What Students Should Know: COVID-19 and Returning to Campus
As we return to campus in spring 2021, SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s first priority is the health and safety of our campus community, including its students, faculty, and staff. The best way to maintain the safest environment possible throughout 2021 and beyond is for each of us to take steps to minimize the risks, not only for ourselves, but also for all members of the SUNY community. This includes:
- Wearing face coverings (masks)
- Hand washing for more than 20 seconds, along with the use of hand sanitizer (containing 60-95% alcohol)
- Social distancing
- Participating in testing and tracing
- Completing daily screenings
- Being mindful of our surroundings and the impact we have
Any of us alone can spread this disease and cause harm to others. But all of us together can build a community that is safe and healthy, where educational success is possible.
Here’s what you need to know and do as SUNY and SUNY Poly welcome you to campus in 2021:
We will keep our campus community updated about the latest COVID-19 information and impact in a number of ways:
- Please monitor your SUNY Poly email daily for important updates. The most important information will be sent to you via e-mail.
- SUNY Poly’s COVID-19 resource webpage includes resources, communications, and safety information.
- Spring 2021 information and FAQs will be found here on the spring 2021 plan webpage.
- Please follow SUNY Poly’s social media channels which will share important information, updated procedures, and health/wellness guidelines:
- CNSE Facebook
- CNSE Twitter
Return to Campus Safely – Testing and Isolation Requirements
Albany Students - Before Coming to Campus:
- All newly enrolled and returning students (residential and commuter) must fill out the pre-screening form each day for the 14 days prior to your arrival.
- Please note: Students previously approved to be on campus who have participated in weekly pooled testing and remain in compliance with all COVID-19 measures are not required to complete the pre-arrival requirements.
- All newly enrolled and returning students will need to provide the results of a PCR molecular test (antigen and antibody tests will not be accepted) to the Wellness Center within 24 hours of receipt of the test results. The test must be taken no more than 7 days before arrival to campus.
- If a student has not submitted a negative test result before arriving to campus, access to campus will be restricted. Failure to follow the guidelines could lead to conduct charges/sanctions, up to and including permanent dismissal. See I(B) sanctions.
- All newly enrolled and returning students must engage in a self-quarantine for 7 days before arrival to campus. Please see New York State precautionary self-quarantine guidelines.
- These students will be required to attest that they have self-quarantined for the 7 days prior to arrival to campus by filling out the attestation form 24 hours before arrival.
- Limited exceptions to the 7-day precautionary quarantine include medical school and health professions students designated as “essential employees.” In addition, commuter students may apply to email@example.com for a limited exemption to allow them to work during the quarantine; documentation of the employer’s workplace COVID-19 safety protocols will be required. When not working, the student will be expected to engage in a precautionary quarantine from others.
- Students, faculty, and staff who have traveled to/from restricted states/regions or to/from international locations as defined by New York State must follow the New York State Travel Advisory whether living on- or off-campus—and attest that they have submitted the New York Traveler Health form before engaging in a 10-day quarantine (or testing out with negative results) and will follow the guidance of the governing local health department related to mandatory testing, quarantine/isolation, and timing of returning to campus.
Please note that as a result of the SUNY Poly-University at Albany Partnership, SUNY Poly Albany campus students will also be required to follow the University at Albany pre-arrival requirements and testing protocol, to include PCR submission. Please find more information here: https://www.albany.edu/covid-19/information-students, with links to upload student documentation, the UAlbany student health screening, and to register your pooled test kit here: https://www.albany.edu/covid-19.
Albany Students - Arrival to Campus 1/29 (New Students) and 2/1 (Returning Students):
- Before arriving to campus, fill out the Albany campus daily screening.
- All students (newly enrolled, returning, and those with continued intersession access) are required to participate in pooled surveillance testing at SUNY Poly’s Albany Campus on Feb. 1 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in NFE-1 (straight past the NFE first floor elevators after receiving your temperature screening and follow signs to the testing-view map). See schedule and information about what not to eat/drink, etc. before the test.
- Please fill out the testing app prior to taking part in pooled testing.
- Students who are unable to attend this initial pooled testing will be required to submit proof of a negative SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) PCR test result within five days of arrival to campus, with a precautionary quarantine until results are received.
- The test must be a PCR molecular test (antigen and antibody tests will not be accepted). Results must be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org within five days of the test being administered. Failure to comply will result in loss of access and possible conduct charges.
Get Screened Daily
Everyone, including students, coming to or on-campus (residential students), must complete a daily health screening:
- Albany campus students must fill out the screening form before accessing campus each day, as well as the UAlbany screening form when requiring access to the UAlbany campus.
Get Tested Regularly
Albany Campus - Regular Student Testing Through the University at Albany:
- In addition to the initial pooled testing at SUNY Poly’s Albany campus, the weekly pooled surveillance testing program through the University at Albany will continue. Register your UAlbany pooled test kit here.
- Participation in this pooled testing is mandatory for those students needing access to campus and failure to comply will result in loss of campus and lab access and possible conduct charges.
- Please note that everyone on campus must complete the daily screening questionnaire and temperature screening each day they plan to be on campus.
- See the full testing schedule for students.
Check the COVID-19 Dashboard
- SUNY maintains a comprehensive dashboard of COVID-19 testing and infection rate status across the system and at each campus.
- View SUNY Poly’s COVID-19 dashboard with daily and historical testing and case reporting.
Be Responsible – It’s Easy to Do Your Part
Each of us can take small steps to protect ourselves and the campus community. Because COVID-19 is highly contagious, these simple measures apply both on and off-campus:
- Wear face coverings (masks) at all times on campus, including in classrooms, conference rooms and other public spaces, even when you are able to maintain six feet of social distancing.
- Exceptions to this requirement include when students are (1) in their private residential or personal space, (2) eating meals on-campus while seated and socially distanced, or (3) by themselves in a location where no other persons are present. Please note, if you are in a classroom or other public space (e.g. library, fitness center), even if you are alone or socially distanced, face coverings are required. Faculty and staff are likewise exempt when alone in their office or other private spaces.
- Full details are provided in the SUNY Poly FAQ.
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer where soap and water are not available.
- Stay home when you are sick or have potentially been exposed to COVID-19.
- Practice social distancing at all times to reduce transmission.
If Exposed, Complete Mandatory Quarantine and Isolation
Students who test positive for COVID-19, have been exposed to individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, or are informed by a state or local health department, or a medical or campus official, that they are “at risk” for having COVID-19 will be required to quarantine or isolate. This includes taking classes remotely and not going to dining halls and other campus facilities. Please note that SUNY Poly will follow all New York State and local county health guidelines, which may be updated.
- The campus has specific information about restrictions. More information will be provided at that link.
- Residential students identified for quarantine and isolation will have access to assistance such as delivery of meals and medication. All students under quarantine and isolation will receive mental health, academic, and/or other supports, as needed.
Follow the Rules or Face Disciplinary Action
Students are expected to abide by the policies that have been set forth by SUNY, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and local and state health departments. When the campus learns of a violation of the rules associated with COVID-19 safety, students may lose access to campus facilities and/or campus housing. Other disciplinary actions may be taken by the Community Standards and/or Human Resources Offices. Student conduct is governed by the Student Code of Conduct.
Minimum sanctions are outlined in “Uniform Sanctioning in Response to COVID-19 Student Violations.”
SUNY Poly sanctioning guidelines are also outlined in the SUNY Poly 2020-2021 Student Handbook Addendum.
Consistent with SUNY policy, students who are partially or completely removed (suspension or dismissal) from the institution due to a violation are not eligible for refunds.
Take Care of Yourself – Physically and Mentally
We understand that this is an exceptionally challenging time. SUNY and SUNY Poly have resources to help you get the support you need. You can start here:
- SUNY Poly Counseling Services
- SUNY Poly Wellness Center
- SUNY Poly Care Team
- Albany Students—for more information, directions, or to make an appointment, visit the UAlbany Student Health Services (SHS) webpage.
- Counseling and Psychological Services (Albany-based students)
- ReachOut SUNY
- Middle Earth from the University at Albany
- New York State Office of Mental Health Crisis Text Line: Text GOT5 to 741741.
Understand What’s Being Offered On-Campus and Online
As of January 18, 2021, SUNY Poly has approximately 644 classes scheduled for the Spring semester. About 25% of the classes will include on-campus instruction, 50% will be remote synchronous instruction, and 25% will be asynchronously remote.
Additionally, the library and fitness center will be closed during the first week and may be extended based on guidance.
Get Instructional and Technology Help
ITS has provided a means to request software necessary for class work to meet the spring 2021 Academic Technology Requirements.
- Please contact ITS at email@example.com for information.
Request Accommodations for Disabilities
Students who wish to disclose covered disabilities and receive reasonable accommodations should contact the Office of Disability Services at SUNY Poly:
- You can complete the online form, which can be returned to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Other helpful forms can be found on our disabilities services forms page and can be submitted to email@example.com.
Follow Housing and Dining Updates
SUNY Poly—Albany Campus
- Residential students will continue to be housed at Freedom Apartments through the University at Albany (UAlbany) and will follow their residential protocol.
- Additional services provided through UAlbany include: dining (hours of operation will be shared via email), health and wellness services (including counseling), recreation, and on-campus transportation (residential students only). Find more information about keeping safe, academics, support for students, and UAlbany campus information here.
If We Must PAUSE, Follow These Rules
If SUNY Poly must switch to a two-week (or longer) PAUSE, the following rules apply:
- All classes and campus activities would move online to allow for the control of potential COVID-19 community spread.
- Campus housing would remain open and operational.
- Pooled testing would continue as scheduled.
- Students must remain in their residence halls, except with the approval of the local health department.
- If a residential student leaves campus during an official PAUSE, they must remain off site for the full duration of the PAUSE. A testing protocol and timelines will be outlined at the time of the PAUSE, and the residential student would be required to comply with all requirements to return to the residence hall after the PAUSE.
- Athletic and extracurricular activities would be suspended.
- Dining services would be provided as takeout only.
- The Wellness Center would remain open with telemed and telecounseling services available.
- Access to buildings would remain via card swipe and the Cayan library would be closed.
- Students with ongoing research will be required to make arrangements with their advisors. Critical research would continue with approval by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.
If We Pivot to Remote Instruction, Follow This Plan
If SUNY Poly must switch to remote instruction for the remainder of the semester, the following rules apply:
Academic operations in a remote (online) environment
- Professors will notify their students via email how they can access their remote learning environment.
- Facilities will be closed wherever possible, maintained at base operational levels, and only accessible to essential personnel.
- An emergency shutdown of Residential Life Operations may require students to make a complete residential move out. Please consider this as you pack for the spring semester. Albany campus residential students will follow the UAlbany move out protocol.
- The campus will consult and follow the guidance of local health departments in order to stop the potential spread of COVID-19.
- Students will be notified of the necessity to check out via SUNY Poly email and “call them all” text/phone notification.
- Students will also be notified via email and web postings about COVID-19 testing requirements.
- Checkout will be handled using a socially distanced structure, appropriate distancing and face coverings will be required.
- All students must vacate the residential complex within 48 hours of a presumed negative test result in the event of an emergency shutdown of Residential Life Operations.
- Residential students will utilize the housing portal to confirm their knowledge of the shutdown and to schedule a departure time. Students who are unable to depart campus immediately will be able to request an extended stay.
- In the event of an emergency shutdown, move-out assistance will not be permitted. Students are expected to depart campus immediately upon completion of the move-out process.
- Accommodations will be made for international students or those with special needs to remain on-campus.
- Following move out, Residential Life and Facilities staff will complete room inspections and end of semester cleaning.
Medically Isolated or Quarantined Students
- Students isolated or quarantined at the time of shutdown will remain in their assigned quarantine or isolation location until the Wellness Center and/or County DOH determine it to be safe for them to move out.
- All services will remain in place for isolated or quarantined students during shutdown.
Refunds of Housing Payments and Fees
- If the campus closes early in the event of a shutdown, students may receive a credit to their account or a refund for the days reduced.
- Students who choose to leave campus on their own, outside of an emergency shutdown, will not be eligible for a refund of housing costs and will follow the refund policy in place for housing.
- Broad Based fees will only be reduced if services or benefits cannot be provided. The Health Service and Technology fees will not be adjusted as these services can be provided either remotely or through an on-campus setting through the entire semester. The Intercollegiate athletic fee will be reduced in the Spring 2021 term, similar to the Fall 2020 term. This reduction will reflect the benefits not able to be offered to our students.
Changes and Updates:
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic creates a fluid situation that may require unexpected changes in our response. Updates to scientific knowledge, public health guidance, or laws and regulations may mean SUNY and SUNY Poly have to make changes to our standards and rules, including those indicated above. SUNY and SUNY Poly will try to minimize these changes and their impact. We will keep you informed of new developments.
Thank you in advance for everything you are doing—and will do—to make 2021 safe for you, your fellow students, and the campus community and beyond.