Covid-19 Plans: Florence

Update as of April 15, 2021: Covid-19 Vaccine Requirement for 2021 Programs

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

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.

As of April 17, 2021, the region of Tuscany is considered an “orange” zone. 

An explanation of color coding follows:

WHITE ZONE:

White Zones outline the following expectations:

  • Correct wearing of Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Adherence to social distancing.
  • No events that lead to gatherings (fairs, discos, or events in stadiums).

YELLOW ZONE:

Yellow Zones outline the following expectations:

  • A curfew is in effect from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am local time.
  • Traveling allowed only within your region of residence (Tuscany).
  • Travel going outside of a YellowZone is only permitted to another Yellow Zone.
    • Travel to an Orange or Red zone is only permitted if due to urgency and with the proper self-certification form. The self-certification form can be found here.
  • Swimming pools, gyms and ski resorts are closed. Non-contact outdoor sporting events are open.
  • Theaters and cinemas may open as of March 27, 2021 with an audience of no more than 25% of typical capacity (max 200 inside, max 400 outside).
  • Museum reservations are highly recommended.
    • Museums are open from Monday to Friday with the exception of public holidays.
    • As of March 27, 2021 museums may open on Saturdays and holidays.
  • 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.

ORANGE ZONE:

Orange Zones outline the following expectations:

  • A curfew is in effect from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am.
  • Travel going outside of an OrangeZone is not permitted.
    • However, travel outside of an OrangeZone is permitted, if due to urgency and with the proper self-certification form. The self-certification form can be found here.
  • Museums, theaters, cinemas, swimming pools, gyms and ski resorts are closed.
  • Non-contact outdoor sporting events are open.
  • Commercial shopping areas are closed on weekends. Grocery stores remain open.
  • Restaurants and bars are only open for take-away (take-out) and delivery.

RED ZONE:

Red Zones outline the following expectations:

  • A 24-hour curfew remains in effect: leaving home is not permitted unless for work, health or other first necessity reasons (grocery shopping).
    • Walking and running close to home is permitted.
  • Travel going outside of a Red Zone is not permitted.
  • Public venues such as museums, theaters, cinemas, swimming pools, and sports centers are closed.
  • Hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons are closed.
  • Commercial shopping areas are closed, with the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies and other first necessity stores, which remain open.
  • Restaurants and bars are only open for take-away (take-out) and delivery.

Cleaning/Sanitation/PPE

Complete disinfection of facilities prior to opening in March 2021 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).

NOTE: Syracuse Florence will have masks available in case a student forgets to bring one, however, students are responsible for bringing their own masks.


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.
    • Possible overnight trips will include single rooms with a private bathroom.
    • 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

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

Current Italian national ordinance requires travelers coming into Italy to quarantine for 14 days (unless traveling on a Covid-tested flight).

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

Periodic on-site surveillance testing will occur several times during the semester and specifically, before and after any overnight all-school trips. In the event of a suspected case of Covid, on-site testing of student(s) with internal contact tracing will be enacted while waiting for test results/contact tracing from Italian medical system.


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.

NOTE: It is strongly recommended that students install the contact tracing Immuniapp on their phones upon arrival. Explanation of this app and use will be provided during  Orientation.


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.

Student activities have been re-organized to allow for social distancing, and in some cases, such as the soccer team, will not be offered. Where social distancing is not possible, virtual activities are offered.


Student Arrivals & Transit to Housing

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 14-day period of health surveillance and fiduciary isolation (see “Quarantine/Isolation”), privately or by their own means (unless taking Covid-tested flight). Taxi transportation is allowed; therefore, students will arrive at Florence airport and take a taxi directly to The Student Hotel for check-in procedures.

Students are housed in single rooms with a private bathroom for the entire duration of both mandatory quarantine and the duration of the semester. Students are permitted to carry out any additional isolation or quarantine periods in their assigned rooms, unless otherwise instructed by medical professionals. 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 hotels of the same quality as The Student Hotel and meals will be provided for full time of isolation.