In mid-March, many employees moved their work locations from various Stony Brook office
settings to work remotely, in accordance with an Executive Order by the New York State
Governor to foster social distancing. As we begin a phased-in approach to returning
employees to their on-site workplace locations — gradually and incrementally, and
with continued telework and staggered workweeks — we’ve set up this
Coming Back Safe and Strong website to help guide you through the various changes as they occur. Whether you’re
returning to the worksite or have been here with us all along, you’ll find critical
current information, an evolving FAQ, the latest guidance on all return-to-workplace
protocols, contact resources and more. Together, we will come back safe and strong.
Human Resources issues update on phased return to workplace
June 5, 2020
Human Resource Services has issued an update on plans surrounding the phased return
to the workplace. The message is signed by Lynn Johnson, Vice President Human Resource
Services, West Campus/HSC/SOM; Colette Brown, Chief Human Resources Officer, Stony
Brook University Hospital; and Denise Muscarella, Director of Human Resources, Long
Island State Veterans Home. It reads as follows:
We hope that you are doing well and that you are enthusiastic about the prospect of
returning to your workplace on campus. Areas throughout campus continue to develop
plans for a phased-in approach to help create a safe return to the workplace, as outlined
by New York State. We are working with our SUNY counterparts and the Governor’s Office
to follow a coordinated and centralized course of action, which is well underway.
At this time, we are still awaiting approval for employees to return to campus. Accordingly,
department heads/supervisors may not authorize the return of remote workers until
that approval is received. A small number of researchers, who were deemed essential
under the Plan for Restarting Research, are now returning with more expected to return
next week and into the coming weeks.
As soon as we have a definitive date for the next wave of remote workers to return,
we will let you know so that you can help plan for a smooth transition to the workplace.
We will also provide employees with required online training, including important
information about the safeguards that are being developed which will allow us to work
together to help create a safe and comfortable return.
Please continue to visit the
University’s Coming Back Safe and Strong website
for ongoing updates and keep current with the
that are frequently updated. Know that the health, safety and well-being of all our
colleagues remains a top priority.
President-Elect McInnis Outlines Preliminary Plans for Return to Campus
June 4, 2020
President-Elect Maurie McInnis has released a detailed message outlining
some initial decisions regarding the resumption of on-campus operations. The message
reads as follows:
I am writing with an update on our planning and some initial decisions regarding the
resumption of on-campus operations in the near term and for the fall semester. I have
also included some initial information regarding fall enrollment and the campus budget.
As noted in my April 28th message, the University’s COVID-19 response
are deeply engaged in developing plans for the months ahead. Their work is guided
by our medical, epidemiological, and local public health experts in concert with the
New York Forward
requirements set forth by New York State and in coordination with SUNY. Throughout
this process, the well-being of our community remains our overriding priority.
I know that we all want certainty about what the fall semester will look like, about
what our lives will look like. Unfortunately, certainty will remain elusive. As the
journal Science recently noted, “The virus acts like no pathogen humanity has ever
seen.” So our planning has to proceed acknowledging this uncertainty and readying
campus to adjust as circumstances change. New York State and Long Island have been
among the most heavily impacted regions, and we must take great care in developing
plans for the fall that take into consideration our location as well as our mission.
Our planning has and will continue to engage our students, staff, and faculty and
our shared governance partners. We have held focus groups, done surveys and engaged
in discussions on a range of topics with members of our community. Recently, with
the input of University Senate leadership, we have added additional faculty representation
to key working groups:
Senior Executive Leadership – Richard Larson
Finance – Axel Drees
Academic Planning – Brenda Anderson and Hanna Nekvasil
DOIT Support Task Force – Keri Hollander
Student Affairs Task Force – Christine Pitocco
Facilities Planning Task Force – Tom Wilson
Additionally, I am in frequent contact with both medical experts and other presidents
throughout the country. Nationwide, universities and colleges are all asking the same
questions. At Stony Brook, I have been especially impressed with the in-depth and
very detailed work of the numerous planning groups as they gather feedback from across
our community. While I won’t detail all of the work they have done here, it has included:
walking classrooms and measuring how many students can safely maintain social distancing
in a room; calculating the number of students enrolled in each time slot so that we
can ensure campus is not too crowded; measuring dining rooms to gauge capacity with
social distancing; and determining locations for plexiglass barriers or layout changes
where staff need to interact more closely with members of the campus community.
Below are some of the high-level decisions that have been made, followed by budget
and enrollment updates, and then more detailed reports from the planning committees.
Ultimately, our decisions regarding the fall semester will be made in conjunction
with state government, SUNY leadership, and the Long Island Control Board in order
to ensure that our decisions align with New York State priorities and guidance.
We will continue to communicate with you in the coming weeks, and there will be a
more detailed note to faculty about fall course planning in the coming days. I also
encourage you to visit our
Coming Back Safe and Strong
site on a regular basis where the FAQs provide more extensive information. It remains
our goal to provide more direction by the end of June. As noted, however, all decisions
about the coming academic year will be made in concert with our state and regional
Finally, thank you for your patience and ongoing support. It is indeed a challenging
time. I have tremendous faith in our community and firmly believe that together we
will overcome the challenges that are ahead of us while we position Stony Brook to
be even stronger and more resilient. Working together we are #StonyBrookStrong.
I am hopeful that each of you and your families stay safe and healthy.
Key Decisions [As of 6/4/20] (Please note that these decisions reflect how we will frame the semester once we
get approval from state and local authorities to reopen.)
The October break will be canceled and most in person classes (with the exception
of allied health experiential learning and clinical placements) will end as of November
21 (before Thanksgiving). The final week of classes and final exams will be done
via remote learning options, and we will contract with a proctor company to ensure
remote testing security.
In an effort to reduce density on campus, we plan to maintain the framework of the
traditional schedule while increasing the time for transition between classes. That
will require scheduling a greater number of classes from 8 AM – 9 PM across five and,
in rare instances, six days a week.
Courses will exist in a combination of online, hybrid, and in-person.
Large courses will need to be taught online.
For classes that move to remote learning, faculty should consider doing face to face
In-person courses will be scheduled in rooms that are large enough to accommodate
appropriate social distancing.
Masks on Campus
There will be an expectation that all members of the campus community will wear masks
We will make masks available to all students, staff and faculty.
We are working with the Long Island Control Board to determine when a phased return
to research may begin.
We expect to be able to bring back health researchers first and then gradually bring
back other researchers as Long Island moves through the phases of reopening. Labs
must meet our new safety protocols.
We will offer singles and doubles only. We will not offer triples.
We will hold some of our rooms for quarantine and isolation purposes
The University budget is dependent in large measure on a number of factors including
an allocation from the State of New York and tuition and fees as established by the
SUNY Board of Trustees. Our budget, like those of colleges and universities nationwide,
is under stress due to both loss of revenue and additional costs incurred by the campus
response to SARS-CoV-2. It will be further stressed by New York State’s budget challenges.
We have been told to expect cuts to the overall SUNY allocation but do not yet know
the extent of those cuts. We also do not know the level of tuition and fees for the
upcoming year. Finally, we know that it will be difficult for many of our international
students to get to campus in the fall, but we do not know how many fewer out-of-state
students will be able to enroll. Even with those areas of uncertainty, we do know
that we will need to be strategic in our spending and that we will need to work together
as a community to respond to the fiscal challenges. Accordingly, I am working with
leadership to develop a strategic budget process that will include faculty leadership
and campus engagement. I will announce that process once we have more clarity on our
Total fall undergraduate transfer and first year deposits are running ahead of last
year, although there will be more in-state students, and fewer out-of-state and international
students, than in the past. Summer enrollment is up by about 15%. This is a testament
to your hard work and Stony Brook’s quality and reputation.
Key Committee Highlights
Health and Safety Committee
Working with our hospital partners as well as state and local health departments,
we are building our campus capacity for robust testing.
We will enhance our existing system and multi-disciplinary team to intake, screen,
advise and trace members of the campus community when they become ill or test positive
Developing training and an app and process around regular symptom assessment and temperature
checking for members of the campus community.
Research Task Force
Worked with the Faculty Advisory Group to hold focus groups with deans, chairs and
Developed a robust
that sets forth a process for determining priority areas of research for a safe return
to our labs, studios and field research locations.
Coordinated with the Facilities Group to determine the role of building managers in
preparing the labs for returning researchers.
Return to Work Task Force
Worked closely with all of the Planning Groups to develop a
that will guide our efforts to welcome our faculty and staff back to campus utilizing
enhanced cleaning protocols, masks, appropriate health screening and changes to facilities
Developed the COVID Health/HR Information Line.
Distributed campus wide messaging outlining the principles around return and developed
Sent campus wide email outlining the principles around return and developed set of
Academic Planning Task Force
Conducted faculty focus groups to Working through a variety of scenarios regarding
class size, calendar and timing to be considered for the fall semester.gather perspectives
on perceptions of remote instruction and faculty needs and concerns for the upcoming
Analyzing input solicited by Interim President Bernstein from the campus community.
Analyzing data from a survey of graduate students and a survey of undergraduate students
regarding the fall semester.
Student Affairs Task Force
Finalizing proposed staggered move-in schedule for resident students.
Developing isolation/quarantine locations and protocols for COVID-19 positive and
other impacted residents.
Working on student event protocols.
Met with the Student Advisory Council to get insight into our change to a remote learning
environment. The Task Force will continue to work with this group and the elected
student leaders as it develops options and plans related to student health & safety,
campus residences, student life and campus climate and community building.
The Faculty Student Association is collaborating with their vendors and partners to
reevaluate food service areas, seating, menu options and overall processes to safely
provide for our campus community within existing and expanded spaces.
Assessed all classrooms and developed a draft plan regarding classroom utilization
for proper social distancing.
Developed protocols for custodial support and working on enhancing HVAC systems.
Developed zone structure to help with management of campus buildings in concert with
building and lab managers.
Developing draft signage and reconfigured walking traffic flow options along with
other engineering controls.
Marketing and Communications
Developed, and continually updating,
Coming Back Safe and Strong
Developed branded signage for use across campus.
Created branded #StonyBrookStrong face masks.
Exploring the development of a face mask awareness campaign.
Developing PSA video on infection control guidelines.
Human Resources Issues Message on Planning Surrounding Phased Return to Workplace
May 26, 2020
Human Resources has released updated information on planning surrounding a phased
return to the workplace. The message is signed by Lynn Johnson, Vice President Human
Resource Services, West Campus/HSC/SOM; Colette Brown, Chief Human Resources Officer,
Stony Brook University Hospital; and Denise Muscarella, Director of Human Resources,
LISVH. The message reads as follows:
Dr. Bernstein noted in his message of May 14, “as we wait for Suffolk County to reach
the New York State reopening benchmarks, we are assessing possible plans for the safe
return to our campuses for those who have been working off-site. In developing a course
of action, the health and safety of all our colleagues continue to be our highest
The planning to return employees to the workplace is well underway and will detail
a carefully phased return. Additionally, an online training program will be provided
to employees with important information about the safeguards that are being put in
place to help us work together to create a safe and comfortable return to the workplace.
The training program will include details around the following workplace safeguards:
- The phased approach to a gradual and incremental return to the workplace.
- The implementation of proper social distancing measures (at least six feet apart)
- Cleaning and decontamination plans for buildings and workspaces
- Requirements related to face coverings and/or additional Personal Protective Equipment
(PPE) as appropriate
- Directional guidance on safe foot traffic within offices, elevators, stairwells, and
other shared spaces;
- Tools to conduct daily monitoring of employees’ temperatures and other relevant symptoms.
While we don’t yet know the exact date on which we will begin our phased approach
to returning employees to the workplace, we will provide employees with as much notice
as possible to help them make any needed arrangements for a smooth transition back
to the workplace.
We have also developed an FAQ page on the University’s new Coming Back Safe and Strong
for ongoing updates.
We look forward to colleagues returning to campus and thank everyone for their continued
dedicated service to our students, patients and Stony Brook University/Long Island
State Veterans Home community.
More updates >