SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Syracuse University has established a new COVID policy for the Fall 2022 semester.
Vice Chancellor J. Michael Haynie sent out new guidelines for the upcoming school year, dissolving the color-coded system previously established in the fall of 2021.
Effective August 15, Masks will be optional across campus for all students. Full vaccinations will be required of all students without religious or medical exemption.
Mandatory testing will no longer be offered at the Dome and the Testing Center will not reopen. Testing for symptomatic students will be available in the Barnes Center at the Arch. At-home testing will also be available for no charge in vending machines across campus and will be distributed to students at the start of the semester.
For students that test positive for COVID, isolation housing still remains available for those who need to be quarantined.
These guidelines are signaling a move towards more student accountability and fewer strict rules. After two years of regulations the school is taking more of a relaxed approach towards COVID.
Current student Daniel Chuardy is optimistic that students will be accountable and stop any outbreaks. “There might be some COVID cases here and there, but so far they’ve been contained nicely,” Chuardy says. “I think we might be able to move on with the mask mandate being optional.”
Cases stayed low all year, but several new factors can impact the year ahead. Last year, the Omicron variant tore across the United States, sending many students home in other colleges. This summer, the BA-5 variant is popping up and spreading quickly across Central New York, causing concerns in some other students.
“It’s like a serious thing, of course,” says student Sara Brinsfield. “Everyone has their own health problems and unfortunately, some people’s are worse than others. Today I feel that people don’t always take that into account.”
New variants will pop up across the country, but hopefully access to home testing and personal masking decisions will get students to act intelligently to protect one another.
“I think we’re ready to move on, but of course be cautious about other variants,” Chuardy adds.
Undergraduate students move into their dorms later this month with welcome events starting August 25th.