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FAQs - Spring 2021 & COVID-19

Prepared on January 24, 2021
Subject to change
The following message offers answers for some of the most frequently asked questions in the following categories:

Academic Calendar Change

Q. What are my options if my lease ends before the semester ends?
A. Many landlords in the immediate neighborhood have suggested that they are willing to work with students who find themselves in this situation. In addition, Centennial Hall may be able to accommodate a limited number of short-term arrangements. The College may also have access to a limited amount of funds for students who experience a financial hardship because of the date change.
Q. I made obligations based on the original academic calendar. The change in dates will impact my ability to fulfill these obligations and may cause me to lose an internship or career opportunity.
A. Changes to the academic calendar were made to ensure the health and safety of our campus community and in consultation with health and infectious disease experts. We would encourage you to contact those with whom you’ve made arrangements at your earliest convenience. Calmly explain the situation and ask if alternative arrangements can be made.
Q. Do all classes start on February 8 or will some online classes start earlier than that?
A. All classes will start on February 8. Courses will be presented in accordance with the modality indicated online.
Q. The delayed start date also delays when students can begin working. Will due dates for the bills also be adjusted?
A. Please check with your employer. Some work study positions need not be bound by semester start/end dates. If you have questions about your bill, please contact the Bursar at (315) 470-6652 or
Q. The revised academic calendar does not include a spring break and the reading day is just one day. I am concerned that coursework will be rushed, and I may feel overwhelmed.
A. The calendar does include two wellness days. These were added to provide a break. Classes will not be held and no additional coursework will be assigned. The Division of Student Affairs can help students find effective ways to manage stress. Contact Student Affairs at 315-470-6660 or Appointments can be made with staff in Counseling Services by calling the same number. Additionally, the Counseling Services crisis line (315-470-4716) is answered 24/7/365 by a licensed counselor.
Q. Will weekend classes be added to the academic calendar this semester?
A. No additional weekend classes will be added to the academic calendar.
Q. All of my classes are online. Why was it necessary to delay the start, necessitating an accelerated pace?
A. Not all classes are online. Changes to the academic calendar were made to ensure the health and safety of our campus community and in consultation with health and infectious disease experts.
Q. Will the academic calendar change impact financial aid disbursement?
A. We do not expect that the calendar change will impact processing or disbursement of aid.


Q. What should I do if I’m having difficulty keeping up with course expectations?
A. Contact your professor and ask for assistance. In addition, you can discuss options with the staff in the Academic Success Center by calling (315) 470-6752 or emailing
Q. I’m having trouble with my technology. What should I do?
A. Students in need of technological and instructional assistance should contact Computing and Network Services. The Help Desk can be contacted at or by calling 315-470-6861.
A limited number of SUNY-provided computers remain available for students to borrow. To inquire about their availability and to request one, contact the Division of Student Affairs at

Centennial Hall

Q. When does Centennial Hall open?
A. Information about Centennial Hall was mailed to residents on January 11, 2021.
Q. When can I check-into Centennial Hall?
A. All residents received an email message on January 11, 2021 with instructions for move-in.
Q. Will I be able to welcome visitors – family and/or friends – into Centennial Hall this semester?
A. To ensure the health and safety of all members of our campus community, one family member or guest may assist Centennial Hall residents move into the residence hall during the student’s assigned time slot. Visitors will not be allowed in Centennial Hall during the Spring 2021 semester.


Q. How can I stay informed during the Spring 2021 semester?
A. Watch your email. Official communication is sent to your email address. COVID-19 information is also posted to the College’s website and posted to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Extracurricular Activities

Q. What options do we have to learn about safe and healthy extracurricular activities?
A. ESF is planning a variety of online and socially distanced events for students during the Spring 2021 semester. ESF students receive a weekly email, Oakie’s Opps, on Mondays that outlines events at ESF. Syracuse University also plans events open to ESF students. To learn about activities happening at Syracuse University, please visit the Syracuse University Community Calendar.

Health and Safety

Q. What am I expected to do before I return to campus for the Spring 2021 semester?
A. Centennial Hall students should refer to the information emailed on January 11, 2021.
Non-residential students must participate in daily pre-screening for travel history, COVID-19 history and COVID-19 symptoms for two (2) weeks prior to the start of instruction using the web-based surveillance system. Complete the daily form.
In addition,
  • All students are strongly encouraged to obtain a flu shot before arriving on campus. Any student using any facility at Syracuse University is required to obtain a flu shot. Provide documentation of a flu shot here.
  • All students must review the revised College Commitment, and sign and agree to this.
  • All students from states noncontiguous to New York must complete the New York State Traveler Health Form and follow the NYS Travel Advisory guidelines.
Q. What guidelines must I follow if I am residing at my permanent address AND have no intention of coming to either the ESF campus or the Syracuse University campus?
A. While you are welcome and encouraged to complete the pre-screening and testing protocols expected of students who expect to visit the ESF and/or Syracuse University campus(es), you may request an exemption by emailing Please note that this exemption means you will not be able to come to campus for any reason, including, but not limited to, these:
  • Dining services, including Syracuse University dining halls, the Trailhead Cafe, Peoples Place, etc.
  • Libraries and classroom spaces
  • Recreational facilities including the Barnes Center
  • In-person meetings with any service office like Student Affairs, Career Services, Financial Aid, the Bursar’s Office, etc.
  • Working in offices/labs/classrooms on either the Syracuse University or ESF campus
Q. What if I’ve traveled outside of New York State for more than 24 hours?
A. You must follow the NYS Travel Advisory guidelines, including taking the following steps:
  • Travelers must obtain a COVID test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York. Upload the test results here.
  • The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days.
  • On day 4 of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. Upload the test results here.
  • If both tests comes back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.
  • Students who arrive without having completed the testing required as directed in the NYS Travel Advisory are required to complete a 10-day quarantine.
Q. What is the best way to maintain a safe environment at ESF during the Spring 2021 semester?
A. The best way to maintain the safest environment is for each of us to take steps to minimize the risks, including the following:
  • wearing face coverings (masks)
  • hand washing
  • social distancing
  • participating in testing and tracing
  • completing daily screenings
  • being mindful of our surroundings and the impact we have
Q. What should I do if I think I may have been exposed or am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?
A. Contact your health care provider (students may contact Crouse Medical Center) and complete the appropriate form listed under “Student Reporting Forms." If you are required to quarantine or isolate, the College will provide assistance. Arrangements have been made with Onondaga Community College for Centennial Hall residents and may be available for off-campus students. Transportation, meals, and other necessities will be provided to ensure your needs are met.
Q. How often should I get tested for COVID-19 during the Spring 2021 semester?
A. All students who have not received an exemption are expected to be tested at least weekly at the Stadium (formerly known as the Dome) on the Syracuse University campus. This surveillance test is free. If your test results indicate the virus is present, you will be required to receive a clinical diagnostic test for confirmation. Specific instructions will be provided should the situation present itself.
Q. Are there any requirements I should know before going to receive my test?
A. Yes. Remember to follow these guidelines prior to testing:
  • Have your ESF ID with you.
  • Do not report to testing if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Wear a mask when arriving at the check-in center.
  • Do not brush your teeth or use mouthwash for 3 hours prior to arriving at the check-in center.
  • Do not eat or drink – including water, gum, mints, lozenges, smoking, or smokeless tobacco products – for 30 minutes prior to arriving at the check-in center.
Q. What happens if I don’t follow the rules?
A. When the campus learns of a violation of the rules associated with COVID-19 safety, students may lose access to campus facilities and/or campus housing. Other disciplinary actions may be taken by the Division of Student Affairs and/or Human Resources Offices. Student conduct is governed by the ESF Code of Student Conduct, found in the ESF Student Handbook on page 30. Minimum sanctions are outlined in the Uniform Sanctioning in Response to COVID-19 Student Violations. Consistent with SUNY policy, students who are partially or completely removed from the institution due to a violation are not eligible for refunds.


Q. Can students receive a vaccination?
A. Eligibility for the vaccine is determined by the New York State Department of Health. Currently, “student status” does not qualify an individual to receive the vaccine.
Q. I am a student, but have responsibilities that require in-person college instruction. Am I eligible for the vaccine?
A. Possibly. Please confirm your responsibilities with your academic department chair. If your responsibilities do require in-person college instruction, your academic department chair can provide you with a letter indicating that you are eligible.
Q. Will vaccinated individuals still have to follow the same guidelines as those who have not received the vaccine?
A. Yes.