COVID Reopening Guidance
TO: SA Chartered Organizations
FROM: Maggie Koekkoek, Executive Vice President
SUBJECT: Fall update & COVID reopening guidance for SA chartered organizations
July 2, 2020
I have been working with many University officials and have some updates on how our student organizations will be operating in the fall. I still do not have all the answers, but hopefully the points I’ve listed below will bring some clarity and help you begin to prepare for the fall semester:
Virtual versus in-person events: While current plans indicate that socially distanced in-person activity will be able to resume, we still encourage all groups to plan to conduct most of their activity in a virtual format out of an abundance of caution. As New York and the Southern Tier continue to reopen, attendance and capacity restrictions for events may be subject to change, thus potentially increasing or decreasing the options available to your organization for in-person meetings and events. If/when that happens, organizations will be welcome to change their virtual plans to in-person gatherings provided the organizers have a plan to meet all current safety guidelines at the time of their event. Due to the constantly changing situation, updated guidance will be released as we get closer to the fall semester and have a more concrete idea of what campus life and any corresponding social restrictions will be. Guidelines as they exist now are below for your reference to aid in planning and preparing for both virtual and in-person activity for the fall. My office will be here to help and will be sending out further advice as to how to do this effectively for your club.
Definition of proper social distancing guidelines: There must be 36 square feet of distance between each person (6 feet in all directions). “Anyone in a Binghamton University (or University affiliated) space (including buildings, grounds, shared laboratory areas, conference rooms, restrooms, elevators, parking structures, etc.) must wear a face covering or mask that covers both nose and mouth at all times, except when alone in a private room, private office, private vehicle, cubicle space when appropriate social distancing can be maintained, when in a more isolated area with no other people in proximity, or when exercising outside when appropriate social distancing can be maintained.” (University policy).
General event policy: All in-person events will have a very strict approval process. Every single in-person gathering must be approved on B-Engaged. If you are reserving a room for any gathering, it must be approved on B-Engaged. This includes meetings and rehearsals that you would not usually submit to B-Engaged. All in-person gatherings need to follow proper social distancing guidelines. Events will be rejected on B-Engaged if it is determined that proper social distancing cannot be followed, or that the event could easily be virtual (such as an e-board meeting).
In-person events: There will be no large indoor events this fall. The “events” discussed here should be small-capacity club meetings or gatherings that cannot be done virtually. In-person events must be limited to students, faculty, and staff of Binghamton University with a maximum attendance within the social distancing restrictions in place at that time. Events cannot draw large crowds or encourage community members to travel to campus. It is the responsibility of the meeting organizers to ensure that social distancing is followed at events. Organizations or individuals found to be violating social distancing measures may face consequences from the EVP Office or the Student Conduct Office.
Performances: Performances with audiences will not be permitted. Live-streamed performances where performers are not able to be socially distant or wear masks will also not be permitted. Performances involving vocal projection may end up having harsher social distancing guidelines.
Use of allocated space: Your organizations will have limited access to your allocated space, such as offices, lounges, and storage facilities. However, all proper social distancing guidelines must be followed in office spaces. Lounges should not be used to hold unapproved meetings. Organizations found to be violating the privilege of having allocated space risk losing access to this space for the remainder of the school year.
Use of reservable space: There is currently a process being developed to allow student organizations to reserve rooms and space on campus. More information about this will be coming soon. Space will be much more restricted and limited this year due to many factors, so it will be more difficult to reserve rooms for events. Old Union Hall and the Mandela Room will be unreservable for the entire fall semester.
Budgets: It is anticipated that all SA organizations will still have access to their budgets in the fall. All specifics regarding spending money will come from the VPF office.
SA Recruitment Week: SA Recruitment Week will be held virtually using a new software; updates are to come. This will allow you to recruit new freshmen, similarly to how you would have at U-Fest in the past. The link to sign up for a spot at SA Recruitment Week is here.
NY Regional Reopening Phases: Southern Tier Region is currently in Phase 4, which limits all in-person events and meetings to no more than 50 attendees. As campus has placed visitor restrictions on campus to limit the spread and protect the community, these gatherings must be composed solely of Binghamton University students, faculty, and staff.
Please note that all of the above policies are subject to change if any unforeseen circumstances or new guidance from the state or University arises. Nothing is certain during these times, but as of right now this is the most updated information that I have for you.
If you have any questions regarding planning a specific event for your group, please reach out to Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are looking for general guidance and counseling as to how to run your club this year, please reach out to Emily at email@example.com. If you have policy based questions and clarifications, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow ample response time, as it is the summer and my staff is not working regular hours.
8/12/2020 Update: We are still waiting for the University to share its updated Fall 2020 event approval and space reservation process with us. Once we receive that information we will be sure to both post it here and send it out to all SA Chartered Organizations. Thank you for your continued patience as we work to get this information for you.
This section is still in development and will be updated as soon as the new space reservation process is solidified with the University.
Guidance added 8/10/2020
- All of the following guidelines pertain to ANY event where singing is happening, not just rehearsals. This includes performances, auditions, and all other events.
- Rehearse outside when possible. While weather is still warm, indoor rehearsals will likely not be approved. Inside, open windows and doors and use ventilation strategies such as fans to blow air away from the singer(s).
- When singing is occurring, a distance of 12 feet must be maintained between all people.
- Face masks as well as plastic face shields will be required for any in person activities involving singing.
- Try to rehearse alone or in small groups like sectionals as frequently as possible. Rehearse in shifts or smaller sections, if possible, ideally in separate locations. Consider having a few representatives from each voice part and, if necessary, change the repertoire to accommodate. Your group should be doing primarily virtual rehearsals, with very few in person ones after material is learned.
- Shorten full group in person rehearsal times to about 30 minutes. There is no absolutely “safe” duration for rehearsal, so organizations should do everything they can to limit rehearsals to the shortest possible time period.
- Screen for symptoms, including fever, upper respiratory infection symptoms such as coughing and nasal congestion, loss of smell and taste. Take temperatures of singers prior to entering the rehearsal space. Remember that some infected patients will not have any symptoms.
- Get members of your group who are frequently rehearsing in person together tested for COVID as frequently as possible, ideally weekly. This is only guidance, as we cannot make this a requirement. Testing will be free of charge and conducted on campus throughout the semester for all students.
- Off campus rehearsals and gatherings are not permitted.
- Groups found to be violated these rules are subject to disciplinary action from the EVP office (applicable to all SA clubs who break COVID guidelines, not just a cappella)
(Some wording and all explanations and reasonings taken from “Safer Singing During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: What We Know and What We Don’t” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7330568/)
TO: SA Chartered Organizations
FROM: Maggie Koekkoek, Executive Vice President
SUBJECT: Fall 2020 Guidelines Update
August 10, 2020
I hope that you are all doing well and working on planning a safe and effective semester for your club. I have compiled some further details and clarifications on more specific COVID-19 Reopening guidelines below for you to follow moving forward. For now, I would suggest that you begin to upload events on B-Engaged for the first few weeks of school, especially if there are any events that you plan on spending money on. All events must be approved via B-Engaged before financial prior approvals will be given for the event.
The following guidance was developed using the most current information and guidance and will be modified appropriately as additional information is published by university, local, state, federal, and global public health authorities.
The Student Association is first and foremost concerned about the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and community members and, as such, this guidance is designed to err on the side of caution rather than subject any of our stakeholders and community members to risks beyond those deemed acceptable by the aforementioned authorities. As the risk for community spread becomes more clear in the weeks following students’ return to Binghamton, we hope to be able to relax some of these policies (e.g. Off Campus Activities) in order to more easily facilitate organizational activities.
Event Approval/Room Reservation Process: Your organization should be aiming to have the majority of your events virtually this semester. The process for having an in person event will be extensive. Your group should not be meeting in person regularly. Any virtual event may be uploaded to B-Engaged as usual, with a zoom link attached. All in person events must also first be uploaded onto B-Engaged. My office will be approving and denying events based on safety and necessity to be in person. You will need to fill out a section for each event that asks questions about social distancing, and why the event cannot happen virtually. Every single gathering that occurs on campus must be uploaded to B-Engaged, even if it is the type of gathering that your group does not usually upload or advertise. Once your event is approved on B-Engaged, you may then reserve a room on B-There. You may be contacted by the building manager to discuss the safety of your event.
Contact Tracing via B-Engaged: All gatherings must have attendance tracked on B-Engaged. It is encouraged that you use the RSVP feature for your events, as well as tracking and logging attendance at the event itself. This attendance will be available to your organization as well as administrators.
A cappella/Vocal Organizations: These guidelines will apply to any event where singing takes place, and should be read carefully by all vocal performance organizations.
Off Campus Activities: SA Organizations may not host any event in an off campus location. All events that would usually be hosted in an off campus venue must happen on campus. Very few exceptions may be made for this rule in extenuating circumstances, such as religious services or other events that require a specific off campus location. SA Organizations may however attend local institutions in their official capacity, such as to conduct volunteer work. All distancing guidelines at these off campus locations must be followed.
Office Use: SA Organizations with allocated space will still have limited access to office spaces. These spaces should never be used to congregate or hold events. The spaces should be seen more as a storage or prep area, and should only ever be entered or used by executive board members. Organizations found to be improperly using space risk the loss of access to that space for the semester.
Sanctions for Violations: Groups reported to have violated any SA or University COVID guidelines risk loss of SA privileges such as office access, room reservation ability, or financial account access.
As always, if you have any questions regarding planning a specific event for your group, please reach out to Laura at email@example.com. If you are looking for general guidance and counseling as to how to run your club this year, please reach out to Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have policy based questions and clarifications, please reach out to me at email@example.com.
TO: SA Chartered Organizations
FROM: Jacob Eckhaus, Vice President for Finance
SUBJECT: COVID Financial Policies – Fall 2020
August 11, 2020
The policies listed below are specifically being implemented because of COVID and will function as temporary additions or modifications to the FPP. All policies are generalized and the VPF and VPF Office Staff reserve the right to modify any and all policies at their discretion. Please note other changes will also be made to the main body of the FPP and all treasurers should be sure to be familiar with those as well.
- The voucher process will remain by-and-large the same as it has been in the past. All vouchers and related materials will be required to be turned in in-person. The trays for vouchers, contracts, and travel forms located inside the office have been moved closer to the entrance to allow treasurers to turn in vouchers with minimal human contact. All vouchers will now also require an attached B-Engaged printout showing the event or meeting in question has been approved. Rejected vouchers will be returned in the same manner as the past, unless the issue can easily be resolved via email. All questions about vouchers should be sent to the VPF Head Assistant Teresa Liu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Travel Forms
- While it is anticipated at this point that the SA will not sanction or approve any travel which would necessitate a Travel Form, if a situation arises which does require one it will also need to be turned in in-person. All travel will still require Prior Approval, and will occur at the discretion of the EVP, VPF, and VPF Travel Assistant. All questions about travel should be sent to the VPF Travel Assistant Prachi Shah at email@example.com.
- Performance Contracts
- SA Performance Contracts will now be available virtually in the same format as a reimbursement voucher, and the link will be on the SA website. This will allow groups to virtually submit contracts for approval. SA Contract Riders will still require an in-person interaction with the VPF, as the nuances of signing a third party contract necessitate a more thorough process. All questions about contracts should be sent to the VPF Contracts Assistant Nick Erb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tax Exempt Forms
- To best minimize interactions in the office, tax exempt forms have been moved to an online format similar to the reimbursement vouchers. This link will also be available on the SA website. You will no longer need to request Prior Approval for only a tax exempt form, although if the purchase falls under Prior Approval criteria it will be necessary to both submit a tax exempt form and a Prior Approval request (via B-Engaged).
- Purchase Orders
- As it has in the past, the Prior Approval Request form on B-Engaged will still be the way to receive a Purchase Order. After it is approved, you will receive an email either with the Purchase Order itself or with instructions on where and when to pick up the Purchase Order in person.
- Prior Approvals
- The Prior Approval Request form will continue to be on B-Engaged and the specific criteria surrounding when Prior Approval is needed will remain as outlined in the FPP. However, a higher level of scrutiny will be applied to all requests for off campus events as these events involve interaction with individuals not necessarily a part of the Binghamton University community. As with all events, any off campus events not approved on B-Engaged will not receive Prior Approval.
- Invoice requests will function the same way they have in the past, as a B-Engaged form. In lieu of needing to pick up the invoice in person, it will be emailed to your organization email account. This will eliminate unnecessary person-to-person contact and should help to streamline the process.
- Finance Committee Discretionary Fund
- The VPF and Treasurer work closely to ensure that FinCo is operating in the scope most beneficial to our organizations and members. In order to accommodate for the bizarre situation we are in, the rules around qualifying for a discretionary fund allocation have been modified slightly to allow groups to present for COVID-related expenses or deficits. More specific guidelines related to this will be sent out by SA Treasurer Kelly Conway later. For any questions about FinCo or the discretionary process, please email Kelly at email@example.com.
- Office Hours
- The VPF Office will not have in-person walk-in hours, and all in-person meetings will be by appointment only. In order to accommodate the large amount of questions the office receives every day, there will be a Zoom meeting room open during business hours where an assistant will be able to help with any questions you may have. More information about the specifics will go out with the COVID Reopening Plans from the EVP at a later date.