Return to Campus Research

***Updated November 12, 2020 with latest quarantine information

Return to Campus for Faculty and Staff

Syracuse University’s policies, protocols and recommendations for returning faculty and staff to campus are rooted in the health and safety of our campus community.

Our plans will continue to be informed by orders and guidance from the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York State and the federal government, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Our knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 virus will continue to evolve. Policies and plans will be updated as appropriate as new or additional information becomes available. The most up-to-date information for the campus community will always be posted at

Return to Campus Research

As conveyed in the return to campus guidance released on May 21, 2020, identified research faculty and staff needing to continue their research in on-campus laboratories may return to campus in Phase One starting June 3.

For updated information from Syracuse University Human Resources, see the Return to Campus Plan for Faculty and Staff. Please review this information for general Health and Safety Guidance and Protocols; Workplace Distancing Guidance and Protocols; and COVID-19 Symptoms, Risks and Procedures.

Environmental Health and Safety Services (EHSS) has coordinated with the Office of Research to provide Return to Research Guidance for campus use. Please utilize this document in planning for safe re-occupancy of laboratories. This document aligns with the Return to Campus Plan for Faculty and Staff and is intended to provide more guidance for on-campus research activities.

Return to Research Guidance

The success of the Return to Campus Research Plan depends on each researcher placing the safety of themselves and the people around them first, while conducting their research. All researchers are expected to fully comply with the policies, protocols and guidelines outlined in this document.

All returning laboratory researchers are asked to review the Return-to-Research Guidance, and complete and submit the Return to Research Guidance Commitment Form. EHSS will track submissions of the Commitment Form, and PIs will be able to verify completion of the “Commitment” for each lab member using their online My Laboratory Profile.

PPE and Cleaning in Labs

  • The guidance on face masks and coverings was clarified by the University on June 2 and is reflected in the updated guidance document.
  • Face masks will be provided to faculty, staff, and students when they return to campus. 
  • Hand sanitizer and disinfecting supplies will also be available. If you have an immediate need for a face mask or disinfecting supplies, please contact EHSS at  
  • More information on PPE and Cleaning in labs is found in the Return to Research Guidance.

Human Subjects Research

Specific Country Prohibitions: The University’s existing prohibition on University-sponsored travel to any CDC Level-3 international destination remains in place. We recognize that in some extraordinary circumstances, it may be highly problematic for some faculty to cancel or postpone travel to an otherwise prohibited international destination. For that reason, faculty may submit an appeal, in coordination with their dean, directly to the interim vice president for research. The VPR will make a recommendation to the provost, who is responsible for making the final determination and notifying both the traveler and the relevant dean. Please utilize the process below for essential travel.

Non-Essential Travel: The University’s existing prohibition on non-essential, University-sponsored travel remains in place. We continue to encourage faculty and staff to cancel or postpone any planned or proposed non-essential travel. Until further notice, travel to attend professional or educational conferences is defined as non-essential.

Travel Deemed Essential for an Academic or Business Purpose: Syracuse University has eased existing restrictions on travel deemed essential to an academic or business purpose of the University.

For faculty, researchers, postdoctoral scholars and graduate students, essential travel is defined as travel required to:

  • preserve the safety of a research subject and cannot be postponed; or
  • preserve the continuity and results of a research activity and cannot be postponed.

For the purposes of this guidance, researchers who are traveling more than 100 miles from Syracuse, NY within the context of their research responsibilities are considered to be on Syracuse University Travel. Please see the Syracuse University Travel Safety Policy for more guidance.

For faculty, researchers, postdoctoral scholars and graduate students, travel to attend professional or educational conferences is defined as non-essential. Faculty, researchers, postdoctoral scholars and graduate students with questions about whether specific proposed travel is essential, or those seeking approval to engage in essential travel, should confer first with their department chairs.

Submit your application for Approval for Essential Research Travel, allowing at least 5 business days for such approvals. Deans (or dean’s designees) will make a recommendation as to the essential nature of the travel request and forward that recommendation to the interim vice president for research. The VPR will make the final determination and notify both the traveler and the dean or department chair making the request.

Once approved, research travel by a faculty member, researcher, postdoctoral scholar, or graduate student must be registered on the University travel registry system prior to the commencement of the trip. Researchers must apply for approval and register for each unique trip, even if the trips are repeated at regular intervals.

After you return to Syracuse following travel, researchers must follow any state guidance on quarantining before coming back to the university campus.

See full University travel guidance here.

Please see the Essential Research Travel Guidance for more guidelines.

Visiting Scholars Guidance

As part of the numerous health and safety precaution efforts undertaken by Syracuse University since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, University researchers and administrators seeking to host a visiting scholar must complete a Visiting Scholar Request. Visiting scholars are those who are coming to Syracuse University campus from outside of the Central New York region for the purpose of long-term academic research, and will remain on campus for longer than three days. Please visit for more information.

Service Provider, Vendor and Visitor Access to Campus

Service provider, vendor and visitor access to campus will be restricted during the fall semester to support the University’s efforts to provide a safe and healthy campus. Service providers, vendors and individuals conducting business with a University office/department must only be allowed to access University buildings, when necessary, to provide essential support for University operations. Their access must be approved in advance by the relevant dean, director or unit leader (or their designee).

To learn more, visit the Environmental Health and Safety website.

Return to Research FAQs

Syracuse University requires face masks or face coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus, in the presence of others, in public settings, indoors and outdoors.

More information can be found on the Human Resources Return to Campus FAQs.

It is understandable to be cautious about returning to work on campus. The University has taken a number of health and safety measures for the safety of the campus community’s return to campus, including creating a phased in approach, providing additional communications, and offering face masks and other personal protective equipment. Once it has been deemed safe to return to working on campus, staff will be expected to report to work as directed.

If staff have additional concerns, they should discuss those concerns with their supervisor or contact HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042 or by email at Please see more information on the HR Return to Campus FAQs.

Graduate students should contact Gabrielle Chapman, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, at

All faculty, staff and students are required to abide by all conditions of the New York State (NYS) COVID-19 Travel Advisory (“guidance”), including the need to self-quarantine for travelers who were out-of-state for more than 24 hours.

Essential Research Travel FAQs

After you return to Syracuse following travel, researchers must follow any state guidance on quarantining before coming back to the university campus.