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As federal, state, local, and SUNY health guidance changes due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, SUNY Poly’s rules will also evolve as the institution receives new guidance and/or regulations are promulgated. SUNY Poly reserves the right to change its policy in regards to these matters and will provide updates as needed on the SUNY Poly website. To submit a question that may not be included on this webpage, please email

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

Pursuant to the September 3, 2021 Memorandum, “Updated Guidance for State Agency Telecommuting, COVID-19 Health Precautions, and Vaccination,” the following applies to all SUNY Poly campus facilities (this includes vehicles used for work activities with more than one individual present):

Use of Masks in State Offices and Facilities

Given changes in the CDC guidance and the resurgence in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, State agencies occupying offices and facilities – including both State-owned and -leased properties – that are either (1) located in a county with high or substantial transmission of COVID-19 as determined by the CDC or (2) located in a jurisdiction that is subject to a local government issued mask mandate(s) or order(s) shall require individuals who are indoors to wear masks regardless of vaccination status. This requirement shall apply to employees, contractors, vendors, visitors, clients, and all other individuals who enter the indoor premises of such properties.

Effective immediately for State agencies with workplaces in areas that are subject to indoor masking due to CDC transmission risk or local government order(s), all individuals must wear masks when indoors, regardless of vaccination status, except when:

  • Alone in an office or room
  • Working at their desk or workstation
  • Actively eating or drinking

This mask provision applies to state agency workplaces that do not already have a superseding mask requirement in place (e.g., health care facilities, nursing homes, public transit, correctional facilities, etc.).

Additional information on the applicable CDC guidance and links to access the latest county-level CDC transmission levels are available at

Am I allowed a “face covering break” while in class?
In general, face coverings should be worn through the class period. We ask students and faculty to refrain from eating and drinking in classrooms.  Straws may be used under masks to reduce the need for mask adjustment.

How can a bandana be used as a face covering?
In general, a single layer face covering is not acceptable. Review this document on how to use a bandana as a face covering (pdf) for guidance. Please note, “neck gaiters” or similar style single layer face coverings do not provide adequate protection and should be double or triple layered if possible. If that cannot be done, an alternate approved face covering should be used.

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 Areas Yes  
Computer Room Yes  
Conference Room Yes  
Corridor Yes  
Cubicle / work station Yes  
Cubicle / work station - at least 6 feet away from another person   No
Dining Spaces Yes  

Dining Spaces - while eating, seated, preferably at least 6 feet away from another person. When not actively eating or drinking, or walking in the dining space, face coverings must be in place.

Elevator Yes  
Entrances Yes  
Hallways Yes  
Labs Yes  
Laundry Room Yes  
Lobbies Yes  
Office - alone   No
Office - with another person Yes  
Outdoors Yes** No**
Residence Hall Yes  
Residence Hall - in assigned room   No
Restroom Yes  
Stairways Yes  
Vehicle - alone   No
Vehicle - with another person Yes  
Walkway Yes  
Work areas - with others in the room Yes  
Work area - alone   No

** If alone outdoors and at least 6 feet away from others no face covering is required, however, a face covering should be readily available to don when in crowded settings or in settings or events where face coverings are specifically required. Face coverings are recommended outdoors when social distancing is not possible.

Last Updated: Wed, September 15 2021 at 04:39 PM

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If I plan to visit SUNY Polytechnic Institute, what must I do to comply with current COVID-19 related protocols?

Utica Campus Visitors

All visitors (including contractors, consultants, vendors, and other visitors) to the Utica campus should review the visitor screening webpage and abide by all expectations:

As part of the protocols outlined at the webpage above:

  • The visitor screening must be completed by all contractors, consultants, vendors, and visitors who will have a physical presence on the SUNY Poly Utica campus inside buildings or working on facilities / grounds with SUNY Poly community members (e.g., employees, students, tenants). This includes subcontractors, suppliers, service personnel, guest speakers, accommodation assistants, tour participants, etc.
    • Note: This procedure and form submission do not apply to personnel providing deliveries. Please click the link for more details.
  • Each visitor must have a sponsor/host (an office or official).
  • The screening must be completed the day of the scheduled visit before arrival to campus.
  • All visitors are required to sign in and out at the sponsor/host office (during regular hours) or the University Police Office (B126 Kunsela Hall).
  • Please be aware of social distancing, face covering, and other requirements, which are also outlined on the screening webpage links above and below.
  • There are also expectations for visitors to notify their sponsor/host if their health status changes following their visit.
  • Full screening information, form (and how to submit) as well as additional protocols are available at:

Regular visitors (those individuals who are on campus more than once and on a regular basis) are expected to comply with the Unaffiliated Entity requirements (Unaffiliated-Entity-Testing-Plan-Certification-6-30-2021.pdf ( including certification of vaccination and/or testing program.   

Additional requirements may be enacted depending on federal, state, or local health regulations or local conditions.  Please check with the sponsor/host in advance of the visit in case requirements have changed.  

Albany Campus Visitors

Albany campus visitors must screen onsite and follow NY CREATES protocols. This includes checking in with security when arriving to campus (Park in the Visitor Lot after checking in at the guard shack in front of NanoFab East (NFE) and proceed to the security desk inside NFE.)

Last Updated: Thu, September 09 2021 at 11:55 AM

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Can students in my classroom be placed together for discussions and group activities?

Yes, this is possible with fully masked students. However, the length of time individuals spend together at distances less than 6-feet may impact follow-up protocols if one of the students is found to be COVID-19 positive.

Last Updated: Mon, August 30 2021 at 04:34 PM

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How is indoor air quality being addressed on the Utica and Albany campuses?

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Epidemic Task Force has continued to assess and shared the potential for airborne transmission of COVID-19 within buildings.

To that end, SUNY Poly continues to follow the current and emerging guidelines regarding mechanical and ventilation systems. SUNY Poly is using a combination of increased outside air, which reduces the volume of potentially impacted air being recirculated, in addition to running the ventilation systems longer and increasing particulate filtration.
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, commonly known as MERV, is a measurement scale designed by the ASHRAE to indicate air filter effectiveness. For reference, most existing commercial buildings typically have installed filters with MERV-8 to MERV-11 ratings that remove dust, pollen, mold spores, and smog. Please note that any air system by itself is not intended to address infection control. However, based on current guidance, proper ventilation, when deployed with strong community efforts related to social distancing, the use of face coverings, and proper hand washing, will help foster an indoor environment that can lower risks for the potential spread of COVID-19.
Because the air handlers in the Cayan Library, Student Center, Field House, and Campus Center were designed for and currently use MERV-13 or 14 filters, those buildings will utilize the Building Management Systems to increase the ventilation rates, further mitigating risk. Similarly, SUNY Poly is increasing ventilation rates and is replacing the existing MERV-8 filters with MERV-13 filters in Kunsela and Donovan Halls. ASHRAE recommends schools and universities install filters with a minimum rating of MERV-13 (or the maximum MERV the system can handle) to improve air filtration and slow the transmission of viruses in HVAC systems, and SUNY Poly is meeting or exceeding this recommendation.
Air Exchanges (state buildings):
We normally (i.e., pre-COVID-19) ventilate with a minimum of 15% outdoor air. The current recommendation from the SUNY HVAC Task Force is to double the minimum outdoor air to 30%. These are the recommended minimums and we will normally provide more outside air, unless weather conditions require it to be lowered in order to maintain comfort in the building.
Residence Halls:
Adirondack and Mohawk residence halls are not designed with air handler systems (systems that operate to heat, cool, and ventilate building space). Instead, the buildings have baseboard radiant heat and natural ventilation through doors and windows. Mohawk residence hall does have air conditioning units that provide cooling and mechanically ventilate the room when turned on by the occupant.

The new Hilltop Hall residence hall has a robust, energy efficient heating and cooling system using ground-source geothermal heat pumps. For ventilation, the building has an energy recovery unit that is controlled to increase outdoor air use and increase fresh air exchanges in the building. The final filter for these units is a MERV-13 filter.

The Oriskany Hall energy recovery units are fitted with a minimum of MERV-13 main filters.  For ventilation, the building has energy recovery units that are controlled to increase outside airflow rates and fresh air exchanges.

Classrooms and Laboratories:
The campus is maximizing outdoor air with the building's air handling and control systems. In order to manage building conditions, occupant comfort, and air exchanges, windows should not be opened in buildings. Fume hoods are expected to be operated as designed and are typically operated 24/7 especially if chemicals are maintained within the hood. Changes to Fume Hood operation should be reviewed with the Facilities Department to ensure proper air flows for occupant protection. Snorkel or localized fume removal systems (e.g. Additive manufacturing) must be operated any time equipment is being used where fumes or vapors may be released (e.g. 3D printing). Laboratories with exhaust hoods will exhaust air directly outside (i.e., air is not recirculated), and these labs are connected to a Make-up Air Unit (MAU) that takes outside (exterior) air in, heats or cools it if needed, and discharges it to the lab to replace the exhausted air.

Pre-COVID and COVID HVAC Operation - Utica Campus

Per CDC and SUNY guidance, the SUNY Poly Utica campus continues to take measures to reduce the airborne concentration of the COVID virus.  An important part in this effort is the increased use of outdoor air ventilation rates and the improvement of HVAC filtration to MERV-13 or higher.  Additionally, the campus keeps the air handling systems running longer, starting a minimum of 1-2 hours before occupancy, continuously throughout the day, ending 1-2 hours after occupancy (i.e., the last scheduled class or event).  When outdoor conditions allow, air handling systems will run 24/7 to continuously ventilate with up to 100% outside air.  

During pre-COVID operations, the outdoor air ventilation component was set at approximately 15% (i.e., 85% of the indoor air was recirculated).  Starting in 2020, the use of outdoor air was increased to 30%, doubling the amount of outdoor air provided to building occupants*. 

Air flow rates provided to each space have been designed to comply with NYS code and ASHRAE guidelines.

  Pre-COVID HVAC Operation COVID HVAC Operation
HVAC Filtration MERV 8, MERV-13 and MERV-14 MERV-13 and MERV 14
HVAC Run Time Varied 14-16 Hours
Outside Air Setting
(Ventilation Rate)
15% 30%
Minimum ACH 6
(0.9 ventilation ACH, 5.1 recirculation ACH
(1.8 ventilation ACH, 4.2 recirculation ACH)

* Maintenance of indoor temperatures and system performance may require the outdoor air volume to be reduced during periods of extreme weather.

Albany Campus

To contribute to a safer and clean environment, air handlers are regularly inspected, including visual assessment of interior cleanliness and filter status. Units are continuously monitored through the site automation system with a special emphasis on pressure drops across the filters. This is used to continuously verify filter effectiveness. Prior to COVID-19, many units already had a strategy in place to minimize outside air based on CO2 levels in the space for energy savings – this feature has since been turned off to provide maximum outside air. Where possible, these maximum limits were increased to contribute to more fresh air into the spaces. Additionally, where possible, unit filters have been upgraded to the highest achievable filtration efficiency. To contribute to continuous introduction of fresh air into spaces, the air handling systems on the site operate 24/7 with no setback or reduction at off hours.

Please see below for filter type based on each Albany building:

  • NFE: MERV-11
  • NFS: MERV-11
  • CESTM: MERV-11 and MERV-13
  • NFX: MERV-11
  • ZEN: MERV-11 and MERV-15

Last Updated: Wed, August 25 2021 at 04:42 PM

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What if I have not yet received the COVID vaccine, but will get vaccinated given the SUNY mandate?

If you choose to receive the one-dose, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine:

  • You have until Tuesday, August 31, 2021 to receive the one-dose vaccination. You must send proof of this vaccination to no later than Friday, September 3.

If you choose to receive a two-dose vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna):

  • If you choose to receive Pfizer, you must receive your first dose no later than Friday, September 3, 2021. You must send proof of this partial vaccination to no later than Wednesday, September 8, 2021. You have until Friday, September 24, 2021, to receive the second dose. Once your second dose is complete, you must send proof to no later than Wednesday, September 29, 2021.
  • If you choose to receive Moderna, you must receive your first dose no later than Monday, August 30, 2021. You must send proof of this partial vaccination to no later than Friday, September 3, 2021. You have until Monday, September 27, 2021, to receive the second dose. Once your second dose is complete, you must send proof to no later than Friday, October 1, 2021.

Any of the three above vaccines currently available in the U.S. (Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer or Moderna) or any World Health Organization approved vaccine will meet the vaccination requirement. SUNY Poly students can register for a vaccine at any site and are responsible for scheduling their own appointments.

In addition, a vaccination clinic is planned for SUNY Poly students in Utica on Wednesday, September 1 and Thursday, September 2.  Detail will be available shortly on the clinic.   

SUNY Poly students in Albany can use the state's Am I Eligible? app to request an appointment at any state-run site.  Locally, there is a state-run vaccination site at Crossgates Mall.

Information about vaccination can be found at the links below:  

Last Updated: Wed, August 25 2021 at 02:22 PM

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What if I do not want to receive the COVID vaccine and will drop all of my in-person classes?

If you have not and do not plan to receive a COVID vaccine, you must drop your in-person classes via BannerWeb. If you are not vaccinated, you are permitted to enroll in online courses only (no in-person classes) and are not permitted to access any in-person campus activities or services.

No remote learning options are available for students who do not want to receive a COVID-19 vaccine outside of any courses already offered remotely. Students may not request a change in course modality to avoid receiving a COVID-19 vaccination, and faculty cannot accommodate such requests received. In addition, students should be aware that the SUNY tuition and fee refund policy remains in effect for any student who refuses to receive a vaccine and is not approved for an exemption.

Please review the academic calendar so that you are aware of tuition liability and add/drop deadlines.  If dropping your in-person classes results in moving from full-time to part-time status, please contact Financial Aid if you have any questions about your aid.

In very limited circumstances you may request an exemption from the COVID vaccination requirement for medical or other reasons. Any SUNY Poly student with a legitimate and documentable medical or other reason why they cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine has until Monday, August 30, 2021, to submit an exemption request by utilizing the medical (available from or other exemption (available from request forms. Detailed information must be provided. Students whose exemption request is denied will have five calendar days after receiving the exemption denial to receive their first vaccine dose and provide documentation to

Last Updated: Tue, August 24 2021 at 04:30 PM

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What if I have already received the COVID vaccine, but have not submitted proof of vaccination?

If you have already received your COVID vaccine, submit your proof of vaccination to as soon as possible, but no later than Friday, September 3, 2021. Proof of vaccination of a two-part series is the completion of both doses.

Acceptable proof of vaccination includes: a picture or photocopy of the front of the vaccination card or a screenshot of an Excelsior Pass.

Last Updated: Tue, August 24 2021 at 04:29 PM

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Are the Utica residence hall lounges and kitchens open?

Kitchens and lounges are all open for resident students only.

Last Updated: Mon, August 23 2021 at 11:00 AM

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Do employees need permission to enter specific buildings or classrooms?

Access to all buildings is provided through the University Police. It is assumed that once you are given access to the building, you will maintain access throughout the semester. If specific requirements are put in place requiring requests for access, all employees will be notified.


Last Updated: Fri, August 20 2021 at 10:23 AM

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What happens if a sick employee reports to campus?

Any employee who is presenting infectious illness (e.g., COVID-19) symptoms should not report to their on-campus workplace. Employees should report their condition to their supervisor and Human Resources and immediately seek medical guidance and/or testing for COVID-19.

If an employee is symptomatic upon arrival at work or becomes sick with infectious illness (e.g., COVID-19) symptoms while at the workplace, absent close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19, the employee must return home immediately and may return to work upon completing at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms OR upon receipt of a negative COVID-19 test result.

CDC Guidance for COVID-19 Symptoms and the flu -

Negative Test Result: Individuals who become symptomatic but have a negative COVID-19 test results should continue to stay home or in isolation while sick and consult their health care provider about the need for additional testing and when to resume normal activities.

Positive Test Result: Employees who have tested positive must self-isolate until the Department of Health clears them to return. They must notify Human Resources immediately and inform their supervisor they will not be reporting to work on campus. Supervisors must not disseminate this information to others.


Last Updated: Thu, August 19 2021 at 03:51 PM

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