UAlbany RNA Institute COVID-19 Pooled Testing Surveillance Program Procedures

This section’s procedures pertain to all faculty or staff members at the Utica and Albany campuses, regardless of vaccination status.

On-campus weekly testing submission begins Monday, May 16 for all faculty and staff who have not provided proof of full vaccination, with scheduled surveillance testing starting  Monday, May 16 for those who have provided proof of their full vaccination status. See full schedule below which details exactly when to test based on your cohort (please note that summer testing for vaccinated individuals is no longer biweekly, but according to the schedule provided).

Who Must Participate:

  • Unvaccinated employees, partially vaccinated employees, and employees who have not submitted proof of vaccination must continue weekly surveillance testing through the week of August 31, 2022, starting with test submission on Monday, May 16.
    • An individual is considered fully vaccinated when two or more weeks have passed after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, subject to changes based on FDA approval/booster shot guidance.
  • Fully Vaccinated employees must submit a scan of the front of their completed COVID-19 vaccination document or a screenshot of their NY State Excelsior Pass to tto be exempt from weekly surveillance testing; they must participate in testing according to the schedule/cohorts below, based on the first letter of their last name and starting with test submission on Monday, May. 16.

Testing if You are Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms:

  • If you are currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, received a positive antigen- or PCR-based diagnostic test result within the past 90 days, or were diagnosed as positive for the virus by a physician within the past 90 days, you should not participate in surveillance testing.

Schedule for Employee Test Submission

The schedules below apply to all SUNY Poly employees who are required to test at the Albany campus and all Utica campus employees who have provided proof of their full vaccination status. Please note the schedule is subject to change as needed.

Testing times:

  • Utica Campus Faculty/Staff: Each week (for those who are unvaccinated/have not provided proof), or based on the first letter of your last name for those who have provided proof of vaccination (see cohort/schedule below), you must submit your sample to the drop box located across from the Bookstore in Kunsela Hall anytime each Monday before 4:00 p.m.
  • Albany Campus: Each week (for those who are unvaccinated/have not provided proof), or based on the first letter of your last name for those who have provided proof of vaccination (see cohort/schedule below), you must submit your sample to the drop box located in the Office of Research/Grad Studies on the 4th floor of NanoFab East (Suite 4301) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Mondays.

Follow The Schedule Below If You Have Provided Proof of Full Vaccination:

RNA Institute Saliva Testing Date
(Mondays Only)
Group(s) Or Privately Obtained PCR Test
May 16 All Vaccinated May 15-21
June 6 OR June 13 Vaccinated (Last Names A-L) June 5-11 OR
June 12-18
June 27 Vaccinated (Last Names M-Z) June 26-July 2
July 11 Vaccinated (Last Names A-L) July 10-16
July 18 OR July 25 Vaccinated (Last Names M-Z) July 17-23 OR
July 24-30
August 1 OR August 8 Vaccinated (Last Names A-L) July 31-Aug 6 OR
Aug 7-13
August 15 Vaccinated (Last Names M-Z) Aug 14-20

Follow the Schedule Below if You are Based at the Utica or Albany Campus and are Unvaccinated or Have not Provided Proof of Full Vaccination:

RNA Institute Saliva Testing Date
(Mondays Only)
Group(s) Or Privately Obtained PCR Test
May 16 All Unvaccinated* May 15-21
May 23 All Unvaccinated May 22-28
May 29-June 4 All Unvaccinated – On-site testing NOT available** May 19-June 4
June 6 All Unvaccinated June 5-11
June 13 All Unvaccinated June 12-18
June 19-25 All Unvaccinated – On-site testing NOT available** June 19-25
June 27 All Unvaccinated June 26-July 2
July 3-9 All Unvaccinated – On-site testing NOT available** July 3-9
July 11 All Unvaccinated July 10-16
July 18 All Unvaccinated July 17-23
July 25 All Unvaccinated July 24-30
Aug 1 All Unvaccinated July 31-Aug 6
Aug 8 All Unvaccinated Aug 7-13
Aug 15 All Unvaccinated Aug 14-20

*"All Unvaccinated” in this chart includes those with no proof of vaccination

**On-site testing is not available due to a holiday. Pursuant to SUNY Mandated testing, Unvaccinated Individuals, individuals are expected submit proof of a SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) PCR (or TMA-NAAT) test result to the appropriate email address listed below:

What You Need to Do to Participate in Pooled Testing

  • Participants are provided with a test kit that includes saliva sample tubes and all other necessary items. Kit distribution is detailed below.  
  • Please pickup your test kits here:
    • Utica Campus:
      • Employees: Human Resources Office, Kunsela Hall, A011 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
      • Please note: Utica initial summer test kit pickup option for employees:
        • Thursday 5/19, Friday 5/20, and Monday 5/23 from 9:00 a.m. to noon in the Lobby/Reception area across from the Bookstore.
    • Albany Campus:
      • Employees: Office of Research/Grad Studies on the 4th floor of NanoFab East (Suite 4301)
  • Please use all the supplies in your current test kit before using the supplies in your new test kit. Test kits do not expire, and each new test kit must be registered.
  • Please only submit one tube, with a completed sample on your test day.
  • You need to register your testing kit online immediately after receiving it. Registering your kit starts the process for you as a participant, so this must be done within 24 hours.
  • Each kit contains a unique kit number and registration code, as well as the supplies you will need to provide saliva samples.
  • When you register online, you will be asked to input your kit’s number and registration code, read the program overview and consent form, and then provide an electronic signature.
  • It is essential that you register each kit you receive before you begin submitting saliva samples from it. Otherwise, there is no way to identify your saliva sample or note your participation.
  • Once you’ve registered, be sure to store your test kit in a clean, safe place.

Watch a video produced by the University at Albany on how to properly collect a saliva sample.

Please keep these items in mind:

  • Do not eat, drink, gargle, or brush your teeth in the 30 minutes before collecting your saliva sample.
  • Collect your saliva sample in a clean and private space, such as your home, car, or sanitized bathroom. Be sure your kit is on a clean surface.
  • Only submit one test tube each time you test.
  • Do not include any material other than saliva in the tube. This includes water or alcohol wipes. Foreign material slows down the processing of samples and could delay your test results. 

Detailed Steps for Collecting a Sample:

  • Take a specimen collection bag, test tube, and alcohol wipe from your kit.
  • Collect your saliva in the provided test tube and fill to the 1 mL mark (where the pointed part ends).  
  • Cap the test tube securely and wipe the outside of the test tube with the provided alcohol wipe. Please ensure the label remains on the tube. All numbers of the barcode must be visible and should not be wiped away.
  • You may want to write down or take a photo of your barcode for your reference.
  • Place the test tube inside the marked biohazard specimen collection bag and seal the bag.
  • Drop the completed specimen bag at the drop box location (see below).

Having problems collecting a sample?

These tips may help:

  • Please collect saliva that pools in the front of your mouth naturally. Don’t “hock” or produce saliva by force from the back of your throat.
  • It may take about 1 minute to collect enough saliva to dribble in the tube. Thinking of your favorite food or citrus may help speed this process up.
  • It is normal for saliva to foam. You should only fill the pointed section of the tube with saliva.
  • Everyone must submit their first summer sample on Monday, May 16.
  • Those from the Utica and Albany campus who have provided proof of full vaccination will submit their next sample based on the schedule above (submitting a sample when indicated based on one’s cohort related to the first letter of their last name).
    • Those faculty or staff in Albany or Utica who have not provided proof of vaccination will continue to submit their test weekly.
    • See full schedule above, including holiday changes to the Monday testing schedule.
  • Positive Results
    • If your saliva sample tests positive—meaning the virus was detected—you will receive a phone call or email from an authorized SUNY Poly employee who will guide you through obtaining a PCR diagnostic test and staying safe.
    • You’ll generally be notified of a positive result within 48 hours after your sample was sent to the lab.
  • Negative Results
    • If your sample tests negative—meaning the virus was not detected—you will not receive any notification.
    • However, please remember that you could have been exposed to the virus after submitting your saliva sample. A negative test result only shows you were negative at the time you submitted the sample and doesn’t prove you are currently negative.

Testing Program Information

SUNY Poly’s COVID-19 Pooled Surveillance Testing provides a saliva test that is a hybrid of Yale SalivaDirect and the University of Illinois test. It has a false positive rate of less than 0.3%. The testing method is being facilitated by the University at Albany’s RNA Institute in collaboration with the School of Public Health. De-identified samples are processed in the Institute’s labs.


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