting Agreements, supervisors with an operational need for staff to return prior to July 2nd may do so with 48-hour notice to affected staff.
Safety remains a priority at SUNY Downstate. Based on the protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and NYC Department of Health (NYC-DOH), as well as guidance from SUNY System Administration, we are outlining below the policies currently in place. These polices are likely to change with new guidance from SUNY and NYSDOH—you will be notified as soon as any resulting changes at Downstate. As of today, please be advised of the following:
- Testing: SUNY Downstate will continue to test 100 percent of the workforce (for those employees working in the hospital 50% will be tested) on a weekly basis. Downstate’s testing requirement remains in place even for those who are fully vaccinated. If you are returning to the campus in-person for the first time, please review the following link that contains information on Downstate's Mandatory Surveillance Program.
- Screening: In line with Downstate’s screening protocol, all entrants to the facility will continue to be subject to contactless infrared thermometer temperature checks. Additionally, all are required to answer questions (i.e. recent exposure to COVID-19 outside of UHB, cough, difficulty breathing, and/or fever within the past 14-days). All entrants who screen negative will be permitted access, provided they are wearing an appropriate face covering. Those who screen positive will be referred to Student and/or Employee health for guidance.
- Face Covering: As outlined in the Downstate Face Covering policy, all persons must wear an “appropriate” face covering at all times while on campus, except when alone in a private office. An appropriate face covering is a surgical or cloth face mask covering both the nose and mouth contains the wearer’s respiratory droplets and helps protect the public. Masks with exhaust valves are prohibited.
- Social Distancing: In line with our Social Distancing Policy, individuals on campus
are required to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from each other, except where
impossible to do so. Upon return to the campus following the expiration of the telecommuting
program, there may be changes made to your specific work schedule and/or workspace
to meet the social distancing requirement. Your supervisor will advise of any changes
prior to implementation.
Prior to making schedule changes for unionized employees, supervisors must consult with the Office of Employee & Labor Relations (OELR) to determine feasibility and notice requirements.
- Vaccinations: Downstate encourages all persons on campus to get vaccinated. If you have not done so already, you may access the following link to schedule an appointment at a NYS testing facility: https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/
Vaccine appointments may also be found by accessing your County’s Department of Health website and/or visiting your local pharmacy’s website.
Employees who choose not to get vaccinated are still required to return to work in-person.
If a State employee or Resident has a medical condition that prevents him/her from complying fully with the items listed above, he/she may contact either ADA@downstate.edu (for questions concerning accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act) and/or FMLA@downstate.edu (for questions on whether they qualify for leave under the Family & Medical Leave Act of 1993).
As described above, we are aware that new information emerges regularly from the CDC and other sources. As the state of New York recommends changes to our policies, we will notify you of these changes as they are implemented. Please continue to pay close attention for updates from the Back to New Normal Committee.
Back To New Normal Bulletin 5/18/21
The New CDC Requirements
As you probably read, the CDC has made some changes to its guidelines and New York State has adopted them. This new ease of mask requirements does not apply to schools or healthcare facilities. Therefore, we on the Downstate campus are all still required to wear our masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, unless we are eating or are alone in an office.
There are, however, some changes to the guidelines for outdoor events. Except in crowded settings, fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks outdoors. Fully vaccinated is defined as two or more weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnsons vaccine.
Meetings on Campus
Now that restrictions are starting to ease in the rest of the world, people are starting to think about having more in-person meetings. We wanted to remind you of the restrictions still in place for in-person meetings.
- The maximum capacity for any room is currently set at 75% occupancy (as of May 19, it will be 100%)
- Despite these capacity increases, the requirement of social distancing is still in place. Currently set at 6 feet, this limits capacity in every room. Please honor the capacity limits posted in all meeting rooms.
- Masks must be worn indoors unless you are eating or are alone in your office. See Face Covering Policy.
- Except in crowded settings, fully vaccinated people, defined as two or more weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, no longer need to wear masks outdoors.
- Although vaccination is encouraged, it is not mandated for employees, though it may be mandated for students for Fall return (see below).
- Gatherings can be as large as 100 people indoors (except see capacity limit above—goes up to 250 on May 19) and 500 people outdoors.
- You must be able to keep track of who is at the meeting in case anyone gets sick at or after the event (for contact tracing).
- Please continue to minimize in-person meetings as much as possible, especially larger ones.
- No food should be served at indoor meetings (unless it is to go) in order to minimize mask removal.
These are campus guidelines. No supervisor has the authority to alter these without first seeking guidance from Dean Demissie, our Campus Safety Monitor, by contacting him at email@example.com.
For your enjoyment, picnic tables are located outside the Grove and the North Grove for use during your meal time. To get there exit through HSEB lobby. Please remember to maintain 6 feet distance. Picnic tables are also located across Lenox Road in the Student Center/Residence Hall Courtyard which can be used by the Downstate community.
Volunteers on Campus
If you have a need to have a collaborator or volunteer on campus. Please make sure you go through either the Research Foundation (if research-related) or Volunteer Office to initiate it.
Mandatory Vaccinations for Students
Per New York State guidance and pending approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, SUNY will require all in-person students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall. When plans are approved, we will share more information.
Reminder about Return to Work Training
Back in August 2020, SUNY Downstate sent a training to all employees and students that provided information about mandatory screening, face covering and general information about how to stay safe while at work. The Governor has required that every employee complete this training even if you were essential and were on campus the whole time. In order to complete the training, you should have received a newer email with the subject line “OVERDUE Training Requirements.” This email contains your new personal link. Completion of the training is now overdue and we need the remaining employees to complete it as soon as possible. If you cannot find your email and you need your link email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do I have to participate in Pooled Testing?
Yes. All students and employees must participate in pooled testing. For employees, this is a requirement negotiated for by your unions to help keep you safe by looking for asymptomatic cases amongst fellow employees and prevent major outbreaks. When you receive notification that you are to be tested this week, you need to sign up for a time slot and ensure that you have already registered at https://app.clarifi-covid-19.com/ . Please note, your DNA information is not identified or stored during this process.
Front Door Screening Is Even Faster
Effective April 17th, 2021, you will be able to use the new Well Screen App for employees to attest to your health symptoms before you get to work.
To get ready to use the app:
- Download the Well Screen App.
- For iPhone users, you can download the Well Screen App (WS) from the App Store.
- For Android users, you can use this link to download the software directly to your device. (You may have to grant permission for the download.)
- If you are reading this email from a computer, scan the code below with your phone to download the app on your device.
- Once you have downloaded the app, register and log in. Be sure to include a photo. Once you register, you won’t have to log in again each day before you screen.
- Thirty (30) minutes before you get to work (e.g., as you are walking from the subway, waiting in line, or after you park your car) use the app to attest to your symptoms.
- After using the app, simply scan your badge and take your temperature at the screening station once you arrive to work. If your temperature is within normal limits, you can get your daily bracelet and leave.
Have questions? Please reach out to Readiness Rounds (creators of Well Screen) for assistance at 800-705-3401. Personnel from Readiness Rounds will be stationed at the doors to assist you if you are having trouble. Thank you.
Changes to Upstate COVID-19 Pool Test site - Results To Be Available On-Line
We are writing to inform you that the SUNY Upstate Medical University COVID Test website, which is used for our on-campus COVID pool testing, has been upgraded to allow us greater reporting capabilities, and the much-requested ability to provide individual clinical test results.
Starting Monday, March 29th, individuals will receive an email alert that their results are ready for viewing. Emails will only be sent when results are finalized, so you can expect to receive an automated email when your results are presumed negative, reflex negative, or reflex positive.
What does Presumed Negative, Reflex Negative and Reflex Positive Mean?
- Presumed Negative: Your sample was pooled with others from campus and tested. No COVID-19 signal was detected in these samples.
- Reflex Negative: Your sample was run individually, likely after being a part of a pool that tested positive, and your individual sample was negative for the presence of the COVID-19 virus. You may immediately end your precautionary isolation. You will also be contacted by Student & Employee Health or Downstate’s Contact Tracing Program to let you know you no longer need to isolate.
- Reflex Positive: Your sample was run individually and determined to be positive for the presence of the COVID-19 virus. Student & Employee Health or Downstate’s Contact Tracing Program will be in touch to confirm the process, how long you need to quarantine, when you can return to work, etc.
If your sample is part of a positive pool, you will be notified directly by Student & Employee Health or Downstate’s Contact Tracing Program and you will be told to isolate. Simultaneously, the lab will begin running all the samples from the positive pool individually. Once the individual results are finalized you will receive an email alert that your results are available for viewing.
Results will not be detailed via e-mail and can only be accessed by logging into the SUNY Upstate Medical University COVID Test website. Any samples listed as pending means the results have not yet been finalized. To view your results (including past results), log into the website, scroll down under your profile, and click the View Results button under the test date. A pop up will appear with your results, as well as a link to download a PDF of your results. This PDF is an individual clinical result and can be used to show proof of a negative COVID test.
Your Profile section of the Upstate Medical Center App with a red arrow pointing to the view results button.
The pop-up window showing results. The pop up contains the specimen’s barcode, date specimen was collected, the final results, a blue link to download a PDF of results, and a link to close the pop up.
IMPORTANT: Incorrectly submitted specimens or barcodes will significantly delay the processing of results. Check your profile before exiting the campus testing site and make sure your barcode and testing date are correctly listed under your profile. If there is an issue registering your barcode you need to speak to someone before leaving the testing site.
Upstate Medical Center COVID-19 testing dashboard depicting the sections of a successful specimen submission. Under the “Your Profiles” section on the right lists your name and date of birth, followed by the barcode number and corresponding testing date.
Downstate’s Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program
In the following weeks, employees and students will receive an email invitation from a senior department or school administrator to schedule a mandatory COVID-19 surveillance test.
To comply with SUNY’s new policy, ALL students, faculty, and staff within our academic enterprise and present on campus are required to participate in the Surveillance Saliva Testing Program each week. Further, students who are participating in clinical training or research at one of our other clinical affiliates must also participate in mandatory weekly testing.
Additionally, employees in the hospital will be tested every other week.
Surveillance Saliva Testing is required even if you have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Inoculation will not affect the saliva test results.
TO PREPARE FOR YOUR SURVEILLANCE SALIVA TESTING, ELECTRONIC PROFILES MUST BE CREATED PRIOR TO THE DAY OF TESTING. Students and employees must visit https://app.clarifi-covid-19.com/login to create electronic profiles.
Click below, to watch a video tutorial to help with the PROFILE CREATION process:
Save your LOGIN and PASSWORD as you will need it to register for a test multiple times.
For assistance with creating a profile, contact the Pool Testing Technical Support Line at (571) 310-7082 during the following times:
- Mon-Wed: 2-8pm
- Thurs-Fri: 10-6pm
- Sunday: 2-8pm
- You may text or leave voicemails at any time but will receive a call back during hours of operation.
The Pool Testing Technical Support can help in two ways:
1) The support person can provide guidance over the phone on how to complete the registration;
2) For those without access to a computer/internet, the support person can complete the registration on your behalf.
The next step must be completed on the day of your test date and you must have your smartphone with you. When at the testing site, you must log in to your profile again at https://app.clarifi-covid-19.com/login. Select REGISTER A COVID-19 TEST. You may STOP here and a proctor at the testing site can guide you through the rest of the process. If you do not have a smartphone, you may complete the COVID-19 test registration on the on-site laptops.
All students, faculty, and staff who live on campus or plan to be on campus regularly (at least once a week) are required to participate in the SUNY Downstate Pool Testing Program unless you meet the following waiver requirements:
1) You are not on campus for clinical or academic duty for the week,
2) Have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, or
3) Have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
Surveillance Testing for SUNY Downstate
The Office of Chancellor Malatras has issued the “Surveillance Testing Supplemental Academic Continuity and the Health and Safety of Students, Faculty, and Staff Policy” for the 2021 Spring Term. According to that policy, campuses shall test, on at least a weekly basis, 100 percent of all students, faculty, and staff who live on campus or plan to be on campus regularly (at least once a week).
To be compliant with the Chancellor’s policy, on February 1, SUNY Downstate increased the number and frequency of surveillance pool saliva testing required for faculty and staff. Therefore, on the academic side, all students, faculty, and staff who are on-campus for any reason (including living on campus, attending class, using the library, or participating in research or clinical activities), or students who are participating in any clinical or research activities at any clinical site (no matter the site), will be required to participate in the pool testing program every week.
On the hospital side, all employees will be tested every other week.
All students, faculty, and staff who live on campus or plan to be on campus regularly (at least once a week) are required to participate in the SUNY Downstate Pool Testing Program unless you meet the following waiver requirements:
1) You are not on campus for clinical or academic duty for the week,
2) Have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, or
3) Have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
You should participate in the Surveillance Saliva Testing Program even if you have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Inoculation will not affect the saliva test results.
Please also note that the SUNY Downstate Contact Tracing Corps has a new dedicated email address, COVID19TestTraceCorps@downstate.edu, designed to centralize reporting across the entire campus.
All staff, faculty, and students (including residency and clerkship directors) can report COVID-19 related exposure, COVID-19 positive results, and related issues to this email address. HIPAA certified Downstate Lead Tracers will act immediately and start a case investigation in less than three (3) hours of reporting. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Back To New Normal Bulletin 2/18/2021
A Space to Eat
Since most of the cafeteria is being used by the vaccination team and we are discouraging eating in groups in locations that aren’t identified as dining areas, we have arranged for the Special Functions room as another option for those looking for a quiet place to dine. The Special Functions Room is located in the HSEB vestibule and space is available for use through April 1st. Space is limited to a maximum of 9 occupants at a time, socially-distanced and in strict adherence to public health guidelines. Please continue to adhere to them.
Reminder about Return-to-Work Training
Back in August 2020, SUNY Downstate sent a training module to all employees and students that provided information about mandatory screening, face coverings, and general information about how to stay safe while at work. The Governor has required that every employee complete this training even if you were essential and were on campus the whole time. In order to complete the training you should have received an email with the subject line “SUNY Downstate Mandatory Training - FINAL REMINDER.” This email contains your personal link. Completion of this mandatory training is now overdue. If you have not completed this training yet, you must do so as soon as possible. If you cannot find your email and you require the link, please email email@example.com
Our Post-Vaccination World
This is an important reminder that even if you have been vaccinated, it is important for everyone to continue using all the public safety guidelines and tools available to help stop this pandemic while learning more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Remember to cover your mouth and nose with a mask or face covering when around others, stay at least six feet away from others, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and wash your hands often.
How to Register for Pooled Testing
All employees are required to participate in pooled testing here at Downstate. To participate, you are required to register at https://app.clarifi-covid-19.com the day before your test date. To register, navigate the link and use the ID number at the back of your ID card, or your SUNY ID number when you are prompted to enter the Employee Identification information.
- If this is your first time using the registration site, choose "Register." Enter your Downstate email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and create a new password that meets the minimum criteria. DO NOT use your Downstate password.
In advance of your testing appointment, please complete your online registration form:
- To complete the online registration form:
- Enter your name, email address, phone number, Downstate Employee ID# or ID on the back of your ID card (either will work, provided it is used consistently), date of birth, and health insurance information on the registration form.
- If the form prevents you from proceeding without completing a field, enter 0 (zeros) for digits and NA for words.
- Please register using the same mobile phone that you will have at the testing site. You will be required to open your account info on your mobile phone during the testing process.
- You will be asked to provide medical insurance information when creating your COVID-19 Surveillance Account. Your insurance will not be billed for the initial pool testing, but if your pool is positive, the follow up reflex testing will be billed to insurance; there will be no co-pay or cost to you.
- Upon completion of your profile and answering to some health questions, a page with the following information will appear – “Before proceeding, do you have a test kit?” Please stop at this time. The remainder of the process requires entering the barcode which will be provided at testing. All your responses will be saved automatically to be used later.
If you have any issues in creating your account, please email George Viriya at George.Viriya@downstate.edu.
Do I have to participate in Pooled Testing?
Yes. All employees must participate in pooled testing. This is a requirement negotiated by your unions (M/C employees are included as well) to help keep you safe by looking for asymptomatic cases amongst fellow employees and prevent major outbreaks. You may be temporarily exempt from testing if you are not on campus that week, you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, OR you are currently experiencing symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (like a fever of 100.4 degrees or above and a cough). When you receive notification that you are to be tested, you must then sign up for a time slot; make sure that you have already registered at https://app.clarifi-covid-19.com/.
Two important ways to make sure your mask works the best it can.
Make sure your mask fits snugly against your face. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask.
Pick a mask with layers to keep your respiratory droplets in and others out. A mask with layers will stop more respiratory droplets from getting inside your mask or escaping from your mask if you are sick.
Back To New Normal Bulletin 1/20/2021
Greetings from the Back to New Normal Workgroup and happy Inauguration Day!
Your Continued Safety
The availability of a COVID-19 vaccine has offered hope in an otherwise bleak era of the pandemic. Vaccination, as important as it is, is simply just one tool to stem the spread. The restrictions put in place to safeguard everyone remain in place. Specifically, regardless of vaccination status, we must continue to follow campus policies that require us to wear a mask or face covering in public spaces, follow the PPE Chart, maintain six feet of social distance, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and wash our hands regularly. Restricted room capacities for various meeting spaces on campus also remain in place.
You can still get COVID-19 right after getting the vaccine. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means, it is possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination . This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. For more information about the vaccine, visit www.cdc.gov.
ICYMI Learn More About COVID-19 Vaccine
To learn more about the vaccine, watch a re-broadcast of the first Campus Conversations: An Information Series on COVID-19 Vaccine.
Tips for improving your morning entry screening
Getting through morning screening can be a drag, especially if you happen to be running late. To get through the screening process faster, follow these easy tips. First, make sure you have your ID before you leave the house and then have it ready as you approach the building. Fumbling for your ID can eat up precious seconds for you and the people behind you.
Second, to get an accurate temperature reading you may need to remove your hat, swish your bangs away from your forehead, stand back a little, or remove your glasses (if they are reflecting too much light).
And finally, be prepared to answer the screening questions. Think about your last few days while you wait in line. Have you traveled? Had a fever? Been exposed to someone who has tested positive when you were not wearing PPE?
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 April 2nd, 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).
- The Gym Re-opening... there are plans underway to re-open the gym in the Student Center on a limited basis sometime in March; stay tuned for additional details.
Back To New Normal Bulletin 12/11/2020
Downstate’s new Travel Policy was issued in compliance with New York State Executive Orders 205-205.2 that impose quarantine restrictions on persons entering New York State from another state (other than NJ, CT, PA, VT, MA) or from another country. It also requires the completion of certain forms upon entry into New York State. The circumstances under which you must quarantine—and for how long—change depending on a few factors. We encourage everyone to read and become familiar with the policy. We also discourage unnecessary travel and remind employees that they are responsible for knowing the quarantine requirements related to any such travel. Employees will have to charge time-off related to such quarantines against their leave balances.
Social Distancing Policy
Our new Social Distancing Policy has been issued to establish protocols for social distancing while on the campus in order to protect all persons from the spread of COVID-19. The policy provides general guidelines for social distancing and specific guidelines for classrooms, restrooms, etc. We encourage everyone to read and become familiar with the policy.
Testing Policy for Students Departing Campus in Fall 2020
We plan to test all students before they leave for Christmas/New Year from November 30th to December 17th, 2020. All students will participate in the pool testing or submit proof of a PCR test conducted at one of our clinical affiliate sites during the period November 30th to December 17th, 2020. All students also will be re-tested when they come back again from January 4th to January 15th, 2021 (all medical students) and from January 19th to January 29th, 2021 (all students in the College of Nursing and Schools of Health Professions and Graduate Studies).
Holiday Gatherings – Bah humbug!
Though it has been a tradition for some departments to hold holiday parties and social gatherings for staff, we strongly discourage these types of gatherings this year since we must maintain our own policies to keep everyone safe. While we all enjoy the delicious fare from our co-workers, we also suggest refraining from these activities as they increase the risk for all of us. Virtual gatherings are both allowable and encouraged. While not the same as our traditional celebrations, these gatherings can bring out creativity and new traditions among the celebrants. Let’s all be social and safe!
Cafeteria Will Remain Open
Governor Cuomo has announced that starting Monday, December 14th, indoor dining in NYC is prohibited. However, the Downstate cafeteria will remain open until we get any regulatory advice otherwise.
If you are interested in monthly parking, now is a good time to get it. There is also plenty of daily parking available for purchase at $10 per day. Daily parking is available at 324 Winthrop Street (Beneficial Lot), which is open Monday – Friday, 5:00 AM-10:00 PM, except holidays. If that lot is full when you arrive, the attendants will refer you to another lot.
395 Lenox Road Available for Exit until 7PM
The entrance is now open, Monday through Friday, from 8 AM-7 PM. Please note that you will only be allowed to exit the 395 Lenox Road location from 5 PM-7 PM; it is open for both entry and exit from 8 AM-5 PM. Access into the building after 5 pm or on weekends, will either be through 450 Clarkson Avenue or 445 Lenox Road. Anyone working across the street at other campus buildings, such as 394 Lenox Road, 440 Lenox Road, or 811 New York Avenue, may still utilize this entrance for their daily screening between 8AM-5PM.
Telecommuting agreements are set to expire on January 1st, 2021. We are awaiting a decision as to whether the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations will extend those agreements.
The Governor’s Office of Employee Relations recently announced that agreements have been reached with all unions allowing extensions of the December 31st, 2020 annual leave expiration.
The new agreements apply to employees who were (or are currently) engaged in COVID-19 response efforts and unable to use annual leave due to ongoing response efforts and replace any contractually agreed upon expiration date from April 1st, 2020 through December 30th, 2021. This extension also applies to management/confidential employees who would otherwise forfeit unused annual leave.
Back To New Normal Bulletin 11/25/2020
Winter and the holiday season are fast approaching. On behalf of the members of the Back to New Normal Workgroup, we wish our fellow Downstate community a happy and, more importantly, healthy holiday season. To continue protecting ourselves and others, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other regulatory bodies are strongly discouraging travel and recommending smaller family gatherings to avoid contracting or spreading the virus. We encourage you to celebrate as much as possible in creative, but virtual ways. If you must gather, make sure that you are gathering with fewer than ten people in well-ventilated places, wearing masks, and maintaining social distance.
Though it has been a tradition for some departments to hold holiday parties and social gatherings for staff, this year, we strongly discourage these types of gatherings since we must maintain our own policies to keep everyone safe. And while we all enjoy the delicious fare from our co-workers, we strongly suggest refraining from these activities as they increase the risk for all of us. Let’s all be social but safe!
There is plenty of daily parking available for purchase at $10 per day. Daily parking is available at 324 Winthrop Street (Beneficial Lot), which is open Monday – Friday, 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM, except holidays. If that lot is full when you arrive, the attendants will refer you to another lot.
Preparing to be in the Orange Zone...
New York State has begun to zone areas to track where there is an uptick in infection rates. Governor Cuomo has signaled that all of New York City may go into the Orange Zone sometime in December. This designation may restrict how many of us can be on campus daily. We are still waiting for guidance on what this may mean for Downstate. In the event of another potential pause or shutdown, we want to be prepared, and have drafted a list of questions to use as guidance for department supervisors to consider.
A reminder about PPE...
Face masks are always required when on campus, except when eating. Face shields over face masks are required whenever close contact of less than six feet for longer than ten minutes is required. This includes clinical activities and simulated clinical activities such as those that take place in the Simulation Center. For additional information, please consult the latest version of the PPE Chart. We are preparing in the event of another strong coronavirus wave reaching our area, including making sure that we have an adequate stockpile of PPE.
Pooled testing with saliva has begun on Downstate’s campus. The purpose of the surveillance pooled testing with saliva is to test a larger group of asymptomatic employees and students to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. Surveillance testing is accurate, sensitive, and provides rapid feedback on the extent of COVID-19 prevalence on campus, allowing campus leaders to take appropriate action, including isolation and quarantine.
Selected students and employees who will be on-campus will be scheduled for testing. They will be notified (usually at least four days in advance of the week of their test appointment). Testing will be conducted in the Public Health Academic Building (PHAB) Hall near the 450 Clarkson Avenue entrance.
We know a lot of people are concerned about time they have earned that may be taken away at the end of the year because they have not been able to use it. SUNY Downstate cannot make a unilateral decision about that time. We are awaiting instructions from the Governor’s Office, and will notify you once we receive an update.
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:
- Fever greater than 100oF *
- Cough or shortness of breath *
- Severe fatigue, muscle aches, or headaches *
- Sudden loss of taste or smell *
- Exposure to anyone confirmed/suspected of COVID-19 without using PPE *
- Travel out of tri-state region (NY, NJ, CT, PA) *
- To quarantine due to COVID-19 *
- 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.
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.
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: https://online.suny.edu/covid19/
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
SUNY Campus Safety Video
NEW GUIDELINES FOR CAMPUS MEETING SPACE USE
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:
- 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.
- In instances where an online meeting is impossible, gatherings should include as few people in person as possible, and masks must be worn throughout.
- 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.
- New occupancy guidelines posted on the rooms will be enforced.
- 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.
- 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 https://www.downstate.edu/classrooms/room-specifications.html.
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 ADA@downstate.edu.
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.
MESSAGE ABOUT CAMPUS SURVEY TO ASSESS CONCERNS ABOUT RETURNING TO CAMPUS
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: https://downstate.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4Zu6dh3ZU8ocd0h.
THE BACK TO WORK WORKGROUP GOES TO WORK
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.