Reopening FAQs

This page is designed to provide the SUNY Poly community with up-to-date answers to frequently asked questions as we reopen our campuses to students, faculty, and staff. Note that these guidelines are subject to change based upon future guidance or mandates from SUNY or New York State.

When will students, faculty, and staff need to use their SUNY Poly ID card for Kunsela Hall and Cayan Library building access?

Beginning September 28, Kunsela Hall and the Peter J. Cayan Library will require students, faculty, and staff to use their SUNY Poly ID card to swipe for building access during specific hours.

Kunsela Hall

Students will be able to gain access to Kunsela Hall anytime its doors are locked by swiping their SUNY Poly ID card. This will ensure that students approved to be on campus continue to have 24-hour access to the computer lab. Please note that this change does not impact employee access to Kunsela, who can swipe in after hours.

Peter J. Cayan Library

Card readers have been installed at the library entrance. Starting Monday, Sept. 28, students, faculty, and staff who are approved to be on campus may enter by swiping your SUNY Poly ID card. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Your daily COVID-19 screening will also be checked upon entry.

  • Spaces have been reconfigured to encourage social distancing and cleanliness. Please clean your area, including any shared equipment, before and after use.
  • The library has computers and other spaces available that do not require advanced reservations. To reserve a study room, please do so here:   
  • Please note employees working in the library have extended hours of access as needed.

Completion of the daily screening,, will also determine access, which requires showing a “green check.” Those not participating in the testing program or submitting a negative PCR test will be unable to complete the daily screening which will prohibit access to campus.

Last Updated: Thu, September 24 2020 at 10:17 AM

Where on campus are face coverings required and when can they be removed?

Face coverings that cover both the nose and mouth are required at all times when social distancing is not possible. Face coverings unless otherwise exempted or prohibited, shall be worn inside all buildings, classrooms, shared laboratory areas, conference rooms, restrooms, elevators, hallways, corridors, entrances, common areas, lobbies, offices, etc., and outdoors when in crowded areas such as walkways, entrances, during fire drills, etc.

  • All students, faculty, and staff will be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or face covering inside all buildings and outside when distancing (at least six feet) cannot be achieved.
  • This includes wearing a face mask/covering at all times while attending in-person classes.
  • The only exception to this is when students, faculty, and staff are inside their residence hall room, their private home, or their private office.
  • Students, faculty, and staff should bring reusable cloth face coverings if they are able. We anticipate being able to provide two reusable cloth face coverings to each student and five reusable cloth face coverings to each employee upon arrival to campus. We will be sharing tips and guidelines on how to regularly take care of and wash face coverings, which is an important part of infection mitigation.

It is recognized that there may be times when faculty members need to clarify, demonstrate, or assist.  These times and interactions should be limited in duration with face coverings worn at all times. Reduced close contact interactions will help to reduce the risk of exposures if a faculty or student has COVID-19 and is contagious.

Am I allowed a “face covering break” while in class?
In general, face coverings should be worn through the class period. However, temporary removal to take a drink of water or a breath may be appropriate and necessary. These types of actions, though allowed briefly, should be limited.

How can a bandana be used as a face covering?
Review this document on how to use a bandana as a face covering (pdf) for guidance.

The list below indicates if a face covering needs to be worn ("yes") or if it does not need to be worn ("no") in specific spaces. Please be aware that if "no" is indicated for a specific campus space, you should always be prepared to quickly put on a face covering while on campus.

Campus Space Yes No
Classroom Yes  
Common Areas Yes  
Common Study Area Yes  
Computer Room Yes  
Conference Room Yes  
Corridor Yes  
Cubicle Yes  
Cubicle - at least 6 feet away from another person   No
Dining Spaces Yes  
Dining Spaces - while sitting down to eat   No
Elevator Yes  
Entrances Yes  
Hallways Yes  
Labs Yes  
Laundry Room Yes  
Lobbies Yes  
Office - alone   No
Office - with another person Yes  
Outdoors Yes  
Outdoors - at least 6 feet away from another person   No
Residence Hall Yes  
Residence Hall - in assigned room   No
Restroom Yes  
Stairways Yes  
Vehicle - alone   No
Vehicle - with another person Yes  
Walkway Yes  
Last Updated: Tue, September 15 2020 at 10:35 AM

Are there hours during which commuters and/or residential students can study in the library?

Starting September 7, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. commuting students as well as residential students are able to use the Utica campus library. To do so, they must have been part of a presumed negative pooled test result, or have received and submitted a negative SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) PCR test result from August 17 or later, and must have already successfully completed that day’s daily screening in order to show their resultant green check mark before entering.  
Services including library reference support (, tutoring and advising ( , information technology help ( and disability services ( are all available in the building, generally by appointment only. Students seeking a place to study or engage in a sync class can find and reserve a space by visiting the Library or using the room reservation system.

Last Updated: Thu, September 03 2020 at 03:50 PM

What academic accommodations may be provided to students who are or may be sick?

Any student who is or may be sick should contact the Wellness Center and stay in their residence. The Office of Student Advising (email: will work with each student, their faculty, and their faculty advisor to create an accommodative educational plan. While our goal is to provide full academic continuity, some classes that require experiential or laboratory-based learning may not be able to be completed online.

Last Updated: Tue, September 01 2020 at 09:54 AM

Should students, faculty, and staff follow a specific traffic flow in buildings on the Utica campus?

In response to New York State requirements and best practices for reopening the Utica campus, changes to building entry and exit, hallway, and stairway directions have been adjusted across campus including Kunsela Hall, Donovan Hall, Student Center, and Wildcat Field House.

Starting Monday, August 31st, these buildings will be marked with one-way entrances, exits, and stairway directions to support physical distancing of occupants.  Building and floor signs will indicate pedestrian traffic flow patterns.  

Please note, during any emergency condition, such as fire alarm activations, all doorways become accessible exits, and occupants of buildings are expected to leave using the nearest exit and report to the building muster /assembly point.

Utica Muster Emergency Assembly Locations (pdf)

Last Updated: Fri, August 28 2020 at 02:15 PM

Questions regarding Pooled Testing and Surveillance Testing: What is the pooled testing process? How do I take part in pooled testing?, etc.

How do I take part in required “pooled” COVID-19 testing if I am a student who commutes to campus at least once per week?

Testing is scheduled for the following dates and times:

  • Monday, August 31 (9am – 6pm)


  1. Before the day of the test, go to to register in advance (to save time the day of the test)
  2. The day of the test, complete your Daily Health Screening online: (
    1. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please do not come to campus; contact the Wellness Center at 315-792-7172 to arrange for alternate testing and further instructions
  3. Arrive at Oriskany Hall and park in the parking lot
    1. Bring your SUNY Poly Photo ID and Cell Phone or similar device (e.g. tablet) with WIFI or Cellular capability
    2. Wear your face covering
  4.  Follow signs for Testing – Ensure social distancing by standing on noted locations
  5. Here is a helpful video of the process:
  6. Go to “Registration Table 1” for Registration:
    1. You will show your ID and Phone – go to and login
      1. Your registration will include questions about eating, drinking, or other recent activities. Please note:
        1. Within the three hours before the test, you cannot brush your teeth or use mouthwash.
        2. Within 30 minutes before the test you cannot eat or drink anything, including mints, gum, or lozenges.
        3. Within 30 minutes before the test you cannot smoke or use smokeless tobacco products or e-cigarettes.
      2. Your registration will also include questions about any symptoms you are experiencing:
        1. Fever or chills
        2. Cough
        3. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
        4. Fatigue
        5. Muscle or body aches
        6. Headache
        7. New loss of taste or smell
        8. Sore throat
        9. Congestion or runny nose
        10. Nausea or vomiting
        11. Diarrhea
      3. If you indicate you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you will be directed to stop and you must not continue with the process. If so, you will be directed to:
        1. Contact the Wellness Center 315-792-7172 or
        2. Go to the special sample collection area for symptomatic individuals
    2. You will be asked to use hand sanitizer before being given a test kit
    3. You will scan or be provided a bar code number that you will enter into the log-in screen
    4. Once this is complete, you will be given your test vial and you can go to the next table when available.
  7. Go to Testing Table 2 to Begin the sample process.
    1. At this point you can take off your face covering for testing
    2. Take the vial you have and open the vial to expose the swab
    3. Following the instructions, rub the swab inside your mouth for 10-15 seconds – along your gum lines and under your tongue (sample collection video can be found here:
    4. Insert the swab into the tube and screw the cap on tightly
    5. Replace your face covering
    6. Shake the vial vigorously 15 times
    7. Give the vial to the attendant who will place it in the sample rack
    8. You can then use hand sanitizer and follow the directional arrows out of the building and return home.
    9. Following testing, you should limit your exposure to others and continue to follow social distance, face covering, and hygiene requirements in a temporary precautionary quarantine until your pooled results are presumed negative.  
  8. Pooled sample results:
    1. If results are presumed negative, you will be informed and you can continue to attend classes on campus.
    2. If results require further testing, you will be informed and provided with directions related to follow-up testing and quarantine/isolation requirements.

Are there short videos I can watch that help explain the COVID-19 pooled testing process?

  1. Student swabbing techniques -
  2. Pooling Day Process – Greeter / Attendants -
  3. Roll of Pooler -

Why is “pooled” testing for COVID-19 important?

Pooled testing will enable a number of students to be tested at a time by combining their individual samples that they each provide as they arrive on SUNY Poly’s Utica campus. This saves testing resources, and adds an extra “layer” of knowledge so that those in a COVID-19 “requires further testing” pool can be further tested to help limit the potential spread of COVID-19.

Testing is one component of SUNY Poly’s holistic set of protocols to foster health and safety, and complements population density reduction efforts; academic calendar adjustments; requirements such as six foot social distancing and wearing a face covering at all times, except when in residence or one’s office; along with detailed pre-arrival and daily screenings; as well as contact tracing and quarantine as needed, for example. Telehealth and telemedicine, including mental health resources, are also available.

Who must take part in “pooled” testing for COVID-19?

Any student who plans to be on SUNY Poly’s Utica campus for the fall 2020 semester is required to be tested in a “pooled” capacity. If a student cannot attend one of the scheduled sessions, they must submit a negative SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) PCR test result from August 17 or later (see related FAQ: “What if I cannot make it to the pooled COVID-19 testing time/location that pertains to me?”). 

Do I need to take part in “pooled” COVID-19 testing if my classes are 100% online during the fall semester?

Students who do not have any on-campus classes during the fall semester must participate in pooled testing or provide a negative PCR test result if they anticipate being on campus in any capacity this semester. This includes use of library, computer labs, fitness center, Poly Pantry, etc.

What if I cannot make it to the pooled COVID-19 testing time/location that pertains to me?

If you are unable to take part in the pooled testing options being provided free of cost to Utica campus students, you will need to submit proof of a negative SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) PCR test result from August 17 or later. Meaning, the test results were normal and showed the virus was not detected. The test must be a PCR molecular test or an antigen test; antibody tests will not be accepted. This requirement is due prior to arrival to campus.

All students can visit the New York State Department of Health’s website to find a nearby test site. Students are responsible for arranging for testing and paying associated costs, if applicable. If you go to a test site run by New York State, there is never any charge for your test. Students living in New York State may also contact the New York State COVID-19 hotline to schedule a test by calling 1-888-364-3065.

Proof of a negative test can be submitted to the Wellness Center by Fax at 315-792-7371 or by email at

What happens if I am part of a pooled COVID-19 test that requires further testing?

If results are require further testing, you will be informed and you will be provided with directions related to follow-up testing and quarantine/isolation requirements.  

What happens if I am part of a pooled COVID-19 test that is presumed negative?

If results are presumed negative, you will be informed and you can continue to attend classes on campus.

Can I attend classes in-person if I am awaiting the results of my pooled COVID-19 test?

You will be able to attend in-person on-campus activities once a negative test result is confirmed.

I am a minor, is there any additional information I should be aware of as I go through the pooled testing process?

If you are still a minor, you must make sure a Parental Consent Form is filled out, which you can receive by emailing Please make sure it is signed and return to the same email address.

If I already have a negative COVID-19 PCR test, from August 17 or after, can I submit that instead of having to take part in the pooled testing process?

A negative test would be acceptable instead of pooled testing. (See the following FAQ for details: “What if I cannot make it to the pooled COVID-19 testing time/location that pertains to me?”).

How long will it take for pooled testing results to return?

Results from pooled tests are expected within approximately 48 hours.

How much does the pooled COVID-19 test cost? What am I expected to pay?

SUNY Poly is paying for this health service; there is no out-of-pocket cost to students for pooled testing.

Will SUNY Poly conduct surveillance testing?

  • To help avoid symptomatic confusion between flu and COVID-19, all students and employees will be strongly encouraged to have flu vaccines.  
  • All residential and non-residential students as well as SUNY Poly employees may be asked to conduct a 5-7 days precautionary quarantine at home prior to returning to campus. If COVID-19 symptoms develop, refer to below procedures for testing, contact tracing and quarantine. If asymptomatic, the individuals can return to campus following the guidance below.
  • Pooled testing will be provided to students who need access to the Utica campus, with about 12 people in each group (the group size may vary based on local infection rate at the time of campus re-opening).
  • Residential students can be grouped based on living arrangements such as living in the same suite or on the same floor. Non-residential students can be grouped based on both living arrangements and class arrangements such as living in the same apartment or being in the same study groups. Employees can be grouped based on office locations, work duties, and schedules.
  • If a group has tested negative, the entire group can return to campus. If a group tests positive, each member in the group will be required to be tested individually.

COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Information (pdf)

Last Updated: Thu, August 27 2020 at 06:05 PM

For in-person classes, are printed handouts/tests, or other paper-based materials allowed?

Printed materials may be used as the risk is low, but out of an abundance of caution, online materials are encouraged. Additionally, faculty might choose to allow student document pickup on the way into the room, for example, with drop off to a box on the way out; faculty could then wait a day or two before handling, washing hands/using hand sanitizer afterwards, however, this is not required.

Last Updated: Fri, August 21 2020 at 01:28 PM

What are the Utica campus dining services hours of operation for the fall 2020 semester?

Campus Center

The hours of operation for the resident dining hall in the Campus Center on the Utica campus are:

  • Monday - Thursday - 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday - 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday - 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Poly Pizza: Monday - Saturday - 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Monday through Sunday from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. the resident dining hall will be closed to seating for cleaning and disinfecting between the lunch and dinner meal periods. However, students can still get something to eat at the Poly Pizza counter in the Campus Center lobby during that time if needed and will have a variety of choices to choose from.

Student Center

  • Monday - Friday - 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday - 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. for only the Grill, Tres Habaneros, and Simply To Go
Last Updated: Tue, October 20 2020 at 10:14 AM

Where can employees pick up SUNY Poly-provided face coverings and hand sanitizer?

In our effort to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread on campus, SUNY Poly will be providing cloth face coverings and hand sanitizer to all employees and students.

Utica campus

Beginning Tuesday, August 4, the University Police Department will have a package of washable/reusable cloth face coverings (5) and NYS Clean hand sanitizer spray bottles (2) available for all SUNY Poly Utica campus-based employees who have not already received these materials.

Student Affairs will distribute face coverings and hand sanitizer to residential students starting with  their return to campus. Commuter students can receive face coverings and hand sanitizer at the time they come for pooled testing.

During normal business hours and upon your return to campus, SUNY Poly employees may go to the UP office or Gallery area outside the Bookstore in Kunsela Hall to obtain your materials. Students (such as commuters) who did not yet receive their materials when they are initially provided, may also  go to the same location during those hours to receive your face coverings/sanitizer for the semester.

Please follow social distancing requirements when waiting for distribution of your materials.

Albany campus
A package of washable/reusable cloth face coverings (5) for each Albany campus-based SUNY Poly employee and a package of face coverings (2) for each Albany campus-based student, in addition to NYS Clean hand sanitizer spray bottles (1) will be available for those who have not already received these materials. These items will be available starting Monday, August 17, for employees, and beginning Monday, August 24, for students.

To receive your face coverings upon your return to campus:

  • From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, undergraduate students may go to the Student Services suite, located on the 3rd Floor of NanoFab South.
  • From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, graduate students may go to the Graduate Studies suite (4301), located in NanoFab East.
  • From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, SUNY Poly employees may go to the President’s Office Suite (NFE 4105). Additional dates and times for employees can be scheduled by contacting Stephanie Lee at

All SUNY Poly employees and students can also obtain a hand sanitizer bottle in the NFE Rotunda during their temperature screening, with refills available in the same location. Please follow social distancing requirements when waiting for distribution of your materials.  

Employees and students may utilize face coverings they have obtained from other sources while on campus. However, the face coverings should meet CDC and NYSDOH guidelines by fitting snugly on one’s face, covering the nose and mouth, being made of multiple layers, and not having an unfiltered breath valve.  

If you have any questions regarding face coverings or other COVID-19 issues, please visit the SUNY Polytechnic Institute COVID-19 webpage to review available resources:

Last Updated: Wed, August 19 2020 at 11:47 AM

When is the Utica campus bookstore opening?

The bookstore will be reopening on Thursday 8/20 at 9:00 a.m. with limited capacity for social distancing.

Last Updated: Mon, August 17 2020 at 02:35 PM


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