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SUNY Chancellor Views Campus Pooled Testing, Move-In

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State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras visited SUNY Plattsburgh Monday, viewing the campus' pooled surveillance testing center and the move-in of residential students ahead of the start of on-campus classes on Monday, Feb. 15.

The chancellor also unveiled SUNY’s updated COVID-19 Tracker, which will give campuses and others additional trend and comparative data, with the same real-time results. The upgrades allow greater transparency on SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities so campuses have the most information to isolate and respond to emerging cases on campuses.

“As SUNY Plattsburgh and the last remaining campuses reopen, we are encouraged by low levels of the virus detected on our campuses going into the semester — particularly as positive cases have been higher across the nation,” Malatras said.

“Weekly testing and our ability to monitor multiple levels of data will keep campus leadership informed to make swift decisions as cases happen, but our greatest weapon in fighting back this virus is everyone on campus doing what is necessary to stay safe—and with each visit to SUNY campuses I have the honor of meeting students who are ready for in-person classes and for what they have to do to keep cases low within their community.”

All spring semester classes began Monday, Feb. 1, with the first two weeks of all classes offered remotely. About half of spring classes will meet in person or in partial, hybrid formats when the shift occurs.

Students must have a negative COVID test in order to attend the first day of on-campus classes, either a definitive PCR test or results from campus pooled surveillance testing this week. The innovative testing method, where numerous samples can be run as part of one test, will be done weekly during the full semester for faculty, staff and students who work, live on, attend classes or have any other activity on campus. A daily health screening form is also required.

The spring schedule allows for a phased process to best ensure the safe return of students and to accommodate increased testing and other health and safety requirements. On-campus residential students moved in Sunday, Feb. 7. through Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Details of the spring semester and related campus operations are online at plattsburgh.edu/COVID-19.  

malatras enyedi at pooled testing"We are excited to safely welcome our students back for the spring semester," said SUNY Plattsburgh President Alexander Enyedi. "The opportunity to return is important to each of them and to us. We are thankful for tools like pooled surveillance testing that can better ensure the health and safety of our students, their families, our full campus community and the wider Plattsburgh area. We are doing this right and with care."

For the semester, there will be no spring break and final exam week will run May 8-14. Spring Commencement is tentatively scheduled for May 15. Details on the format will be developed over the coming weeks. Further requirements apply for students traveling from distant locations and needing to fulfill travel quarantine rules.

Students who fail to participate in pooled testing are subject to disciplinary actions that can include being suspended from classes and even expulsion from campus. About 1,500 students are expected to live on campus this spring.

The enhanced COVID-19 Tracker dashboard includes:

  • Testing data broken down by faculty/staff and students; including total tests, positives, and positivity rates.
  • Quarantine/isolation space capacity calculator system-wide and by campus.
  • State-region-county-campus positivity rate comparisons, mapped with filtering capabilities.
  • Monthly aggregate testing trends.
  • Historic trends mapped system-wide and by campus.

Those visiting the dashboard will continue to review vital information on daily and weekly test and positivity data. Malatras announced last month 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 report to campus.

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