Statement from Chancellor Malatras on Updated Guidance for Positivity Rates and Testing Protocols on College Campuses

February 19, 2021

"Since late August 2020, SUNY has worked aggressively to build the most robust college COVID-19 testing regimen in the nation. Because of breakthrough testing innovations at SUNY Upstate Medical—which created the world’s most accurate saliva test—we have done more than one million tests since the start of the fall semester. We required all students to pre-test ahead of the spring semester to ensure that COVID was left at the door and not penetrating our campuses unknowingly. We’ve combined weekly testing of every student, faculty and staff member across our 64 campuses with common sense safety protocols and uniform compliance for the small minority of students who flaunt COVID rules. The result is a system-wide positivity rate around a half a percent. But we can’t get lax and must remain vigilant to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe. The New York State Department of Health’s revised college on pause guidance allows colleges with the proper testing infrastructure and safety protocols to monitor, pinpoint, and manage COVID cases independently and with less disruption of in-person learning—something we know is invaluable to the educational experience."

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, 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 country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-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 2022, 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 opportunities, visit

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Holly Liapis
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