State University of New York campuses, including SUNY Geneseo, will increase the frequency of SUNY’s mandatory COVID testing for the spring semester, the system said Sunday.
The announcement was made by SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras during a visit to SUNY Oneonta where he joined college and community officials to reopen campus for the spring semester as students began to move back to campus housing for pre-semester COVID testing and quarantining before in-person classes resume on Feb. 1. Malatras announced that all SUNY campus would increase the frequency of SUNY’s mandatory COVID testing to weekly testing of all students, faculty and staff who regularly come to campus.
“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 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.”
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.
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, according to SUNY data.
Preliminary data suggests in-person instruction has not been a vector of the spread, SUNY officials said in a news release.
Also, as part of SUNY’s spring guidance, campuses are sharing a “What Students Should Know” plain language informational notice, or bill of rights, so all students know what to expect at individual campuses, such as how many courses will be online, hybrid, or in person.