Covid-19 Plans: Florence

Syracuse Abroad is unable to accommodate Covid-19 Vaccination and/or booster Exemptions. All students studying with our programs must be fully vaccinated, and, if eligible, must also receive a booster dose and provide proof of inoculation prior to a published deadline for each program. In general, international governments have constraints on those unvaccinated such that robust participation in a study abroad program is not possible. The experience would be so compromised as to not meet the high standards of a Syracuse Abroad experience. Students with questions about this should reach out to their International Program Advisor.

Covid-19 plans updated February 2022.

Italy currently uses a color-coding scheme to establish restrictions among the various regions within Italy.  This coding changes to reflect shifts in infection rates within a region.

Currently the majority of regions in Italy, including Tuscany, are classified as a white zone.

NOTE: Subject to changes/modifications in accordance with Italian policies and best practices.

An explanation of color coding follows:

WHITE ZONE:

White Zones outline the following expectations:

  • Correct wearing of personal protective equipment in public spaces
  • Social distancing of 1 meter with mask indoors and outdoors
  • All businesses and events open/running, with restrictions of masks, social distancing, capacity and in some cases, obligatory proof of vaccination, Covid test in the past 48 hours and/or recovery from Covid

YELLOW ZONE:

Yellow Zones outline the following expectations:

  • A curfew is in effect from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am local time.
  • Travel going outside of a Yellow Zone is only permitted to another Yellow Zone, and in some cases travel to Orange and Red Zones are allowed:
    • When going to and from an Orange zone, travelers must get a Covid test (antigen/PCR) within 48 hours of travel and bring an accompanying certificate of test negativity into the zone.
    • Travel to a Red zone is permitted if due to urgency and with the proper self-certification form. The self-certification form can be found here.
  • As of June, gyms and pools are now open with limited occupancy. Non-contact outdoor sporting events are open.
  • Museum reservations are highly recommended.
    • Museums are open from Monday to Friday with the exception of public holidays. On weekends, there is a mandatory advanced reservation rule.
  • Commercial shopping areas are closed on weekends. Grocery stores are open.
  • Restaurants and bars remain open for in-person dining until 6:00 pm local time.
    • Take-away, or take-out, permitted until 10:00 pm local time
    • Consumption at the table is allowed for a maximum of four people per table.

Documentation for Proof of Vaccination

Italian “Green Pass”

As of August 5, 2021, The GREEN PASS will become a mandatory requirement to gain access to the following establishments, regardless of the color coding in that region:

  • Schools
  • Indoor consumption of food and drinks while sitting at a table
  • Sport events and competitions, shows
  • Museums and exhibitions
  • Swimming pools, spa centers, gyms
  • Amusement parks, fairs, festivals

Effective September 1, 2021, the Green Pass will be required on all public transportation.

At this time, the Italian healthcare system only issues Green Passes to Italian citizens.

CDC “White Card”

As of now, it is unknown how foreigners who have been vaccinated abroad can download the Italian Green Pass. Non-resident persons in Italy who have been vaccinated (or have taken a negative Covid test) are, therefore, still allowed to prove such condition by showing the appropriate paper documentation received. For students coming from the US, they should show the so-called “White Card with the CDC logo” on it that has been expressly approved by the Italian Ministero della Salute. The card is valid for 9 months after the date of second dose or booster.


Cleaning/Sanitation/PPE

Complete disinfection of facilities prior to opening following local guidelines and protocols.

Daily cleaning of facilities throughout program duration.

Periodic cleaning and disinfection of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) in addition to air purification.

Frequent daily cleaning of bathrooms, door handles, light switches, computer lab areas, & HVAC.

Mandatory airing out of classrooms before and after each class.

Personal cleaning supplies for each office, for faculty rooms, and on each instructor’s desk in classrooms.

Cleaning supply station in every classroom, for student/professor cleaning of desks. Dedicated garbage containers in corridors outside classrooms for disposal of waste used to clean desk areas.

Anti-bacterial hand gel available in all offices, classrooms, entrance, outside bathrooms, near café bar, student lounge areas and in designated eating spaces.

Masks must always be worn in the buildings and during on-site visits/field trips (unless eating with social distancing).

Mask wearing: Masks must be worn both outside and inside of public spaces unless exercising outdoors alone or eating with a social distance of at least 1.8 meters. Schools in Italy must provide students and employees with surgical masks when on the premises; wearing cloth masks at school is not allowed by government ordinance. Students may bring their own supply of masks, including cloth for use in other public venues.


Social Distancing

Registration of every person (name/contact information) entering the building including their time of entry and exit will be required in the case that contact tracing is necessary.

Set up of the following rooms/areas to respect normative distance in Italy, considering obligatory use of face masks (in some cases, such as Architecture studio, panels are installed between workspaces). Indications of distancing are located on floors, furniture, and walls to regulate direction of flow in the case of hallways, stairs, entrance/exit.

  • Classrooms
    • NOTE: course schedules have been organized to allow for a limited number of students in the buildings at any given time. Limits on class sizes are small enough to accommodate for social distancing.
  • Architecture study spaces
  • Computer lab
  • Faculty rooms
  • Library
    • NOTE: Staff will enforce a limited number of people at a time to access the stacks
  • Café bar and covered seating area at entrance to outdoor garden
  • Hallways and stairways
  • Staff shared offices
  • Student lounge areas
  • Field trips
    • Low capacity of students on each trip (max 25) to maintain social distancing. For class-related trips the cap is that of the class itself, which has been determined to reflect social-distancing measures.
    • Limiting of transportation to private bus companies (use of airplane for Signature seminar at the end of the semester). Transportation supplier’s guarantee of ability to implement social distancing and disinfection according to the provisions of Italian law.
    • Along with course-related trips being accompanied by professor, all general all-school trips will have two staff/faculty members attending in the case of emergency.

Policies/Student Behavior

Use of Syracuse University’s Stay Safe Pledge, adapted to Syracuse Florence, to incorporate housing and travel.

Possible expulsion from program for flagrant and/or repeated disregard of policies.


Medical Care

Syracuse Florence doctor will follow national ordinance directive of triage in the event of a suspected Covid case. Consultation with physician will occur first by phone. Physician will then decide whether to see patient in person or to send them directly to the hospital/testing site for a swab test, while providing direction for quarantine until results of test are available. In serious cases, direct hospitalization will occur. On-site doctor is also available by appointment for other medical concerns on a regular basis and will advise accordingly if symptoms possibly indicate Covid or other illness and can provide specialist referral, if needed.

Misericordia Firenze, a volunteer team of medical professionals, provides a dedicated phone number to study abroad programs which will follow the same steps outlined above for the on-site doctor, available 24 hours a day.

Continued availability of the Syracuse Florence emergency phone for student calls. E-team member on duty will address student needs.

Continued availability of The Student Hotel 24/7 front desk assistance with direct access to medical team which will follow the same procedures as stated above for Syracuse Florence doctor.

In the case of any student who becomes ill with Covid, Syracuse Florence staff will keep in direct and continual contact with them, assisting in navigating this triage process.


Quarantine/Isolation

In the event of quarantine, The Student Hotel will provide single rooms with private bathrooms. Students will quarantine in their rooms. All rooms are fully equipped with individual wi-fi hot spots and Hotel will deliver 3 meals a day to each student’s door. Hotel also has an isolation floor dedicated to suspected cases with full PPE equipment for initial diagnosis and follow up health directives. This will be the case for students at any time during the semester who may be identified in contact tracing. It is required to quarantine if a student has been exposed to a positive case or to self-isolate if a student is ill but does not require hospitalization.

Isolation room at Syracuse Florence Center: dedicated room with full and ample stock of PPE for use until student can get tested and return to hotel for isolation/go to hospital should they start exhibiting Covid symptoms.

All students, staff, and faculty will be required to self-declare they are not sick and with no fever to be able to enter the buildings and/or participate in extracurricular offerings. Employees who have any symptoms/are ill will need to stay at home and contact their doctor for further directives until approval to return to work.


On-site Testing

In case of expiration of vaccine card or in absence of a European approved card, students will be tested at a nearby pharmacy every 48 hours to gain access to school buildings and to participate in academic activities.


Contact Tracing

A Syracuse Florence staff member trained in contact tracing will proceed to trace close contacts effective immediately in the event of a suspected Covid case, further working in conjunction with the national health service and on-site doctor for follow-up medical assistance, isolation, and quarantine.

Daily log of all people entering or in physically on Syracuse premises is required by Italian ordinance (see above for “Social Distancing”). All school trips, field studies, and in-person extracurricular activities will require attendance lists, as will professors with their classes. External visitors to the center will fill in a self-declaration form stating they do not have symptoms nor have come into contact with a positive case which will also be used for contact tracing purposes, when necessary.


Existing Health, Safety, other Policies which must be Revised due to Covid

Emergency team staff are not currently able to accompany the student in a hospital or doctor’s office to provide translation, due to Italian national ordinance. Where possible however, the team member will assist in translation of medical care.

Staff members will see students on an appointment basis rather than offer walk-in hours. Individual staff can decide how to manage their appointments: online, sign-up sheet outside door, or via the front desk. Front desk staff will alert staff member of any student need by phone in urgent cases.

Faculty will limit their presence within the faculty room to reflect only the time needed to prepare for their upcoming class that day. Faculty are encouraged to hold online office hours with their students.

Benches, sofas, fabric chairs, and any other surface that cannot be easily sanitized are removed from common areas and/or signs will clearly indicate seating that reflect social distancing measures.

Online, rather than in-person, employee meetings will be encouraged internally.

Extra-curricular school activities will be a combination of virtual, and in-person activities, local regulations permitting.


Student Arrivals & Transit to Housing

For those required to quarantine, current directives indicate students must directly, and in the shortest time possible, reach the address indicated in their self-certification documentation as the place where they will carry out the mandatory period of health surveillance and fiduciary isolation (see “Quarantine/Isolation”), privately or by their own means. Taxi transportation is allowed; therefore, students will arrive at Florence airport and take a taxi directly to the location indicated in their travel memos for check-in procedures.

Students are placed in single rooms with a private bathroom ​and wi-fi access for the entire duration of their quarantine, regardless of their housing assignment, and will then move into their regular housing (unless already housed in a TSH single room, in which case quarantine can be carried out directly in the student’s assigned room for the semester)​. In the event of Covid positive case, it is possible that the Italian health authorities will require student to transfer to a “Covid Residence”. Covid residences are ​local hotels of the same quality standards for Syracuse Florence Housing and meals will be provided for full time of isolation. ​

​In all scenarios, students are provided further detailed housing-specific protocols during their pre-arrival online orientation period with up-to date information and instructions.