Fall Guidance '21

Binghamton University continues to follow all public health and state guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic. Our decisions are grounded in science and follow the expert guidance of our local, state and national public health leaders. The following guidance has been developed with the safety of our University community as our first priority.

Masks required indoors

On Aug. 5, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified Broome County as a region of substantial transmission due to an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases. Therefore, we are requiring that effective Monday, Aug. 9, and until further notice, all persons on campus, regardless of their vaccination status, wear a mask when indoors.

As we finalize our preparations for the start of the fall semester, we will continue to follow guidance from New York state and public health officials. Ensuring the health and safety of our campus community is our highest priority, so our plans have been developed in collaboration with faculty, staff and healthcare experts, including county and state health officials.

We have been able to keep our COVID-19 cases low, with only one positive case all summer. However, given the rising concerns about the Delta variant and to ensure we are doing everything possible to limit transmission of the coronavirus, we are requiring that effective Monday, Aug. 9, all persons on campus, regardless of their vaccination status, wear a mask when indoors. This includes classrooms, hallways, libraries, common spaces and offices, as well as buses and shuttles. Masks will not be required inside personal residence hall rooms or personal office spaces, while eating in on-campus dining areas or in non-public-facing personal workstations.

We will continue to monitor the data and revisit the mask requirement as appropriate.

The University will continue to offer in-person classes, with no plans to revert to remote learning, and will also continue to strongly encourage vaccinations for all members of the campus community. Vaccinated students should upload their proof of vaccination to the student health portal, and vaccinated employees should provide proof of vaccination to Human Resources.

Student Guidance

Fall 2021 Operating Guidance

Purpose

The purpose of these guidelines is to explain the policies and procedures Binghamton University will operate under during the fall 2021 semester as they pertain to COVID-19 vaccination, testing and safety precautions designed to protect the health of the campus community and to promote student success.

Philosophy

The outstanding educational experience offered to all levels of Binghamton University students is anchored by in-person instruction, close and persistent contact among students, faculty and staff, and a residential campus that successfully promotes student engagement in co-curricular and extracurricular programs. By the very nature of the experience, population density on campus is high. That Binghamton residence halls were at more than 80% of capacity during the height of the pandemic is a clear testament to the value our students place upon campus life and its centrality to the Binghamton educational experience.

While Binghamton maintained compliance with all required safety precautions (e.g., masking, social distancing, density reduction) last academic year, our students have made clear that they want and expect as full a return to normal campus operations as possible in the forthcoming year. The procedures that follow are intended to support normal campus operations and the delivery of the distinctive Binghamton educational experience in a manner that accounts for the ongoing public health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consistent with this philosophy, we expect that the Binghamton campus community will largely be one of vaccinated individuals.

Vaccination Requirements – General

This policy requires all Binghamton students who access campus facilities in person to be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall 2021 term (Aug. 24, 2021), with limited exceptions. For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 more than two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or more than two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).

All students are advised that, since the FDA on Aug. 23 granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, Binghamton requires full compliance with this general policy requiring student vaccinations by Sept. 28.

Though this policy requiring vaccination does not apply to faculty and staff, Binghamton faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated in accordance with the philosophy noted above.

Medical Exemptions

Students may be exempt from the vaccination requirement if a duly licensed healthcare provider certifies in writing that the student has a medical contraindication to the COVID-19 vaccine. Students requesting consideration for a medical exemption from vaccination requirements must submit a petition for exemption through the Decker Student Health Services Health Portal including the certification. As more particularly set forth in the Decker Student Health Services COVID-19 Vaccination Compliance and Exemption Process found on the Decker COVID-19 page, requests for medical exemptions must contain the certification of a licensed healthcare provider, sufficient information for Health Services staff to understand the medical basis for the exemption, its necessary length and contact information for the healthcare provider. Decker Student Health Services medical staff will review exemption requests in the same manner as it considers requests for medical exemptions from MMR immunization requirements.

Religious Exemptions

Students who hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs that are contrary to COVID-19 vaccination may petition for exemption from the vaccination requirement by submitting a written statement to that effect through the Decker Student Health Services Health Portal. As more particularly set forth in the Decker Student Health Services COVID-19 Vaccination Compliance and Exemption Process found on the Decker COVID-19 page, such a statement should explain how receiving the COVID-19 vaccination conflicts with the student’s sincere religious belief or practice. Decker Student Health Services medical staff will review all exemption requests, as they do for MMR immunization exemption requests.

Students requesting medical or religious exemptions from the University should first consult with their academic program dean/director/principal investigator to confirm that the failure to be vaccinated does not prevent the student from otherwise fulfilling the programmatic or curricular requirements of their academic program.

Students granted a medical or religious exemption will be subjected to certain restrictions and COVID-19 testing responsibilities as set forth in this policy.

Vaccination Requirement – On-Campus Students

Binghamton University is requiring all students living in campus-operated residence halls to be fully vaccinated prior to occupancy for the fall 2021 term, with limited medical and religious exemptions only as specified below and independent of the FDA approval process. For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 more than two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or more than two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen). Subject to final NYS guidance, COVID-19 vaccines recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) may now be accepted for purposes of determining vaccine status.

Binghamton will further require all students accessing residence hall dining facilities to be fully vaccinated. All students living on campus and exempt from being vaccinated must use take-out dining in the resident dining halls.

Medical and Religious Exemptions

The original deadline to request a medical or religious exemption was July 23. However, there will be an open 10-day period for anyone who missed the original deadline. From Aug. 24 through Sept. 3, students can apply for either exemption by uploading their request to the student health portal. The procedures for submitting exemption petitions are set forth in the Decker Student Health Services COVID-19 Vaccination Compliance and Exemption Process on the Decker COVID-19 page.

For religious exemptions, regardless of the process used, students will be notified of the status of their request through their BMail account from the fall2021@binghamton.edu address.

Obligations of Residential Students Exempted from Vaccination Requirement

Students who are granted an exemption from the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine requirement are subject to special obligations to enable them to remain on campus. Such students are required to:

  1. Provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the student’s move-in date or quarantine for 10 days upon arrival on campus, and have a negative COVID-19 test on the 10th day to be eligible for release.
  2. Comply with mandatory COVID-19 surveillance testing at least once a week.
  3. Wear a mask at all times the student is indoors except:
    • when the student is in their private residential or personal space;
    • when they are eating meals on campus while seated; or
    • the student is alone.
Housing Conditions for Residential Students Exempted from Vaccination Requirement

Binghamton University reserves the right to reassign exempted unvaccinated students from their current housing assignment. The purpose of such reassignment would be to avoid placing a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated students in the same room or suite. If possible, reassigned students would be assigned to space in the same residential community as their current assignment; however, this may not always be possible given that the campus is expected to be at full residential occupancy. An exempted student reassigned to a different residential community and/or room type will be charged the lower of the two housing rates between the two assignments.

Unvaccinated individuals with an approved exemption from the vaccination requirement may request to remain in their assigned housing and share a room with their roommates and/or suitemates by gaining written consent from all roommates/suitemates. Unvaccinated students must initiate the process by disclosing their vaccination exemption status to their roommates/suitemates. Once written consent has been acquired in writing from all parties, they should provide these to Residential Life at reslife@binghamton.edu within five business days of notification that their exemption has been approved. 

Housing Cancellation for Unvaccinated Students

Students unwilling to comply with the vaccination requirement for on-campus housing were required to petition to cancel housing on or before Friday, July 23, 2021. Students who petition for medical or religious exemption who are denied such exemption must request housing cancellation within three business days of notification that their exemption has been denied. Students who fail to meet these deadlines will be subject to housing charges for the fall 2021 semester but are only permitted to occupy their space if they are fully vaccinated prior to occupancy.

Surveillance testing responsibility/consequences of non-compliance

Students living on campus and granted medical or religious exemptions from the vaccination requirement must participate in COVID-19 surveillance testing at least once a week at the University COVID-19 Testing Center in Room 111 of the University Union. It is the responsibility of the student to schedule and complete testing each week as long as they remain unvaccinated or are not yet fully vaccinated (less than two weeks post-completion of vaccination or vaccination series) and the Testing Center continues to operate. Students will be granted one warning for failure to comply. Upon a second missed test, the student will be subject to the Student Conduct process and possible removal from University housing.

Vaccination Requirement – Off-Campus Students

This policy requires all Binghamton students who access campus facilities in person to be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall 2021 term (Aug. 24, 2021), with limited exceptions. For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 more than two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or more than two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).

All students are advised that, since the FDA on Aug. 23 granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, Binghamton requires full compliance with this general policy requiring student vaccinations by Sept. 28.

Students must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 28 to avoid being disenrolled from classes. They must submit proof of vaccination to the student health portal

Obligations of Exempted/Unvaccinated Students

Students who are granted an exemption from the vaccination requirement in accordance with these guidelines are subject to special obligations to enable them to have a physical presence on campus. Such students are required to:

  1. Provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the first day of classes or quarantine for 10 days prior to the first day of class and have a negative COVID-19 test on the 10th day to be eligible for release
  2. Comply with mandatory COVID-19 surveillance testing at least once a week.
  3. Wear a mask at all times the student is indoors on campus except when they are eating meals on campus while seated, or the student is alone. On-campus dining is restricted to take-out only in resident dining halls for non-vaccinated students.
  4. Comply with all additional restrictions applying to campus instructional, work and research spaces as set forth in these guidelines.
  5. Off-campus students who fail to meet weekly testing obligations or otherwise fail to comply with these requirements and obligations will be granted one warning. Thereafter, non-compliant students will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. Those found responsible for violations of these requirements are subject to separation from the campus for the balance of the fall 2021 semester.
Medical and Religious Exemptions

For off-campus students, the same as for on-campus students, the original deadline to request a medical or religious exemption was July 23. However, there will be an open 10-day period for anyone who missed the original deadline. From Aug. 24 through Sept. 3, students can apply for either exemption by uploading their request to the student health portal.  The procedures for submitting exemption petitions are set forth in the Decker Student Health Services COVID-19 Vaccination Compliance and Exemption Process on the Decker COVID-19 page.

For religious exemptions, regardless of the process used, students will be notified of the status of their request through their BMail account from the fall2021@binghamton.edu address.

International Students 

The CDC and New York State Department of Health have recommended that completing a WHO-approved vaccine series is acceptable as proof of being fully vaccinated. 

The current list of WHO-approved vaccines is available online. A vaccine is approved if "Finalized" appears in the column called "Status of Assessment."

All health information requirements must be presented in English or accompanied by a translation. Students who require the translation of documents can use one of the many translation services available on the internet. 

Vaccination Requirement - Special Programs and Services

Campus Recreation: Depending upon vaccination rates of students and employees, Campus Recreation may require proof of vaccination to enter indoor recreation spaces and may limit participation in certain programs and access to indoor recreation spaces to fully vaccinated patrons only. Potentially restricted programs and spaces are intramurals, club sports, the East Gym pool, Fitspace, East Gym locker rooms and East Gym multipurpose spaces. The campus will issue further guidance once there is a fuller understanding of the campus vaccination rate.

Special Guidelines for Instructional and Research Environments

It is the responsibility of students who are not fully vaccinated to wear a mask in all learning spaces. 

Students entering lab spaces are required to follow the campus COVID safety guidelines. Those who are vaccinated are not required to wear a facial covering unless it is a requirement of the lab due to the research being conducted. Students who are not fully vaccinated are to wear facial coverings in labs at all times. The Principal Investigator in charge of the lab space(s) will ensure all safety requirements are followed and may impose additional safety measures for all (vaccinated and unvaccinated) who enter the lab space(s) at their discretion.  

Monitoring of Campus/Community Infection and Vaccination Measures

According to the CDC, multiple factors should be considered for managing environments where 100% of the population is not fully vaccinated. Ideally, consideration would be given to both the direct campus population as well as the surrounding community. The primary factors to consider include: (1) level of community transmission of COVID-19; (2) COVID-19 vaccination coverage, including among students, faculty and staff; (3) implementation of a robust, frequent SARS-CoV-2 screening testing program with high participation from the unvaccinated campus population; and (4) any local COVID-19 outbreaks or increasing trends.

Therefore, the following guidance applies:

  • Vaccinated individuals: As noted at the top of this page, effective Aug. 9, 2021, and until further notice, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status are required to wear a mask on campus.
  • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals: Individuals who are not vaccinated or fully vaccinated are responsible for continuing to wear masks on campus.
  • Campus discretion: Campuses may impose additional mask-wearing requirements and additional terms or restrictions within the instructional setting (e.g., no eating or drinking) above and beyond the CDC guidance. If so, the campus must work with campus stakeholders in the development of any additional changes and broadly communicate the policy to the entire college community.
  • Special consideration: Pursuant to the CDC, “A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.)” may submit a request to the campus for consideration of an exemption from mask-wearing based on a medical accommodation, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Community transmission: Additional requirements may be imposed by the campus or System Administration based upon the increasing COVID-19 transmission rates on campus.

Diagnostic Testing

On-campus and off-campus residing students who have any symptoms of COVID-19 should contact the Decker Student Health Services Center (DSHSC) during the first day they are ill, even if symptoms are mild. This applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated students. These students can be tested on campus, free of charge, at the DSHSC. They should isolate until tested. Because DSHSC only performs diagnostic testing, it is critical that only students with symptoms, or students who have been told by the Health Department that they have been exposed to COVID-19, request a test through the DSHSC.

Symptomatic students will receive a rapid molecular (PCR) test, which is a nasal (short) swab test. Any individual who tests positive, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, will be required to isolate for 10 days. Specific details on isolation can be found below.

Likewise, symptomatic employees should not report to work, and should seek testing through their primary care provider or another testing resource in the community. Isolation is required until an appropriate medical evaluation has been completed.

Surveillance Testing Requirement

Binghamton University is requiring all individuals who are not fully vaccinated to undergo weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing at the University Surveillance Testing Center. Below is information specific to students subject to the surveillance testing requirement. Human Resources will provide information to University staff subject to weekly surveillance testing. Students should pay close attention to the consequences for missing a required test as explained below. COVID-19 testing requirements will be strictly enforced.

1.    Students who are not fully vaccinated and students who have or may obtain medical/religious exemptions from the vaccination requirement must be tested for COVID-19 weekly at the Surveillance Testing Center in the University Union.  

2.       Each week a message with a link to make an appointment will be sent to all those subject to such testing. Testing is by appointment only and walk-in testing is no longer available. It is your responsibility to make an appointment and to arrive for testing at the time of your appointment.

3.    Students who are not tested as required will face the following consequences:

a.    First missed test: A warning message from the Surveillance Testing Center.

b.    Second missed test: Students who miss a test after receiving a warning message will have a HOLD placed on their registration; however, the impact of the HOLD on the student’s registration will be held in abeyance unless the student misses another test in the same semester.

c.    Third missed test: Students who miss a third required COVID-19 test in the same semester will have the registration HOLD activated and will be dropped from their courses. Students not enrolled are also not eligible to live in campus residence halls.

4.    Students who are dropped from their classes as a result of this policy will have one opportunity to appeal their removal from courses. The ONLY basis for such appeal will be that the University testing records are inaccurate and the student has not missed three tests. The University will not otherwise reconsider the imposition of this policy upon a student who has missed three tests in the same semester.

5.    Students who are under quarantine order are not required to break quarantine to be tested; however, it is any such student’s responsibility to request an exemption from weekly testing when they are under quarantine order by using this link: https://cglink.me/2eQ/s52397. Copies of quarantine orders will be required.

6.    Students may not use a home test to satisfy the requirement for weekly COVID-19 testing.

7.    Students who begin the semester unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated but who become fully vaccinated during the semester are subject to the weekly testing requirement and associated penalties for non-compliance until the date upon which they are fully vaccinated (14-days after last shot). 

8.    Vaccinated students may receive an infrequent notice to schedule a testing appointment. The University is testing a certain number of vaccinated students each week to help monitor the prevalence of the virus among vaccinated members of our community. In addition, asymptomatic members of the campus community may now be tested at the Surveillance Testing Center (STC) in the Mandela Room/Old Union Hall in the University Union. Appointments must be made one day prior to the testing, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tests are limited to one per week and appointments can be made at https://cglink.me/2eQ/r1188077.

Isolation and Quarantine Responsibilities

Symptomatic students are expected to isolate until their test results are known, at which time they will be instructed on next steps. Students living on campus who test positive may isolate at home or in designated spaces on campus, following all instructions and guidelines issued by the University and Broome County Health Department until they are cleared to resume usual activities. COVID-19 positive individuals will be required to isolate for 10 days.

Off-campus students testing positive will isolate either at home or in their off-campus residence for the 10-day period.

Vaccinated individuals exposed to COVID-19 positive individuals do not need to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic. These individuals should self-monitor for symptoms over the next 14 days, with appropriate follow up should symptoms develop.

These individuals should self-monitor for symptoms over the next 14 days. If symptoms develop, self-isolation should occur with prompt follow-up with the local public health authority or a healthcare provider. Individuals who find themselves in this circumstance should wear a mask and remain socially distanced until medical evaluation and follow-up instruction has been provided.


Faculty Guidance

Fall 2021: Returning to in-person instruction

  • A. Campus safety and returning to in-person instruction

    For the fall 2021 semester we look forward to a return to the in-person teaching and learning experience that our students value highly, while recognizing that our community continues to face challenges related to the ongoing pandemic. Students will not have the option to participate in courses remotely and faculty members will not offer a remote option for students who indicate that they do not want to join in-person courses for the semester. Similarly, instructors should plan to offer their courses in the classroom as scheduled and do not have the option to choose to shift to remote instruction. (Please see section E. iii. below for exceptional circumstances when instructors may, at their discretion, choose from a variety of options to accommodate sick/quarantined students.) Office hours should be conducted in a way that facilitates access and communication. If instructors elect to hold office hours via Zoom, they should maintain regular office hours and be accessible via Zoom during those times.

    The University will continue to follow public health recommendations to provide a safe environment for all. The guidelines and information provided here are in response to instructor suggestions and questions. Please consider how the issues addressed here (and others that arise as you prepare for the semester) could be addressed directly in the syllabi that you provide to students at the start of the semester. Stating policies clearly in your syllabi and articulating consequences for students who fail to comply will help students understand your expectations and prevent difficulties.

    The University is committed to doing all we can to maintain a healthy campus while offering the in-person education that students find most effective. We know that vaccination is the first and most important step for individual and community health. Infections are significantly lower among those who are vaccinated, and it is rare for vaccinated individuals to develop serious illness or require hospitalization. As a result, a high rate of vaccination slows the spread of the virus. Consequently, we have aggressively encouraged students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated; have required vaccinations where permitted; and have achieved a high rate of vaccination among our students. 

    All students living on campus are required to submit proof of full vaccination or be approved for a medical or religious exemption, regardless of FDA vaccine approval status, as a condition of moving into their rooms. Students with approved exemptions must wear face coverings regardless of the campus-wide policy in effect at any point during the academic year. They must also participate in surveillance testing at least weekly. Failure to comply with surveillance testing will result in sanction after two missed test dates, which may include removal from campus and classes. 

    Off-campus residents who have not received an exemption or submitted proof of full vaccination status prior to FDA approval must wear face coverings at all times and participate in surveillance testing at least weekly. Failure to comply with surveillance testing will result in sanction after two missed test dates, which may include removal from campus and classes. After FDA approval of a vaccine — which news reports suggest will occur soon — students will have 35 days to submit proof of completing a vaccination series. Failure to comply will result in deregistration and removal from campus.

    Students were given the opportunity to request medical or religious exemptions by July 23. Exemption requests received after July 23 will be considered only if there is a change in medical status. Approved exemptions currently constitute less than 1% of the overall student population.

    The Decker Student Health Services Center will continue to provide diagnostic testing for symptomatic students, free of charge, and has added weekend hours that will continue as long as there is demand for service. Contact tracing will continue following identification of positive cases and campus will maintain spaces for isolation and quarantine of on campus residing students.  

    Faculty and staff are required to submit proof of full vaccination or to participate in surveillance testing at least weekly. Any faculty or staff member who has not submitted proof of full vaccination must wear a face covering regardless of the campus-wide policy in effect at any point during the academic year, unless they are eating/drinking or alone in a private space/office.

  • B. Academic Assessment Day

    Looking ahead to the start of the semester, we know that our incoming cohort of undergraduates has not had the kind of high school experience that past cohorts have had, and many of them have faced extraordinary challenges in completing their high school studies. One big objective for all of us this fall will be to help provide them with feedback and support as they make the transition to college-level studies.

    At the suggestion of faculty members on the Road Map Steering Committee, an addition to our academic calendar this fall is Academic Assessment Day, to be held Monday, Sept. 27. Faculty leaders on the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and groups of department chairs discussed and broadly supported this addition, in particular because of its potential to help our new students receive academic and other support services at a point in the semester when intervention and support initiatives have the best chance of success.

    Academic Assessment Day consists of two parts:

    • For all lower-division (i.e., 100- and 200-level) undergraduate courses, we are asking faculty to provide some kind of substantive academic assessment or feedback to students by Sept. 27. This might come in the form of quizzes, one or more writing assignments, a unit test or other means that makes sense for your course and subject matter. Many of you already design your courses to provide this kind of early assessment and feedback for students, so this requires no changes to your course. For others, this might mean adding something to the course or changing the timing of a test.
    • The second part of Academic Assessment Day is identifying the students who are at risk. Many of you have already participated in our Early Alert initiative, telling us about students who are not attending class, whose participation is cause for concern or whose academic performance suggests that they may not be successful in the course. We’ve taken faculty feedback and suggestions and incorporated them in a new response mechanism that will be introduced to faculty at the start of the semester. Your feedback through this new Advise Platform will help us to provide academic support, tutoring and other interventions early enough in the semester to make a difference for students who need some help. 
  • C. Academic Calendar

    We’re back to our regular academic calendar and schedule of courses. 

    Note that on Tuesday, Oct. 12, Thursday classes will meet. Tuesday classes will NOT meet on Oct. 12. This may be a bit confusing, but this schedule has been designed to provide 14 class meetings for each day of the week over the course of the semester, thereby assuring that our classes have sufficient contact hours to meet credit-hour standards. For classes on a Tuesday/Thursday (T/R) meet pattern, there will be no changes. The changes affect courses that meet either only Tuesday (T) or Thursday (R), but not both (TR).

  • D. International student arrivals

    International students are eager to join us on campus this fall. However, many of them have been struggling to get visa appointments, complete vaccination series or overcome other travel challenges to get to Binghamton before the start of the semester. Policy requires international students to join in-person classes no later than the add/drop deadline (Sept. 9); if you have an international student in your course, consider how you can accommodate a student who may have no choice but to arrive after the semester has already started. Helping them get off to a good start will be a big factor in their successful adjustment and degree completion. Thank you for your help and support for these members of our campus community.

  • E. Courses

    Below you will find sample language or examples of ways to respond to various situations. Consider how you may want to include or adapt what you find here in your own syllabi. In some cases, sample consequences for non-compliance are listed [in square brackets] as examples; feel free to use them or modify them for your course, but be sure to include any such consequences in the syllabi for all students so they are informed of expectations and consequences.

General statement suggestion for courses

Binghamton University follows the recommendations of public health experts to protect the health of students, faculty, staff and the community at large. Safeguarding public health depends on each of us strictly following requirements as they are instituted and for as long as they remain in force. Health and safety standards will be enforced in this course.

Face coverings and other safety measures

Current rules require everyone to wear a face covering that completely covers both the nose and mouth while indoors (unless they are eating or alone in a private space like an office). A face shield is not an acceptable substitute. Classroom safety requirements will continue to be based on guidance from public health authorities and will be uniformly applied across campus. If these requirements change, a campus-wide announcement will be made to inform the University.

Classrooms in the Lecture Hall and some other large halls are equipped with microphone connections; faculty who are teaching in these spaces and would like to use a microphone should contact the Center for Learning and Teaching if they do not have their own microphone. For instructors who are teaching in spaces where communication while wearing a face covering presents a challenge, please contact the Center for Learning and Teaching. The CLT  is exploring personal microphone solutions that can help. Instructors must follow all applicable campus requirements for use of face coverings, including while teaching. Instructors who have specific technology needs for teaching can use the form found at https://www.binghamton.edu/clt/ecc/index.html to request it. 

We recommend that your syllabi:

  • indicate that the University recommends and supports swift action and clear consequences if a student’s non-compliance risks the safety of others.
  • state how you will handle an in-class instance of inadvertent non-compliance or an in-class instance of deliberate non-compliance. 
  • state what the consequences for non-compliance will be.

The academic and course-removal sanctions listed here are provided because the Provost’s Office considers them to be valid responses if a student puts the safety of others at risk; you may indicate that in your syllabi. Non-compliance with safety requirements constitutes a public health risk and a disruption of the learning experience. You may choose to establish classroom policies that prohibit eating and drinking; longer classes could include a short break.  

[Sample language: If you forget your face covering or it does not meet these requirements, you will be asked to leave the room immediately. You may not return until you meet the requirement.

Instructors should address what happens if the student misses a graded assessment due to being asked to leave the classroom for not having a proper face covering. For example, instructors may say that [the student will receive a zero on the assignment. Or, instructors may have a policy of dropping one quiz, etc.]          

If a student does not comply with the requirements or the instructor’s direction, the instructor [will immediately cancel the remainder of the class session and inform the dean’s office, which will work with the Student Records office to issue a failing grade (“F”) for the course regardless of when in the semester the incident occurs. The dean’s office will also inform the Office of Student Conduct.] If you choose to impose this penalty, it should be explicitly stated in your syllabi, like other things that affect grading.  

If a student’s refusal to comply is a second offense, the Office of Student Conduct may recommend dismissal from the University.           

If the rules for health and safety measures change, the campus will be notified and the new requirements will take effect.

Illness/quarantine

Students should be reminded to stay home if they are ill and seek prompt medical evaluation if they experience symptoms of COVID-19. Early case finding will benefit the entire campus. This should apply to faculty/staff as well. 

Decker Student Health Services does not have the resources to issue individual notes confirming illness. Please do not require this of your students.  

If students become ill or are required to quarantine, instructors will deal with them on a case-by-case basis as they would when dealing with cases of influenza or other illness that keeps a student from attending class. We encourage instructors to contact the Center for Learning and Teaching for ideas and support in helping these students to keep up with the course. Instructional designers and other academic support personnel can help tailor academic support to the course and to specific student needs. At the instructor's discretion, this could include options like making class sessions available to students through audio or video recordings, providing "live" attendance through Zoom, sharing course materials, etc. Instructors are free to select an approach that works for them and their course. 

Please remember that instructors may not ask students about their vaccination status; see above for an explanation of the New York vaccination requirement implementation and other health and safety information. Health and safety decisions and policies will be made and announced at the University level; instructors do not have the latitude to modify these policies or impose additional restrictions or requirements for specific courses or other contexts. 

If instructors become ill or are required to quarantine/isolate, they should work with their department chair to find the best way for their course(s) to move forward during the time of their absence from the classroom.
 


Employee Guidance

The New York State Department of Health and the Governor's Office of Employee Relations have provided the following guidance:

From the Governor's Office of Employee Relations

Consistent with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s June 15, 2021 announcement that the state’s
COVID-19 restrictions for most commercial and social settings were lifted as 70% of adult New Yorkers had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, the Governor's Office of Employee Relations (GOER) issued a memorandum to provide updated guidance to all state agencies and authorities on in-person work and telecommuting.

In accordance with the memorandum, Binghamton University has been returning employees to work on campus at an increased frequency, and reminds everyone that, as of Aug. 1, all staff were to be back to campus for full-time, on-campus work. In addition, those who apply for and are approved for the SUNY Pilot Telecommuting program may work remotely as defined by the program. Requests for a reasonable accommodation based on a specific individual health situation or disability should be directed to Human Resources. 

The following information comes directly from the GOER memorandum:

September 7, 2021 through remainder of 2021

  • Agencies and authorities will return to pre-pandemic, in-person workplace presence with limited exceptions that are consistent with their GOER-reviewed specific telecommuting program.
    • COVID-19 specific accommodations for employees (e.g., child or elder care) are expected to be removed from specific telecommuting programs following appropriate notice and engagement with affected employees. Reasonable accommodations will still be in effect, pursuant to ADA/HRLs.

Agencies and authorities shall maintain regular co ntact with their respective union representatives to keep them apprised of plans to increase frequency of in person work, as well as to evaluate and address concerns that are raised. This contact includes briefing union representatives on any ongoing or up dated health protocols that your agency or authority adopts consistent with the Revised Guidance for State Agencies and Authorities during the COVID 19 Public Health Emergency

As employees return to the workplace on a more frequent basis, agencies and authorities must remain mindful of keeping employees safe, in accordance with the revised guidance, and update any safety plans as needed, as well as any contractual requirements regarding schedule changes, split schedules, or alternative work schedules, in cluding any applicable hardship provisions, of the various collective bargaining agreements.

As agencies and authorities increasingly return employees to the workplace, they should also be aware of the following resource information for employees as it pertains to childcare. Information on childcare opportunities, which is not exhaustive, is available through the Office of Children and Families website at https://ocfs.ny.gov/programs/childcare/looking/. For those employees who work close to one, there are multiple NewYork State Network Child Care Centers, supported by the State and our publice mployee unions. A list of those centers is available at https://goer.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/01/network-child-care-center-flyer-12.21-accessible.pdf.

For additional information regarding increasing in-person workplace presence for your employees, contact your GOER representative or your Office of Human Resources. Thank you.