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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions on Campus Reopening

Common questions and answers on the SUNY campus reopening plans for the fall 2020 semester can help students, families, and staff get a better understanding of the efforts taking place to ensure safety for all members of the SUNY community. You can also learn more about the process to reopen and individual campus plans.

SUNY worked with all campuses on reopening guidelines, in accordance with Department of Health (DOH) criteria, and has certified that all campuses meet the strict mandatory requirements set by DOH regarding proper social distancing, consistent classroom sanitization, mask-wearing, and testing measures.

No final decisions on tuition have been made. SUNY leadership and the Board of Trustees are working with individual campuses to look at the overall picture of the finances of each school, as well as taking into consideration the final stimulus package from the federal government.

Local and state governments are responsible for contact tracing. SUNY will work with government officials to safely monitor students who might have been exposed to the virus. Campus officials will make sure all necessary guidelines are addressed, and each campus will publish their full safety plans on their respective websites. Individual schools have also provided additional immediate contact tracing measures in the case of a positive reported case.

DOH guidelines provide a framework for how to enforce proper social distancing, consistent classroom sanitization, mask-wearing, and testing measures. For those faculty and staff most at-risk, individual campuses are reviewing each situation on a case-by-case basis to ensure their safety..

SUNY takes the technological divide experienced by members of our student body very seriously, which is why we worked to ensure students in need had Chromebooks and laptops to complete their studies during the spring semester. We have recognized that the problem most impacts students attending our community colleges. For the fall semester, we do not expect that the demand for technological resources will overrun capacity. However, campuses are keeping track of that demand to ensure resources are deployed where they are most needed.

SUNY is working to ensure flexibility for classes requiring in-person delivery, such as clinical experience and laboratory-based instruction, through other modes of delivery, including course substitution. SUNY recognizes that internships and job opportunities will also be affected in the upcoming semester.Campuses will engage with respective partners to ensure student credit and required practical experience hours are met.

SUNY researchers and clinicians have developed a comprehensive framework for screening and testing. Our overall strategy is to test all symptomatic individuals rapidly and quarantine/isolate as soon as possible. Beyond testing, the most effective, scalable, and proactive measure to reduce the risk of viral transmission is meticulous adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, wearing masks, hand washing, and increased cleaning and disinfection, which are included in all of our campus reopening plans.

Pooled testing can be used to monitor baseline infection rates of a campus community, identify presymptomatic and asymptomatic cases, and potentially pinpoint super-spreaders when a particular population shows a small cluster of events. The pooled testing technique allows a lab to mix several samples together in a "batch" and then test the pooled sample with a diagnostic test. If the pooled sample is negative, it can be deduced that all individuals were negative. If the pooled sample comes back positive, then each sample needs to be tested individually to find out which person, or persons, were positive. Because samples are pooled, ultimately fewer tests are run overall, meaning fewer testing supplies are used. In most cases, pooled testing also has the benefit of reducing the time needed from collecting specimens to testing results, which is critical for campus operation.  

DOH has validated a new saliva diagnostic test to quickly identify positive cases from a pooled test. All campuses with a pooled testing program will have access to this new saliva test, which was developed at SUNY Upstate Medical University. For more information, click here.

SUNY staff are working with campus athletic staff and monitoring the situation. If an athletic conference cancelled the season, then there is no athletics for the season for the campus. Four out of the six athletic conferences have either suspended fall athletic competitions or have significantly reduced them. The conferences have not indicated if they will reverse the decision at this time.

At this time, as is the case with fitness centers across New York State, SUNY gyms and fitness centers will continue to be closed to the community.

Campuses do have PPE on site and are providing masks to students and employees as needed. Students are also encouraged to bring their own.

Many campuses have restructured their dining options to ensure proper social distancing. Each campus is providing specific details to students, faculty, and staff.

Yes, we have actually expanded mental health and wellness services in light of the impact of the coronavirus. SUNY and, in fact, all State government has made supportive services for those with mental health needs a priority throughout this pandemic. We are now offering Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) to all SUNY students, faculty, and staff at no cost, thanks to a grant from the Office of Mental Health (OMH). We are also promoting OMH’s Crisis Text Line campaign as another resource for individuals who need immediate after-hours assistance. Our Student Telecounseling Network (STCN) has continued to expand.

Campuses have closely analyzed accommodations in place, and have made adjustments to assist students with physical, mental and/or learning disabilities. Those modifications vary from campus to campus, and individualized plans are being communicated to students. Some examples of accommodations considered on a case-by-case basis include permission to record the class, alternative housing arrangements, and requests to take classes remotely. Students are encouraged to reach out to their campus disability services office for more information on how to get started.

SUNY campuses are working with students on a case-by-case basis to ensure the safety of our students.

SUNY campuses continue to communicate with students about the need for masks, social distancing, and cleaning to ensure they know how they can best support each other in limiting the possible spread of the virus.

Local public health departments will continue to be the best source for all cases, including those on campus. Once campuses have a suspected case, they will immediately reach out to their public health official to care for the student and contain the potential spread of the virus, as we actively assist with contact tracing.