Syracuse University plans on welcoming students back to campus for the upcoming fall semester, but operations will look different as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a new statement released Thursday, May 28, officials announced how they will address student and faculty safety in the fall. The entire student population will be tested for COVID-19 at the start of the semester in August, and students, faculty and staff will receive random, regular temperature checks and screenings for the virus throughout the semester. The university will also develop a contact tracing program to quickly stop a potential spread and set up a testing site for students who develop symptoms of the virus. Students, faculty and staff will also be required to get flu shots.

Officials said everyone, including students and faculty, will be required to wear masks or face coverings while on campus, and most classes and lectures will be capped at a 30-person maximum, although large classrooms could possibly hold a maximum of 50 percent capacity, if the room allows for social distancing between students.

The university will also develop a "residence hall wastewater surveillance program," and a separate residential facility will be set up to house students who may have been infected or exposed to COVID-19.

The Public Health and Emergency Management Subcommittee of the Fall 2020 Open Working Group has been developing the guidelines in the Public Health Framework throughout the last month, and is comprised of public health faculty members, epidemiologists, medical professionals, and representatives for organizations like student life across campus.

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"While it is unreasonable to assume that we can entirely eliminate the risk of student, faculty or staff exposure to the COVID-19 disease, we are confident that our strategy is comprehensive and informed by the best public health information and guidance currently available," J. Michael Haynie, SU's Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation, said in the statement.

Last week, the university released a statement outlining what officials called an "accelerated academic calendar." Following this new timeline, students will attend in-person classes from August 24 to November 24, and will not return to campus following Thanksgiving break. Students will finish all review sessions, reading days, and final exams virtually.

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