SUNY Increases Frequency of Mandatory COVID Testing to Weekly Testing of All Students, Faculty, and Staff for the Start of the Spring Semester
State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras joined SUNY Oneonta Acting President Dennis Craig and local officials to reopen campus for the spring semester. Today, as students move back to campus housing for pre-semester COVID testing and quarantining before the SUNY-required push back of the Spring Semester start date of in-person classes on February 1st, Chancellor Malatras announced that all SUNY campuses will increase the frequency of SUNY’s mandatory COVID testing to weekly testing of all students, faculty, and staff who regularly come to campus. Healthcare students who have volunteered to help with COVID response will be made available to campuses to help administer tests. To date, approximately 2,500 students have signed up to volunteer.
Chancellor Malatras also reaffirmed spring semester guidance, which was announced last November, and includes pre-testing of all students prior to the start of the semester, mandatory pre-semester quarantine of students, mandatory mask wearing at all times, even when socially distanced, no spring break, uniform compliance and enforcement standards, expanded mental health and wellness services, and a student’s bill of rights for greater transparency. Since the 2020-2021 academic year began in August, SUNY has conducted 723,891 tests with a 0.57 positive percentage rate. Preliminary data suggests in-person instruction has not been a vector of the spread.
Today’s visit with campus and local leaders, students, and faculty is his first in 2021 as he resumes regional campus visits for the spring semester.
“As our campuses are beginning their spring semesters, we are both excited for our students, and also aware of the challenges that still lie ahead because of COVID,” said Chancellor Malatras. “That is why we have developed comprehensive reopening plans to put the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff first. And, it is the reason we have already increased the frequency of testing on our campuses, and why we will continue to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances, like new strains and higher levels of cases.”
All SUNY campuses will continue to report positive cases daily via SUNY’s COVID-19 Case Tracker. The database tallies tests and active cases by campus and provides trends and positivity rates in rolling three-, seven-, and 14-day intervals, allowing people to understand the trajectory of the virus at any given time. SUNY will be announcing additional upgrades to the COVID Tracker in the upcoming days.