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Safe Start

Safe Start

Safe Start

The Zucker School of Medicine Reopening Committee has been working closely with Hofstra University and Northwell Health to develop protocols that align with local, state and federal public health guidelines and preserve the best of the Zucker School of Medicine experience while minimizing risk to our entire community. Fall 2020 will be different in many ways, and our plans are a work in progress because the public health situation locally and nationally continues to evolve. This website will be a critical source of information and it will be updated regularly as additional details become available.

ZSOM COVID-19 Guidelines

The purpose of these guidelines is to define the operational expectations of all faculty members, staff members, students, and visitors of the Zucker School of Medicine (ZSOM) while inside the ZSOM facility.

  1. Masks are required in all areas of our building, except in the following circumstances:
    • If you are alone* in an office, conference room, classroom, or study room;
    • If you are in a designated eating area and at least six feet apart from others;
    • If you are outside and at least six feet apart from others.
    • Please note*: if you are alone in an office, conference room, classroom, or study room, and another person approaches to enter, you must apply your mask immediately, so please keep your mask with you and readily available at all times when you are in the ZSOM building
  2. Every person is expected to remain at least six feet apart from others whenever possible.
  3. Every person is required to wear a Northwell Health ID or Hofstra University ID in a visible place (i.e., around a neck lanyard, on a shirt).
  4. Every person is expected to practice good hand hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap and water or using an alcohol-based sanitizing solution.
  5. Every person is expected to comply with the maximum occupancy rules. The maximum occupancy in any particular room will be limited based on the size of the room and the room layout. The maximum occupancy of each room will be noted on the door of the room.
  6. Every person is required to complete a health screening questionnaire each day they come to campus (employees can find the health screening questionnaire on the Hofstra portal – see FAQs for more information).

Mask Requirements:
Cloth masks must have two layers of cloth with a filter in between and they must be washed daily. Procedure masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks are all acceptable. Bandanas and scarves do not meet the ZSOM’s requirement. Masks with a valve or vent will not be permitted.

SOM building is not open to visitors.Safe Start Zucker

Exposure Flowchart 


Six Pillars of Health & Safety


Proper hand hygiene and keeping your work environment clean can reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19!

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds, clean all surfaces including between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Use hand sanitizer when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Clean your workspace with sanitizing wipes at least once a day.


Face masks can greatly reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission!

  • Face masks are only effective if everyone wears one.
  • Face masks must cover your mouth and your nose.
    • Face masks are ineffective if only covering the mouth OR the nose.



Social distancing can reduce risk of contracting and/or transmitting COVID-19!

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread predominately through respiratory droplets.
  • When near others, kindly remind them to say about six feet away
    • Remember to social distance when you are away from your workspace.


Self-monitoring can reduce risk of transmitting COVID-19!

  • Know the signs and symptoms most commonly associated with COVID-19.
    • Fever, cough, sore throat, etc.
  • Complete daily screening tool each day before coming to campus.
  • Stay home if you are having any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or are unwell.



Testing and contact tracing can reduce the transmission of COVID-19!

  • There are two types of testing available for COVID-19:
    • Nasal swab - viral testing or diagnostic testing to see if you are currently infected.
    • Antibody testing - detects immune proteins in your blood to see if you were previously infected.


We are all in this together!

  • In order for our infection control measures to be effective, we need everyone to participate fully!
  • Talk with your supervisor or Student Affairs if you have any concerns about exposure or infection.


New York State COVID-19 Travel Advisory

If you have traveled from within one of the designated states listed on the website, New York law requires you to quarantine when you enter New York for 14 days. The site also includes guidance on how to travel and quarantine safely. All students must comply with these guidelines for your own safety and for the safety of everyone in our Hofstra community.

You will be able to attend classes remotely if you need to comply with the travel advisory.

Learn more about the New York State COVID-19 Travel Advisory.

Visit Hofstra University's Safe Start Website
The same guidelines apply (mandatory masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene). For any discrepancies between Hofstra and SOM, medical students are to follow the SOM guidelines and procedures

Fall 2020 FAQs

  • Will faculty, staff, and students be able to access the building 24/7?

    No. Deep cleaning will take place during the overnight shift, so the building will close at 11pm each evening and reopen at 6:30am the following morning. For everyone’s health and safety, it is important to ensure the building is empty from 11pm-6:30am each day. The card swipes have now been reactivated on the main lobby doors for all faculty and staff members as well as students

  • Will standard signage be developed about new protocols in the building?

    Yes, standard signage has been hung throughout our building to remind our community about hygiene, social distancing, and mask requirements. We are actively collecting feedback from the earliest teams returning to the building about signage so we can make necessary improvements to signage

  • Will training be provided on proper hand washing and infection control protocols for faculty and staff and students to adhere to and help each other with?

    Yes, the communications subcommittee has created an educational campaign and training materials to be shared with all faculty, staff, and students prior to their return to the building.

  • What does the new cleaning protocol entail? Do we have enough cleaning staff to support the additional steps that will need to be taken?

    The current version of the University-wide cleaning protocol is posted on the website and will be updated as Hofstra prepares to reopen. Custodial Operations is refining the protocols based on the most recent CDC and New York State guidelines and requirements. The University also recently purchased electrostatic disinfectant spraying equipment and EPA registered disinfectants approved for use against COVID, and will be incorporating enhanced cleaning procedures into the cleaning protocol based upon our capabilities with the new equipment.

    When our building reopens, there will be a sufficient number of custodial staff members to execute new protocols. The new protocols will increase the frequency of high traffic/high touch surface cleaning and disinfecting during the day and evening. Overnight, the new portable disinfection mister machines will be used to disinfect all common and high-traffic spaces. This does require, however, that our building be empty overnight, starting at 11pm, so that the overnight crew can clean. There will be no exceptions.

    As always, Custodial Operations is responsible for the overall cleaning and disinfecting in our building, but the NYS Reopening Guidelines also call for community responsibility, such that individuals assist by wiping down shared equipment, such as keyboards and mice in our classrooms and conference rooms, and desktop surfaces in shared areas when they are finished using that area. Sanitizing wipes will be provided in limited quantities by the ZSOM for this purpose. We ask that when you wipe down shared equipment or shared work areas, that you only use one wipe for the entire area so we can conserve our wipes as much as possible. You will also be responsible for wiping down your desk and electronic equipment each night. These wipes will be provided be ZSOM, and we ask thet you use them as conservatively as possible.

  • Will bathrooms be outfitted with touchless equipment?


  • Are there changes to the air ventilation/filtration system planned for our building?

    Yes, Hofstra’s Plant Department has installed M13 high-efficiency air filters in the ZSOM. These filters are in compliance with CDC recommendations for air filtration. In addition, the Plant Department is working to ensure that the ventilation system brings in more outside air, especially as the weather gets cooler.

  • Will masks be required and will they be provided?

    Yes, masks are required for every person to enter an on-campus building, including our ZSOM facility. ZSOM will provide three washable, reusable cloth masks for every student, faculty, and staff member. Masks will be required, unless you are alone within your own workspace, and at least six feet apart from others, or eating in a designated eating area, and at least six feet apart from others

  • Will we be allowed to wear our own mask or are we required to wear the mask that ZSOM provides?

    Faculty, staff, and students will be allowed to wear their own masks, provided that they meet certain requirements to ensure that they are equivalent to or more effective than the masks that are provided by the school. Cloth masks must have two layers of cloth with a filter in between. Procedure masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks are all acceptable. Please remember to wash your cloth masks often. Bandanas and scarves will not meet the ZSOM’s requirement. Masks with a valve or vent will not be permitted. The ZSOM-issued navy and white cloth masks contain a washable mesh filter between the two layers of fabric. This is a permanent filter and does not need to be replaced.

  • Will we be provided with other PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) besides masks?

    Specialized PPE, such as procedure masks, gloves, and eye protection will be provided to students, faculty, and staff members who are involved in specific curricular sessions where physical distancing cannot be maintained (e.g., EMT ambulance runs, structure lab, clinical skills sessions). For daily office activities, PPE beyond a cloth mask is not required or recommended by the CDC and New York State, and therefore, will not be provided..

  • Will we be able to remove our masks to eat?

    Yes, but social distancing rules will still apply while eating. The east multipurpose rooms (Rooms 100, 101, 102), the café, and the café’s outdoor patio will be set up with tables and chairs that encourage social distancing. These areas will be clearly marked with signage that indicates they are designated eating areas. We ask that you refrain from rearranging the furniture in those spaces. The outdoor patio will include a tent with additional seating beyond what we usually have. Our indoor designated eating areas will be limited to 92 occupants in total (38 in the Café and 54 in the east multipurpose rooms). The outdoor areas will create additional seating capacity, which can be shared when this information is available. Eating may only take place in a designated eating area or a private workspace; eating in other public areas of our building will be prohibited.

  • Will extra masks be available if I forget my mask at home?

    Yes, there will be a very limited supply of procedure masks available at the ZSOM. Please try to remember to bring a mask with you every time you come to campus.

  • Will social distancing be required?

    Yes. Everyone in our building will be required to maintain six-foot social distancing whenever possible, in addition to wearing masks. Also, every room within our building will have at most a 50% occupancy maximum, meaning 50% or less than the fire marshal approved occupancy. The exception to the six-foot social distancing guideline will be during clinical skills curricular sessions and any other curricular sessions in which six-foot social distancing cannot be maintained, additional PPE will be provided to those who participate in those activities, as described above.

  • Should we limit the number of students that enter our office spaces?

    Yes. Faculty, staff, and students should be wearing masks at all times and maintaining six-foot social distance. If a group of people arrives unexpectedly to have a conversation in your office space, and social distancing is not possible, you should move to a larger space or convert the meeting to a virtual format.

  • Will there be any restrictions on when we can use the bathrooms?
    No, although the requirement to wear a mask and maintain six-foot social distancing still applies while in the restrooms. If you cannot safely maintain social distancing in the restroom due to overcrowding, you must form a line with appropriate social distancing and wait.
  • Will the servery and café be open?

    A re-designed servery will be operational the week of August 3rd, with the hours of 7:30am-3:00pm, M-F. Buffet and communal self-serve areas of the servery will no longer be available (e.g. salad bar, communal milk for coffee), but there will be an attendant and many of the foods you are accustomed to seeing, including eggs, oatmeal, soups, salads, sandwiches, snacks, and drinks.

  • Will staff/faculty lounge and coffee areas be open? What is the policy re: communal refrigerators, coffee machines, use of break rooms, etc.?

    Yes, all lounge and coffee areas will be open for use, but not for eating. Social distancing, face masks, and hand hygiene requirements will still apply in these areas. Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer will be available in these areas to promote hand hygiene. Eating and drinking must take place only in designated eating areas or in private workspaces.

  • Will hallways be one-directional?

    No, although all are encouraged not to gather/linger unnecessarily in the hallways and follow social distancing rules as much as possible while moving throughout the building.

  • Will people be allowed to order food from outside vendors to be delivered to the building?

    Yes, but delivery people will be required to wear masks when entering the building.

  • Will staff and faculty be required to monitor symptoms daily? How will this be conducted? Will daily temperature screens be required?

    Yes, all staff and faculty members will be required to complete this mandatory health screening questionnaire each day they come to campus, prior to arrival. At this time, daily temperature screens will not be required, but forehead thermometers will be available at the front desk for anyone who wishes to screen their own temperature.

  • What should I do if I am exhibiting one of the CDC defined symptoms of COVID-19?

    If you develop one of the CDC defined symptoms of COVID-19, do not come to work, or if you are already at work, please isolate yourself and leave the building immediately. Also please notify your supervisor. The ZSOM will provide you with a protocol to follow.

  • If employees leave the building, will they need to be re-checked upon entry?

    No, the screening questionnaire is only required once per day. However, if upon re-entry to the building, an employee no longer feels well, or believes they may have been exposed, the employee should not return to work and should contact their supervisor to report their absence.

  • If students, faculty, and/or staff travel, will there be any protocol in place to ensure that the risk of an infection entering our community is low?

    We will follow the New York State Governor’s directive with regard to travel advisories. As of June 24, 2020, anyone arriving from a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate of a 7-day rolling average will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in NY.

  • Will COVID-19 diagnostic (nasal swab) testing be available on campus?

    Hofstra is building an on-campus testing center in which diagnostic testing will be available to students only. Faculty and staff members who believe they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or have had a possible exposure to someone with COVID-19 should not report to work. Employees who may be sick should follow-up with their healthcare provider and can locate a testing site in their area on the NYS website./p>

  • Will antibody serology testing be available on campus?


  • Will nasal swab or antibody testing be required?

    Both MS1 and MS2 classes were required to quarantine or diagnostic (nasal swab) test prior to beginning classes for the Fall 2020 semester. Antibody testing was not required.

  • Will we be able to bring food into the building?


  • Will we be able to use the water fountains to fill our water bottles?


  • Has there been consideration to adding more outdoor furniture? Will there be different rules that apply outdoors?

    In preparation for the colder weather, sides have been added to the tent so that it can be heated, as necessary, until Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, because the tent is not meant to withstand the harshest winter weather, the tent will be taken down after Thanksgiving. To increase the indoor eating capacity in our building after Thanksgiving, the East 201 MET will be converted into a designated eating area, with a seating capacity of 38. The East Multipurpose Rooms (capacity 41) and the Café (capacity 37) will remain as currently configured for indoor eating through the winter as well. Additional notice about this change will be provided as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

  • Are visitors allowed in our building?

    No visitors (family members, guest speakers, etc.) will be allowed in our building except for people making deliveries. Hofstra is considering making that a campus-wide policy.

  • Do medical students follow the same guidelines and procedures as Hofstra undergraduate students?

    In general, the same guidelines apply (mandatory masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene). For any discrepancies between Hofstra and SOM, medical students are to follow the SOM guidelines and procedures.

Additional Information