Coronavirus Information and Campus Updates
Please refer to this website for the most up-to-date information.
March 27, 2020
Dear Members of the Campus Community,
I write today with the difficult news that we have made the decision to postpone Commencement. We have made this decision in the best interest of the health and safety of our campus community, and that of our graduates’ families and friends.
In a special message sent to the Class of 2020 earlier today, I made a commitment to the class that Fisher will celebrate their individual achievements and collective successes at a time when it is safe for us to do so.
I share in the disappointment of this news, not just with our soon-to-be graduates and their families, but also with all members of the campus community who look forward to seeing our students experience the distinction of receiving their diplomas.
As I told them in my message, I am proud of the way our students have responded to these unexpected circumstances and am grateful for their understanding and positive spirit. The Class of 2020 will remain a special one to us when we look back at this unprecedented time in our history.
My thanks to all who have played a role in Commencement planning to this point. I look forward to being able to celebrate our newest graduates soon.
Gerard J. Rooney, Ph.D.
March 25, 2020
We have received some questions following yesterday’s announcement regarding the first positive case of coronavirus for one of our students. While we understand the heightened level of concern, we must balance the need to protect the student’s privacy with the appropriate sharing of actionable information.
Given the information we have, the College has notified those who may have been in contact with the student on March 12. Please note, we cannot confirm all of the campus spaces where the student may have been, nor all of the individuals with whom the student may have been in contact with – either on- or off-campus. Therefore, even though this is our first positive case, we should all continue to practice the guidelines being given to us by the Centers for Disease Control and the Monroe County Health Department. These are the surest ways for all of us to be as safe as possible.
Should we learn of any additional confirmed cases among members of our campus community in the next two weeks, we will implement the same process and notify individuals who we are able to identify who may be at risk.
To reiterate Dr. Rooney’s message from yesterday, as COVID-19 community transmissions continue to spread, we must recognize that we are all at risk to exposure. Please remember to be vigilant and follow all guidelines offered for our collective safety. Per the CDC and the Monroe County Health Department, if you think you have been exposed and you develop a fever and symptoms (dry cough, difficulty breathing, generalized aches and pains), call your health care provider immediately for medical advice.
March 24, 2020
Dear Members of the Fisher Community,
Earlier today, we learned that a St. John Fisher College student has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We have been in touch with the student, who is doing well and remains quarantined at home (Downstate New York), to share our community’s well wishes for a full recovery. In addition, we have notified the Monroe County Department of Public Health regarding this development.
As COVID-19 community transmissions continue to spread, all communities will be impacted. This impact is closer to home for us since it involves one of our own. We will continue to partner with the Health Department to provide information and necessary updates to the campus.
The College has taken many steps and precautionary measures to put the health of our campus community first. Despite these efforts, we recognize that all of us may be at risk to exposure. Please remember to be vigilant and follow all guidelines offered for our collective safety.
Per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the Monroe County Health Department if you think you have been exposed and you develop a fever and symptoms (dry cough, difficulty breathing, generalized aches and pains), call your health care provider immediately for medical advice.
I want to remind you to stay smart, stay home, and practice safe social distancing. Please keep our student and all of our community in your thoughts and prayers at this time. I am thinking of you and your families, and wish you the best. Once again, I appreciate the cooperation and patience of all as we continue to navigate this together.
Gerard J. Rooney
March 19, 2020
Thank you, once again, for your patience and understanding as we all transition to working and learning remotely. The entire campus community has come together to support each other during this time of uncertainty, and it is much appreciated by all.
We wanted to provide you with some updates and tips as we head into next week.
Health and Wellness Center
The Health and Wellness Center has suspended the delivery of student medications to the campus. Any remaining medications held at the center were mailed out to students' home address on Tuesday, March 17. Students who were utilizing Wegmans Fairport Road pharmacy for their prescriptions have been directed to contact the pharmacy directly to arrange for a transfer back to their home pharmacy. Fisher's counseling team is continuing to reach out to students receiving services via email.
Finally, the Center continues to post resources and information via @fisherhealth on Instagram and Twitter.
New Resource in Blackboard
A "Transitioning to Online Learning: Student Resources" course is now available to all students and faculty when you enter Blackboard. Useful information about the technological tools, study skills, and online course etiquette are posted to aid your transition to a virtual environment. We encourage you to review these resources prior to the start of online instruction on Monday, March 23.
Health Plan Information
St. John Fisher College is implementing changes to our health plan to assure those enrolled in our plan have access to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic testing. While the NYS health insurance mandates do not apply to our self-insured health plan, the College is implementing them to help maintain the health of our employees during this difficult time.
Effective immediately, all College health plans (EPO, Hybrid, and High Deductible plans) will implement the following benefit changes, which will remain in effect until further notice:
- Coverage of medically necessary diagnostic tests that are consistent with CDC guidance related to COVID-19 at no cost share to the member.
- Prior authorizations will be waived for diagnostic tests and for covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with CDC guidance for members diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Members will have coverage with no out-of-pocket expense to them, for in-network provider office visits, in-network urgent care visits and emergency room visits resulting in testing for COVID-19. If an in-network provider is not available, the Health Plan will cover testing at an out-of-network provider with no out-of-pocket expense to the member.
- Members enrolled in the high deductible health plan (HDHP) will not be responsible for copayments, coinsurance and deductibles for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)-related testing even if the deductible has not been met. This also means members enrolled in the HDHP may continue to contribute to the health savings account (HSA).
- During the state of emergency, all telemedicine visits will be covered in full. Members will have no cost share.
We have developed new payroll guidelines and pay codes.
As a reminder, per federal and state recommendations, all have been asked to work and learn remotely. All buildings are being secured and access to campus is restricted. Fisher security officers will be actively monitoring campus and will approach and ID anyone who does come to campus.
Support and Tips for Monday
3 tips for faculty and students as we transition courses online:
- STICK WITH THE BASICS. Faculty have been provided with online technology training sessions as described on the Faculty Resources page. They provide basic capabilities for faculty who are instructing online for the first time. Instructors have been asked to keep things simple and to focus on the essential skills for online course delivery, which include posting course materials, facilitating online discussions and collecting and grading student assignments. Students will be better served in the current environment by providing clear instructions, well organized course materials, and prompt feedback to any questions and concerns they have.
- PATIENCE AND EMPATHY for yourself and each other. During this unprecedented time, the first point of business in classes next week should be focused on our collective health and wellness during this stressful situation and not the next chapter we have to cover or the upcoming exam. While the academic experience will continue, we all have to accept that it will not continue in the exact way we had planned at the start of the semester. The message we want to send as classes resume next week is that faculty and College support staff will work with students through whatever obstacles they may be facing at this time to help them complete their coursework.
- TECHNOLOGICAL EXPECTATIONS. While we have many great technology platforms to support high quality online learning experience, each and every one of them is now being used by a growing number of K12 students, colleges, and universities across the country. We have been in close contact with all of our vendors to ensure we have scaled our infrastructure to support the additional usage that we expect to see in the coming weeks. However, we realize that these technology platforms will be tested in a way they have never been tested before and may have performance issues that are beyond our control. Faculty are encouraged to consider course design strategies that do not rely solely on the most intensive technological infrastructure, like video, and to create backup plans in case technology performance becomes an issue.
As there are more updates to share regarding the coronavirus impact, we will so on Thursdays, or more frequently as needed, from Fisher Alert. Classes will resume online on Monday, March 23, and we look forward to having everyone back together again – even if it's virtually.
Stay healthy and be well.
March 16, 2020
In light of the most recent announcements by the White House and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) around social gathering recommendations, we have made the decision to continue with online instruction through the end of the semester, beginning Monday, March 23.
- With this change, the course withdrawal deadline has been moved to Friday, April 3.
- Course registration for fall will begin as scheduled on Monday, March 30.
- Advising resources will be forthcoming from the provost.
The Office of Residential Life will provide further instructions directly to resident students by email today regarding how and when to pick up remaining belongings and check out.
We are working on policies to issue refunds and/or credits for room and board charges and we will share those details with students and families as soon as they become available.
We will provide an update about Commencement no later than Friday, April 3.
Work From Home Policy Reminder
All faculty and staff are approaching this week as a week of transition and as a preparatory week for a work from home period beginning Monday, March 23 through Friday, April 3. Supervisors will be in touch with employees whose on-campus presence is required.
During this timeframe, pay will continue as normal and employees will not be asked to use paid absence or vacation days. Information from the Office of Human Resources regarding timesheets, etc. is forthcoming.
Campus Services Update
For updates from Lavery Library, Athletic Center, the Health and Wellness Center, tutoring, and other campus services, visit the Coronavirus FAQ section for this information.
Community Mitigation: Do Your Part
As we are seeing community spread, we know our students are active in the community at a variety of organizations, nursing homes, etc. If you are a student who is concerned that you may have been at a site that may have had exposure to the coronavirus, we encourage you to call the Monroe County Department of Health to report your activity and potential symptoms at (585) 753-5555. You can also continue to refer to the Monroe County website for the most recent developments.
Monitoring Campus News, Announcements, Emails
During this time, it is imperative that you watch your Fisher email for further direction and updates.
Pending any additional breaking updates, we will work to provide the campus with weekly updates every Thursday moving forward. Thank you for your continuing cooperation, patience, and understanding as we work together to keep our community healthy and safe. For the most recent information, refer to this page.
March 15, 2020
As you are likely aware, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello declared a county-wide state of emergency this morning and subsequently closed all K-12 schools in Monroe County. The Steering Committee of the College’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) met with members of the administration shortly thereafter to continue to evaluate our response and plan next steps.
Our goal is to do our part to mitigate community transmission. With this in mind, all faculty and staff should approach this week as a week of transition and as a preparatory week for a work from home period beginning Monday, March 23 through Friday, April 3, at which point we will reevaluate this plan. The goal will be to prepare people for this period as soon as possible. If your childcare has been impacted by the county-wide school closure or other reason, please be in touch with your individual supervisor/department chair. In addition, we are asking all employees to be sure their contact information is updated in Fish 'R' Net, under the Personal Information section. We want to reassure you - pay will continue as normal and employees will not be asked to use paid absence or vacation days.
By way of update, almost all of our residential students have vacated the residence halls and returned home. Today, 90 students remain, the majority of whom are resident assistants who we have asked to stay until all other students are able to leave. Earlier, we provided a bus to 26 students to return home to the New York City area. Residence halls will close at 6 p.m. tonight; however, we will have 23 students still with us on campus who had extenuating circumstances. To clarify, the dining hall will provide dinner for students who remain on campus, and Cyber Cafe will operate using modified hours of Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Late last week, with the increased number of global level 3 travel alerts issued by the CDC, the American Institute of Foreign Study (AIFS), one of our global education partners, suspended all European programs immediately and began the process of bringing students home. We continue to be in communication with those students and their families.
Finally, we have had some questions about the Emergency Response Team. In this instance, the ERT Steering Committee includes Dr. Matha Thornton, vice president for student affairs and dean of students; Dr. Eileen Lynd-Balta, associate provost; Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing; Dave DiCaro, director of safety and security; and Kate Torok, director of marketing and communications. For additional information about the roles and responsibilities of the ERT, you review the Emergency Response Team Handbook.
Any and all updates regarding College operations will be communicated to you directly from the ERT (email@example.com) or the Office of the President.
We want to acknowledge that you - our faculty and staff - are the College's greatest asset. We recognize that your first priority is your health and the health of your family, and we assure you that we will take care of our community. We appreciate the many ways in which everyone has come together to make plans to continue to deliver a Fisher education to our students during this dynamic and rapidly changing situation.
Thank you for your continuing cooperation, patience, and understanding as we work together to keep our community healthy and safe.
March 13, 2020
Although next week is being used as a time of transition for the entire College, Fisher remains open with modified procedures.
In an effort to mitigate community transmission of the coronavirus, beginning Monday, March 16, all faculty and staff will need to use their cards to swipe into all buildings. If you don’t have swipe access, or if you are not sure, please visit or call the Office of Safety and Security (x. 8025) and they can help you.
Below is an update on campus service modifications. Students will receive updates about Fisher Dining, Center for Career and Academic Planning, Writing and Tutoring Center, Athletic Center, and Lavery Library services.
Lavery Library will hold regular hours through Saturday at 6 p.m. After that time, faculty and staff can access the library Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., but will need their ID card for swipe access. Consultation will be made available by appointment. Other items of note:
- Books - Library staff will renew books until they can be returned.
- Remote support for Faculty and Students - Information can be found on the Library Emergency Remote Support website.
- Course Reserves - Let the library staff know what you need and they will do their best to digitize those items. Fair Use/Copyright has been greatly expanded during the emergency.
Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Athletic Center
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Athletic Center will operate with the following modified schedule:
- Monday through Thursday: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Friday: 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Writing and Tutoring Center
Tutoring will take place online rather than in-person. Students will still be able to request assistance using the "raise a hand" function in FisherLink, which will connect them with a tutor and a decision will be made as to what the best connection will be (ie. phone, skype, email).
Center for Career and Academic Planning (CCAP)
For Friday, March 13, CCAP has opened up appointment calendars on FisherLink to see as many students as possible before leaving campus. After March 13, students can still make appointments through FisherLink that will be held by email, phone, or skype.
Accessibility Services will be available on Friday, March 13. After March 13, students can contact Joy Breeden through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (585) 385-7272 for support questions as they continue their studies online.
Students seeking help with résumés, cover letters, job/internship search, interview prep and other topics directly related to career readiness can make appointments via FisherLink, or they can directly email email@example.com to ask for help from Tracy Sullivan, Jamie Canfield, or Julia Overton-Healy. Support will be provided by phone, email, and skype. Questions regarding Career Accelerator Awards should be directed to Julia Overton-Healy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ward-Haffey Dining Hall will not be open after Sunday, but the Cyber Café will remain open, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Social Distancing Policy
The College has adopted a social distancing policy, outlined below:
- Minimize the need for group meetings;
- In person group meetings should be no larger than 25. Recommend using ZOOM;
- Hold in-person group meetings in large venues to allow 3-foot spacing between people.
Don't forget to visit the Faculty Resources page on the website. More information is forthcoming about additional training that will be made available.
Finally, as a reminder, if you have not yet received a flu shot, you are encouraged to do so. If you are sick, please stay home.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this time of temporary transition.