September 9, 2021
Dear HWS Community Members,
As mentioned in our communication yesterday, this week, Governor Hochul designated COVID-19 as an Airborne Infectious Disease. As part of New York State’s Hero Act, employers are required to enact a workplace plan that minimizes the risk of transmission. Employers had the opportunity to use the State’s default plan or create one that begins with the default plan as a minimum and enhance precautions unique to the community. The Colleges enhanced the State’s plan to create our own, which was posted online and communicated last week.
In order to comply with our Airborne Infectious Disease plan, the Colleges will be making changes to a number of policies including those around masks, dining services and visitation. Specifically:
- All employees and students will need to complete a Daily Wellness Screening. Employees and students will receive separate directions regarding this process.
- The Colleges announced a three-week period of full masking in public spaces while indoors. We will continue this requirement at least until the designation by New York State changes. Face Coverings will be required in all indoor, public spaces and when physical distancing of three feet cannot be maintained outdoors.
- Campus Safety will adjust transportation to minimize interaction between passengers.
- Starting now, external visitors to campus (including family) will not be permitted in our residence halls. Similarly, students living off-campus will not be permitted in residence halls. Currently, we do not plan to limit visitation from hall to hall.
- We encourage Zoom as a good alternative for business or club meetings where prolonged exposure may occur.
- Because students and employees are typically unmasked while sitting in the Café and SAGA, barriers will be placed on each table similar to last year. All individuals must be masked when moving about the building.
- In classrooms, we ask that all HEPA Filters be turned on. Although filters are inspected routinely, should a red light indicator be present, please contact Buildings and Grounds at (315) 781-3660, report the indicator on the COVID-19 Feedback Form, or contact Campus Safety (315) 781-3000.
- Additional cleaning supplies will be stocked in classrooms for use as needed.
- The library, Scandling and larger residence halls (as listed in the policy) will receive one additional disinfection per day.
- Normal HVAC Systems will be working at maximum capacity, split systems will be turned off, and systems that don’t cycle outside air will be discontinued.
As you know, hand hygiene remains an effective way to reduce the risk of transmission. To prevent the spread of germs during the COVID-19 pandemic, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer as needed. Our NY Hero Act plan requires additional awareness campaigns on personal precautions employees can take, and we will be posting additional information shortly.
The Campus Logistics Team, co-chaired by Carolee White and B.B. Barile with representatives from a variety of offices on campus, will hold a Zoom session within the next week to further explain the new procedures and to allow all members of our community to ask questions about the Infectious Airborne Disease plan. We are reviewing information regularly to ensure compliance with the Act, and ask HWS community members to encourage one another to maintain the health and safety of the community. Should an issue arise that needs attention from the team or that should be addressed by a supervisor or administrator, please use the COVID-19 Feedback Form.
We are glad that many of the actions in our plan were already in place, and have confidence that these next few steps will help to keep our HWS community healthy and safe during this time.
Provost and Dean of Faculty
B. B. Barile
Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students
Deborah M. Drain, M.S., SHRM-SCP
Director of Human Resources