To date we have had no reported cases of the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, at the College of Staten Island or within the CUNY system. However, as evidenced by news reports, the situation is fluid and it is important for faculty, staff, and students to take measures now to prepare for the possibility that the campus could be impacted by the virus. Therefore, we are requesting that you read the following and make appropriate preparations.
In the event of a campus closure, the College will look to conduct classes and business operations remotely. Note, essential staff will still be expected to report to campus, unless otherwise directed. Now is the time to prepare for all possibilities. In order for us to effectively operate remotely, please review the following guidance provided by the Office of Information Technology Services:
- Individuals who currently have external VPN access, please confirm you are able to login and you have access to directories and applications in order to work remotely. Please contact theHelpDesk at HelpDesk@csi.cuny.edu or 718.992.HELP for further assistance.
- All faculty have an account on Blackboard along with your course shell. You should take this opportunity to confirm your login as well as review any documentation in order to post lesson content. Instructional material on how to use Blackboard can be found on CUNY’s Website
Virtual Web Conferences
- Blackboard has the ability to facilitate webinars through Blackboard Collaborate. This can be used to conduct meetings or conduct classroom activities virtually. Information regarding in-person and online training can be found on our Training Website.
- If you need to access files remotely, take advantage of our cloud applications (Office 365/OneDrive and DropBox) where you can upload and share files. Information regarding in-person and online training can be found on our Training Website.
- CSI provides students with access to important resources and support that enables them to flourish in their studies and benefit from education opportunities beyond the classroom. In order to help our students locate these online resources, Information Technology compiled a list of the most useful links that offer exactly what you need for achieving success at CSI.
Check your login
- If you are not able to login to services or applications, please be sure to reset your FLAS/SLAS password. Faculty can register to reset their computer and email passwords by accessing the FLAS reset Website. Students can register to reset their computer and email passwords by accessing the SLAS reset Website.
If you need further technical assistance, please feel free to contact the HelpDesk at 718.982.4357.
Please note that facilities staff members are taking additional measures to help minimize risks. Specifically, staff has been regularly wiping down door handles and disinfecting all surfaces in restrooms. This weekend, facilities will ramp up their use of Kaivacs for complete restroom cleaning starting in buildings 1L, 1C, 1R, and 1P. In addition, more signage is going up to remind the campus community to wash and dry their hands. In support of these efforts, I want to again remind you of the following recommended preventative measures you can take:
- Wash your hands often. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds, in particular after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not available, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is recommended.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
- Cleaning and disinfecting regularly touched objects and surfaces.
Lastly, I want to leave you with the following guidance from the CUNY Website.
What to Do if You Display Symptoms
As per direction from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), students should be advised to stay home when they are sick. If a student presents with flu-like symptoms, they should be sent home in order to limit exposure to other members of the campus community.
If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, 14 days after returning from a country under a CDC Level 3 warning, or after close contact with someone who has recently traveled to them and is displaying these symptoms, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider could screen you over the phone, and will work with public health officials to determine if you need to be tested for coronavirus. Students who need help connecting to a healthcare provider should can contact Health and Wellness Services, which can answer questions and make referrals. You can also call 311 to locate the closest city-operated hospital.
Anyone who is sick and exhibiting symptoms of acute respiratory illness is asked to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever [body temperature is consistently below or equal to 100.4° F (37.8° C) measured with an oral thermometer while not having taken Tylenol, aspirin or other NSAID, which mask a fever]. Students, regardless of travel history, who are experiencing symptoms that include shortness of breath, should call Health and Wellness immediately at 718.982.3045.
Employees should notify their supervisor and keep them informed of their absence. For the health and safety of all employees, staff members who report to work exhibiting these symptoms may be sent home. CUNY Research Foundation employees can also visit this link for specific guidelines.
Accommodating Affected Students
CUNY has asked faculty and staff to be prepared to accommodate, to the reasonable extent possible, affected students, including, but not limited to, facilitating enrollment after the deadline, fast-tracking academic advising, permitting make-up exams, and extending due dates of final assignments and projects.
Future Personal Travel Plans
Following CDC guidelines, everyone in the CUNY community is strongly advised to avoid all nonessential travel to countries under a CDC Level 3 warning and generally use common sense in making traveling plans during these challenging times. Anyone with international travel plans should check the CDC’s Travel Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for the country of travel.
We understand that members of our community may be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety during this time. CUNY encourages students who feel anxious or worried about friends and family because of the coronavirus to contact Health and Wellness Services or Student Services. For faculty and staff, CUNY’s Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) is available to help. CUNY’s EAP may be reached at 866.327.2400 or through their Website.
Equity and inclusion
We want to take this opportunity to remind our diverse CUNY community that we are an institution that takes pride in its welcoming environment and unwavering promotion of the values of equity and inclusion. These challenging times are not an excuse to behave any differently toward those with whom we serve, live, study, and work. As always, any student who experiences discrimination of any kind can speak with their campus Student Affairs Office for support. Likewise, faculty or staff can speak with their campus Chief Diversity Officer or Office of Human Resources.
In closing, the health and safety of our campus community and our families is a primary concern. I appreciate everyone’s effort to help reduce the risks that we will be impacted by this virus, while also making preparations to minimize the impact if anyone does contract the virus. Please continue to check our Website for the latest information regarding our campus. Additionally, best sources for current information on the virus may be found online.
Thank you for your time and cooperation.
By William J. Fritz