SUNY Completes Mandatory Thanksgiving Exit Testing of On-Campus Students with More Than 150K Tests Conducted with a Positivity Rate of 0.63 Percent

November 24, 2020

More Than 530K Completed Over the Entire Fall Semester with a 0.52 Positive Test Rate

Chancellor Malatras Praises Students for their Efforts to Keep COVID Rates Low

Schenectady, NY – Days before Thanksgiving, State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced that SUNY campuses have finished mandatory testing of students on campus with 152,788 tests conducted with a positivity rate of 0.63 percent between November 9 and November 23. SUNY Upstate Medical University will process the remaining tests this week. Campuses are working in close coordination with local public health officials to monitor students testing positive and isolating. Currently 880 students are in isolation or quarantine on campus.

Chancellor Malatras made the announcement from SUNY Schenectady, as the community college is one of the last campuses to complete its testing this close to Thanksgiving, with one positive case out of 248 for the 14-day window before the holiday. Chancellor Malatras praised SUNY students for their efforts to keep COVID rates low during the fall semester and urged them all to stay diligent with social distancing and wearing masks.

"Over just a two-week window, SUNY colleges and universities rose to this extraordinary challenge and completed the COVID exit testing—an enormous, unprecedented effort that will prevent the spread of the virus over the Thanksgiving holiday," said Chancellor Jim Malatras. "Our 0.63 percent exit testing positivity rate once again reinforces that even as COVID-19 surges elsewhere, our students are predominantly doing the right thing: social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding large gatherings. This has been a tremendous team effort. Campuses are working in tandem with their local health departments to ensure that COVID positive students are quarantining safely either on campus, off campus, or at home. For those students who are unable to isolate or quarantine at home and remain on campus, my team and I at SUNY system and campus leadership will do everything in our power to make them feel at home over the holiday. We are one SUNY family, and we are all in this together. We will continue to keep each other safe and finish the fall semester strong."

SUNY campuses, as required by Chancellor Malatras as part of the Thanksgiving exit testing, will provide housing, meals and other comforts for all students on campus. Students on campus will also continue to participate in regular coronavirus testing along with faculty and staff.

SUNY Schnectady President Steady Moono said, "The safety of our students and College community is our top priority at SUNY Schenectady, and this extends to doing all we can to ensure that everyone has a safe Thanksgiving. We thank Chancellor Malatras for his leadership regarding testing and safety protocols, and for all of the support he has provided, as we welcome him to campus today."

SUNY’s colleges and universities have been testing regularly throughout the fall semester, conducting 535,439 tests to date with a positive rate of 0.52 percent.

Spring Plan Overview

Any student living, working, or taking classes on campus, or utilizing campus facilities must test for COVID-19 when they return for the winter and/or spring semester. Students must first confirm that they have completed a seven-day precautionary quarantine prior to returning to campus. They must then either present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days prior to their return, or submit to a campus-administered test upon arrival—but no later than five days after their return to campus.

Pursuant to SUNY's mandatory surveillance testing program announced back in September, colleges will resume regular surveillance testing for students, faculty, and staff as on-campus services resume. Colleges will continue to report positive cases daily via SUNY's COVID-19 Case Tracker.

In accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines, colleges that eclipse either 100 active cases or five percent threshold  whichever is lower—within prescribed two-week windows must pause in-person learning and activities for two weeks. All campus dining and food service options must also be converted to take out and delivery. In these scenarios, residential facilities remain open and students stay on campus.

To reduce risks associated with flu season, winter term instruction will be fully remote, and spring term instruction will remain remote until February 1. Spring break and other holiday break periods are cancelled for all SUNY campuses. Face coverings will now be required in classrooms, conference rooms, and all other public spaces where students are not by themselves, even when six feet of social distancing is possible.

All campuses must provide a clear notice on "What Students Should Know" that includes information on testing, quarantine and isolation requirements, and safety protocols so that students can make informed decisions about their educational experience.

The spring plan also extends SUNY’s emergency disciplinary standards meant to enforce safety protocols. It also includes SUNY’s recent expansion of mental health services for all students.

The plan is subject to change based on evolving state and federal health guidance. Read the full Spring 2021 Reopening Guidance.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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