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Event Health & Safety Guidelines - Fall 2020/ Spring 2021


Below are updated guidelines for fall 2020 organizational activity and event planning. These guidelines are developed and grounded in current and changing state, federal and CDC guidance and mandates. This document will be updated as new federal, state and University policy and guidance are updated. Whenever possible, the University will make every effort to notify the appropriate organizational leaders of policy changes. The Office of Student Life, Student Centers , Department of Student Engagement & Activities and program advisors are here to support you and your organization’s activities.

COVID Context:

To mitigate the risks surrounding COVID-19, event organizers should think critically and creatively about how to accomplish their goals while prioritizing health and safety for all students, faculty and staff. Event organizers should work to incorporate opportunities that are accessible for all members of the community, such as hybrid meetings/events where students, faculty and staff can participate both in-person and virtually. The COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to impact how Seawolves experience daily life. We have a shared commitment to a community of care and ensuring we have a safe and vibrant campus life this semester. 

Expectations & Shared Responsibility :

All organizations are required to comply and adhere to all University policies, procedures, and regulations, along with local, state, and federal law, including executive orders. It is important that you and your membership review and understand our COVID-19 PANDEMIC HEALTH & SAFETY POLICY.  

Additionally, please keep in mind that Event Organizers assume responsibility for the activities of the department/organization and the event. We are counting on our Event Organizers to role model and reinforce expectations around wearing face masks, practicing physical distancing, maintaining limits on social gatherings, and upholding off-campus behavioral expectations. As we have seen on other college campuses, off-campus parties and social events have caused super-spreading of COVID-19 among many students, resulting in campus shutdowns and a return to fully remote learning. Ultimately, it's up to all of us to do our part to share in the responsibility of caring for the welfare of our community.

General Guidelines: 

All students, faculty, and staff are required to comply with the measures described in the University Policy P626: COVID-19 Pandemic Health and Safety Policy , New York State Executive Orders , and NY Forward Higher Education Guidance . Failure to comply may result in individual and/or organizational conduct action.

Face-to-face activities must limit attendance to the adjusted social distancing room capacities which can be found on 25 Live. Attendance cannot exceed 50 people for any organizational activity taking place in indoor spaces. 

Additional restrictions have been placed on external speakers and vendors (i.e., travel from NYS quarantine states and territories) and may require prior University approval.

The use of vendors from a state listed on the New York State Travel Advisory , which requires individuals who have traveled to New York from those states or territories to quarantine for 14 days, for in person activities or services that require the vendor to be on-site is not permitted. 

Event attendees must adhere to physical distancing guidelines and wear face coverings that cover their nose and mouth at all times.


Food Service Restrictions Meetings & Events:

While person-to-person spread of COVID is most common (through coughing, sneezing or talking at close distances), the CDC acknowledges the risks of individuals touching food or food packaging then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes. To minimize the risk of transmitting the virus at events where food would normally be served, Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), and the Faculty Student Association (FSA) are providing this guidance during the pandemic:

Please do not serve food at events and other gatherings unless absolutely necessary as part of a program, or for longer duration events.

If you do need to provide food at an event or gathering, Campus Dining CulinArt Catering Services must be utilized. EH&S has worked closely with Culinart, following guidance from the CDC and NYS Department of Health, to create safe service procedures that take advantage of centralized preparation space and minimal travel and handling on campus Until further notice, Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) will not approve food permits for events using outside caterers.

Event Organizers wishing to have food at an event must follow all Food Safety Policies as determined by Environmental Health and Safety.   When food is served at an event, adequate seating that’s appropriately spaced to allow for physical distancing while eating must be provided. Attendees must be seated while eating or drinking at events and can only remove face coverings when seated and are actively eating/drinking. Common source and home-prepared food is prohibited until further notice at all events.

Some programming venues which previously allowed food may restrict food due to new sanitation guidelines and staffing levels.

Food is not permitted in meeting rooms due to new sanitation guidelines and staffing levels.

For more information, please visit Food and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) .


Meetings Guidelines & Requirements:

The number of spaces available for face-to-face meetings and events has been restricted to areas of the campus that can safely accommodate such activity, and room capacities have been reduced to ensure appropriate social distancing. 

Accordingly, in-person activities and events are permitted where space allows and capacities can be safely managed. Event Organizers are encouraged to host virtual and hybrid meetings in order to be inclusive of students who live on-campus, off-campus and across various time zones. 

The following parameters have been put in place for student organization meetings and gatherings for the fall 2020 term:

Space requests for in-person meetings must be submitted on 25Live.

For all face-to-face meetings, attendees must adhere to physical distancing guidelines and wear face coverings that cover their nose and mouth throughout the duration of the meeting. 

In person meetings will be scheduled according to new time vectors in order to reduce density in high traffic areas. In order to optimize the availability of space for as many groups as possible, meetings may not exceed 60 minutes.

Portable Multimedia Kits will not be available in SAC third floor rooms.

In person meetings must adhere to the adjusted COVID-19 capacities defined by the University; these capacities are subject to change pending updates to NYS executive orders and vary by space.

Attendance must be taken at all face-to-face meetings and events.  Event Organizers are required record attendance via Event Pass and Mobile Check-In via SB Engaged; a touchless check-in experience or a Google Doc. Instructions for Event Pass can be found here.

Hand sanitizer will be located in or just outside meeting rooms. Please reference the Stony Brook University Facilities Reopening Plan for complete information on Custodial Cleaning and Disinfecting protocols employed in campus facilities. 

Event Guidelines & Requirements:

In some instances, where space allows and capacities can be managed, in person events may be permitted. However, room access and capacity is severely limited in comparison to years past. The following parameters have been put in place regarding events for the fall 2020 term:

In person events must adhere to the adjusted COVID-19 capacities defined by the University; these capacities are subject to change pending updates to NYS executive orders and vary by space.

Programming spaces will be able to accommodate two events per day; requests for a space in which a reservation already exists will be denied.

Attendance must be taken at all face-to-face meetings and events. Event Organizers are required record attendance via Event Pass and Mobile Check-In via SB Engaged; a touchless check-in experience or a Google Sheet. Instructions for Event Pass can be found here . Event Organizers may be called upon by the university or Department of Health to provide this information in the event of exposure.

Each event must have one designated safety officer in addition to the Event Organizer/Coordinator. The safety officer will be responsible for planning, implementing and enforcing health and safety protocols, including crowd and traffic control, line queueing, sanitation, capacity limits, social distancing and facial coverings. 

Organizations with inter/national event and risk management policies must abide by the stricter policy. If your organization is sponsored by, affiliated with, or supported by a Stony Brook department, communicate with them regularly and follow any additional guidelines they have in place.

Events that encourage attendees to gather closely together or touch shared objects such as inflatables, carnival rides, and games are prohibited until further notice.

Performance Group Activities Guidelines & Requirements: 

Two principles help shape performance group activities this fall. First, the New York State Guidelines for Sports and Recreation classify competitive and group dance as higher-risk activities. Second, the Stony Brook University Music Department has moved rehearsal and performances for all group ensembles (e.g., jazz, orchestra) online. We await the full findings from the International Performing Arts Aerosol Study , which was undertaken because research has demonstrated that a erosol generating activities have the potential to transmit COVID. Using these waypoints, Stony Brook University guidance for performance groups model the framework established by New York State for Sports and Recreation. 

Performance groups will be classified into higher-risk, moderate-risk and lower-risk levels.

Allowable activities by risk level will generally include:

Higher Risk Activities - Individual practice or rehearsal; controlled/organized no contact, distanced small group practice and rehearsal.

Lower & Moderate Risk Activities - Individual practice and rehearsal performances; organized no contact, distanced group practice and rehearsal; individual or small group performances. 

Performance groups must identify a Safety Officer to plan and coordinate health and safety requirements.

Performance groups must submit a proposal to their event schedulers which details the activities as well as the strict health and safety protocols that will be followed.

SBU Policy P626 requires that facial coverings “must be worn at all times in all buildings .... When outdoors, individuals should maintain a distance of at least six feet from other individuals and use a facial covering when social distancing is not possible.” 

Space available for rehearsal and performance is significantly limited this term.

For further information or organizational specific questions please discuss with your event schedulers.


Tabling Guidelines & Requirements: 

Limited tabling is permitted in predetermined areas by the University as long as tabling events meet all safety guidelines

No more than two people may staff a table at a time to maintain appropriate social distancing. 

SBU Policy P626 requires that facial coverings “must be worn at all times in all buildings .... When outdoors, individuals should maintain a distance of at least six feet from other individuals and use a facial covering when social distancing is not possible.” 

Organizations should provide hand sanitizer for use of those attending the tabling event, as well as organization members staffing the table. Points of contact should be limited as much as possible (i.e. giveaways, fliers, handouts, using a shared computer, paper sign up, pens, etc). Additional considerations include:

Consider wearing gloves when handing out giveaways.

Giveaways should not be taken back after given to another individual.

Use QR codes, webforms, SBEngaged, Event Check In app or other tools for individuals to use their own devices to sign up to receive more information.


Best Practices :

Virtual meetings, events, & gatherings are the most inclusive, lowest risk activities & should be prioritized.

Whenever possible and weather-permitting, consider outdoor spaces for organizational activities. Smaller outdoor events, in which individuals remain at least six feet apart, wear facial coverings, and do not share objects present a lower risk of transmission.

Think critically about whether or not an in-person event is really necessary to fulfill your organization’s goals.

Make remote/virtual participation available whenever possible. 

  Frequently Asked Questions :


What do I do if someone at my event, meeting, or activity is not complying with university policies or NY Executive orders related facial coverings, social distancing, capacity limits or other health and safety requirements ?

It is critical that all organization leadership, general body members and program participants comply with all health and safety policies and requirements. The following steps should be taken for any non-compliant behavior during all organizational meetings, events and activities.   

Step 1 : The safety officer or a leadership member should politely ask for the participant to comply. 

Step 2 : Politely explain that the event may have to be terminated if any participant is not in compliance.

Step 3 : If the safety officer or leadership member is comfortable, they may calmly request the non-compliant participant to leave the venue.

Step 4 : Contact the Facility and Events Manager on Duty for additional support.


 How will I know if an attendee at my event is exempt from the face mask policy?

Approved students will be provided with a written exemption from the Medical Director of Student Health Services that indicates any modifications or exceptions, which they must carry with them to show if requested. Please note that medical exemptions are rare and are based solely on medical necessity. If a student is exempt from the face mask policy, please consider how to seat participants to ensure proper social distancing within a given setting. If you have questions regarding accommodations, please email 


What do I do if I find out someone who attended my event tested positive for COVID-19? 

If after an event/activity an attendee informs you that they have tested positive for COVID-19, respect their privacy and do not share this information with others. Instead, encourage them to self-report to Student Health Services. Self-reporting is a safe and confidential process and will allow SBU’s Health Team to provide support to those who test positive. It is required that all students, faculty and staff self-report and self-isolate once they receive a positive COVID-19 test result.   

As a reminder students should complete the #CampusClear Health Screener every day they are on campus. If you don’t feel well, stay home and seek medical attention as appropriate.