SUNY Polytechnic Institute Academic Continuity
and Health and Safety Plan
Spring Term 2022
The State of New York and the entire nation continue to navigate the logistical and health challenges that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic that continues as a result of several viral variants. As SUNY Poly seeks to maintain the highest level of public health and safety, this plan looks to provide the maximum in-person educational experience possible. As federal, state, local, and SUNY health guidance changes, so too will SUNY Poly’s approach, which has been established and responsive to active campus needs through wide-ranging community stakeholder input.
This plan follows SUNY System Administration and NYS Department of Health guidance. Further details can be found in the FAQs. 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.
2. Masks and Social Distancing
SUNY Poly faculty, staff, students, and visitors must wear a face covering at all times while indoors on campus, except in those locations which are usually exempted such as in a student’s dorm room, in an employee’s enclosed office, when alone in a private space, or when seated and actively eating and drinking. When alone in office settings, face coverings should be readily available to don when others enter the workspace. This requirement will be reassessed and the community will be updated about any changes. For more detailed information, visit the related FAQ.
- Special consideration. Pursuant to the CDC, “A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.)” may submit a request to Disability Services at email@example.com (students) and Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org (employees) for consideration of an exemption from mask wearing based on a medical accommodation, regardless of vaccination status. These individuals should be aware of the risk posed by not wearing a mask in certain situations, and should take extra precautions to protect themselves (e.g., social distancing).
- Community transmission. Additional requirements may be imposed based upon the increasing COVID-19 transmission rates on campus or in the surrounding counties.
3. Event Capacity Limits
The State of New York’s COVID-19 restrictions remain in effect for large-scale indoor event venues—now defined as indoor venues that hold more than 5,000 attendees. Because no indoor SUNY Poly facility holds more than 5,000 attendees, at this time events/gatherings may be held consistent with the State’s implementation of the CDC guidelines.
All individuals over the age of four, regardless of vaccination status must continue to wear face coverings and practice social distancing where possible within on-campus venues or while traveling to and attending SUNY Poly-approved events/engagements. Certain events/gatherings may require proof of vaccination or a negative diagnostic COVID-19 test result. Additional guidance may be provided at the event, or in advance, as is possible.
See the “SUNY Polytechnic Institute—Utica Campus: Event Guidance for Student Activities and Other Event Coordinators—COVID-19 Considerations” document for more details on event protocols.
4. Mandatory Vaccination for Students and Vaccination Management System
More Information-The Definition of “Fully Vaccinated”: Please see the FAQ regarding full vaccination for the latest definition.
Effective August 23, 2021, all SUNY Poly students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This mandate is in effect for any SUNY Poly student coming to any SUNY Poly campus or facility for any reason during the 2021-22 academic year, and went into effect upon the FDA granting final approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on August 22, 2021. Once a student receives their full COVID-19 vaccination (two weeks past final dose), they must submit proof to the Wellness Center, Suite 217 Campus Center, by fax: (315) 792-7371, or by emailing: email@example.com if they have not done so already.
- If you are currently in the process of vaccination and chose to receive the one-dose Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or other authorized vaccine series, you must provide proof of your full vaccination immediately upon completion and this must be prior to the start of academic classes (January 18, 2022), or earlier if engaging in early return campus activities (orientation/intercollegiate athletics) or moving into the Residence Halls. Once your vaccination series is complete, please provide documentation to the Wellness Center by January 1, 2022.
Acceptable proof of vaccination includes: a picture or photocopy of the front of the vaccination card or a screenshot of an Excelsior Pass.
- As a result of the Governor’s December 2021 announcement, COVID-19 booster shots are now also required for students in order to be considered fully vaccinated and take part in any on campus activities.\
- SUNY Poly requires the booster by January 30, 2022, or within 30 days of booster eligibility.
- If you have recently been diagnosed as COVID-19 positive, you may still be eligible to receive your booster after your symptoms have resolved, and within 90 days after your diagnosis. It MUST be received no later than the conclusion of 90 days after diagnosis.
- Please see this CDC booster shot resource to see the earliest time you are able to receive your booster.
- To access the form for COVID Booster and Pre-Arrival Test Submission:
Log into Banner, select Student and Financial Aid, Select Housing and Dining. For spring 2022, we are also using this portal to collect residential, commuter, and off-campus COVID-19 booster status/documentation and pre-arrival tests.
- Once in the housing portal, select applications on the left and COVID-19 Pre-Arrival Test and Booster Submission.
- Please use this portal to enter your vaccine status, and if you have received the booster, upload your booster documentation immediately, if you have not done so already. If you find it more convenient, you can alternatively send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students will be required to submit appropriate documentation to the Wellness Center: email@example.com.
Vaccinations for the SUNY Poly campus community will help us to experience full and active participation in the life of the campus community. High vaccination rates can reduce the risk of exposures to COVID-19 on campus and provide a healthier and safer living and learning experience.
Students who choose not to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 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 are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 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 be fully vaccinated and is not approved for an exemption.
If you are 100% online and will not be physically present on campus during the Spring 2022 semester for any reason (which includes office hours, athletics, working on campus, or to utilize services such as the library, fitness center, gym, or dining), you are required to complete the Fully Remote Attestation.
In very limited circumstances students may request an exemption from the COVID-19 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 had until December 6, 2021, to submit an exemption request by utilizing the medical (available from firstname.lastname@example.org) or religious exemption (available from email@example.com) request forms. Detailed information was required to be provided. New students or those with extenuating circumstances prohibiting them from submitting an exemption request by the deadline must notify Wellness (medical) or Student Affairs (religious) immediately. Students who fail to comply with the vaccination mandate or who did not receive an approved exemption will be unenrolled from on-campus coursework.
Please view the following policy from SUNY: COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
Please note, any individuals (including students who are approved as exempt) who are not fully vaccinated are expected to continue to follow all COVID-19 safety requirements (e.g., masks) AND when possible in dining halls, events, or classrooms settings, provide at least 6-feet social distance from others.
5. Daily Health Screening
To assist with potential contact tracing and support other health-focused efforts, SUNY Polytechnic Institute is requiring all faculty, staff, and students to screen for (1) COVID-19 symptoms, (2) recent close contacts, and (3) a recent positive COVID-19 test result, regardless of individual vaccination status. Screening is available here: https://sunypoly.edu/covid19/screening.html.
- Albany campus students and employees must screen daily; visitors must screen onsite.
- Utica campus students and employees must screen daily; information for visitors is also available at the link above.
- As indicated above, students who are planning to be on campus to attend class must also check into their seat for each class by filling out this online screening form (this satisfies the daily screening requirement).
In addition, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to perform daily self-health screenings for infectious illnesses, including COVID-19. Anyone with signs or symptoms of infectious illness is asked to stay home when sick and/or seek medical care, or, if a residential student, contact the Wellness Center at (315) 792-7172. Albany campus students should contact Student Health Services at (518) 442-5229.
6. Mandatory Pause Requirements
The NYS requirements for a mandatory pause are no longer in effect. However, should SUNY Poly need or be required to pause campus activities in cases of increased community transmission, in-person activities may move online or be cancelled as necessary, and updates with protocols for faculty, staff, and students would be provided by email along with alerts via social media.
7. Cleaning Protocols
While the New York State mandatory cleaning and disinfection protocols are no longer in effect, SUNY Poly will continue to assess and ensure that all cleaning protocols are in compliance with NYSDOH Higher Education Guidance and CDC guidance (Interim Guidance for Higher Education during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes).
Additional resources regarding cleaning/disinfecting and protecting oneself include:
The Facilities Department is utilizing current public health guidance to maintain and update best practices for cleaning and disinfection in coordination with EHS. Custodial staff will be assigned to increase frequency of cleaning in high-traffic locations, such as classrooms, hallways, restrooms, public reception areas (to include common areas in residence halls), and elevators. Custodial staff will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least once per day and regularly clean and disinfect other surfaces as necessary given the level of traffic and needs for the space.
Products used for disinfection routines will be EPA/NYSDEC-approved to be effective against COVID-19. Custodial staff are trained on the appropriate use of cleaning and disinfection chemicals and wear appropriate PPE. SUNY Poly will provide hand hygiene stations and supplies across both campuses for individuals. Specifically, this includes: hand washing supplies, such as soap, running water, and disposable towels or hand sanitizing liquid, such as alcohol-based sanitizer with 60 percent or more alcohol where hand washing may not be available or practical.
Self-use cleaning/disinfecting materials are available in many locations/classrooms that can be used by an individual to disinfect the workstation, computer keyboard and mouse, desktop or other surface.
8. Ventilation and Air Filtration
SUNY Poly is increasing outdoor airflow (ventilation rates) in indoor settings to the extent it is compatible with individual comfort and safety, equipment capabilities, and in accordance with building codes and standards, as well as applicable lease, contract, or other use agreement requirements.
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.
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 continue to use the Building Management Systems to increase the ventilation rates, further mitigating risk. Similarly, SUNY Poly is increasing ventilation rates and has replaced 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.
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.
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.
9. COVID-19 Testing
Fully Vaccinated Individuals: Fully vaccinated students and employees (including auxiliary workers and vendors with a regular on-campus presence) may opt-out from mandatory weekly testing upon the submission of documentation showing completion of a full vaccination series, understanding that the definition may be subject to change based on final recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC on booster shots. Biweekly surveillance testing of fully vaccinated individuals is required as a way to monitor and proactively manage potential breakthrough cases.
Unvaccinated/Partially Vaccinated/Vaccine Exempt Individuals: Mandatory weekly testing for this cohort will continue to be required for any person4 who has a physical presence on campus and who has not been fully vaccinated or who has not shown proof of vaccination. See below for more details.
In addition and subject to final New York State guidance, COVID-19 vaccines recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) are now accepted by SUNY Poly for purposes of determining vaccination status. See: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) | WHO - Prequalification of Medical Products (IVDs, Medicines, Vaccines and Immunization Devices, Vector Control).
- Surveillance Testing for Unvaccinated Individuals:
- This is scheduled to take place weekly.
- Surveillance Testing for Individuals who have Provided Proof of Full Vaccination:
- This is scheduled to take place biweekly.
- Symptomatic Cases. Diagnostic (PCR) testing of all symptomatic residential life students, including those who are fully vaccinated and who display COVID-related symptoms, will continue through the Wellness Center or other off-campus options. (Please note fees may apply).
- Contractors and Vendors: Must complete the Daily Visitor Screening any day they are on campus. Pursuant to SUNY guidance, regular presence and intermingling with the campus community require additional testing and/or vaccination requirements.
- Reporting. SUNY Poly will continue to report testing results daily through the SUNY Health Portal and may pre-fill entries for days (e.g. weekends) when no testing is done or is anticipated to be done. If test results are received following pre-filled entries, changes will be made upon receipt of the results.
- Noncompliance. Any incidents of non-compliance with campus testing will continue to be handled through SUNY Poly’s Student Code of Conduct (Community Standards Office) for students and Human Resources for employees.
- Additional Testing. SUNY Poly may impose more frequent testing of students and employees, regardless of vaccination status, based on conditions that may warrant additional measures.
Mandatory testing agreements for faculty and staff have been signed by UUP, PBANYS, and PEF to extend the agreements through Spring 2022; agreements for CSEA- and NYSCOPBA-represented employees are anticipated to be signed to similarly extend them through Spring 2022.
10. Pre-Semester Testing
All students planning to be on campus, including those with an approved COVID-19 vaccine exemption, must provide negative COVID-19 test results from within 72 hours prior to arrival to campus at the start of the semester. Information about how to submit your negative test will be forthcoming.
- Please note a negative diagnostic test, such as a molecular (RT-PCR), Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) or TMA (Rapid PCR), is the preferred method of testing.
- If you are unable to receive a molecular (RT-PCR), Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) or TMA (Rapid PCR) within the 72-hour time frame, you may provide a negative result from a rapid antigen (ag) test that was taken within 6 hours of your arrival to campus. A lab or pharmacy collected antigen test is preferred, but an at-home rapid antigen test will be accepted when other methods are unavailable.
- The at-home test result submissions must be time/date stamped and include a photo of both the student's SUNY Poly ID or Driver's License and the completed test kit with visible result.
- All residential students are required to test upon arrival to campus between Jan. 16 and 18, with regular testing starting on Jan. 18 or 19.
- More information about testing options and schedules are provided at the SUNY Poly student testing webpage.
Students who are present on campus at other times due to campus obligations (e.g., orientation, training, athletics participation, etc. may be required to participate in additional testing depending on the dates they will be present. Students who are part of any such cohort should monitor their email for related update communications.
On-campus testing submission begins Tuesday/Wednesday, January 18/19 for all students, faculty, and staff regardless of vaccination status, with commuter students starting the week after.
Please see the student testing webpage.
Please see the employee testing webpage.
11. Residence Halls, Quarantine and Isolation Space
As a result of updated CDC guidance, SUNY Poly has updated the required quarantine/isolation time for those impacted by COVID-19. Please see the latest CDC quarantine/isolation guidance here, and please see full details at SUNY Poly’s Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines webpage.
To meet these needs, on SUNY Poly’s Utica campus, Oriskany Hall is dedicated to quarantine/isolation only. There are 72 bedrooms with non-shared single bath access located at the residence hall complex, and SUNY Poly’s quarantine/isolation team provides all wrap-around services for those students who are designated for quarantine/isolation. These quarantine and isolation expectations are detailed here.
Similarly, Albany campus quarantine needs for residential students are met through the institution’s partnership agreement with the University at Albany.
12. Academic Calendar
All classes begin Tuesday, January 18, with a mid-semester break Sunday, March 13 through Sunday, March 20, 2022. Classes end Friday, April 29, followed by final exams from Monday, May 2 – Thursday, May 5, 2022.
13. College in High School
Students in concurrent enrollment programs must follow the health and safety guidelines and protocols of SUNY Poly. If the course is delivered at their high school, they must follow the local school district guidelines. If a student takes a course on campus, they must follow SUNY Poly’s guidelines, with the exception that high school students will only be subject to vaccine and testing requirements as designated by New York State local health departments and guidelines provided by local school districts.
14. Visitors and Guests
Visitors must follow any additional New York State or local health guidelines on capacity limits or other requirements as indicated in the Spring 2022 plan.
No visitors (non-students) are allowed in the residential halls at any time (with the exception of approved individuals providing required service, maintenance, or testing). The only guests (defined as other SUNY Poly students) permitted in the residence halls are other residential students within the standard guest parameters of Residential Life. Albany campus residential students must abide by UAlbany’s residential life protocols.
All other visitors, vendors, contractors, and consultants to the Utica campus must complete the Visitor Screening, (see contractor/consultant/vendor/visitor questionnaire & attestation form) and, if on campus regularly, must be fully vaccinated and/or have a testing plan in place with EHS (Unaffiliated Entity COVID-19 Testing Program Certification form). Please see the FAQ regarding full vaccination for the latest definition.
Albany visitors should follow NY CREATES protocols: more information is available on the NY CREATES website.
15. Campus Safety Monitors
SUNY Poly Campus Safety Monitors:
- Mike Frame, Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sean Clive, Director of Environmental Health & Safety—Utica Campus; email@example.com
SUNY Poly travel information should be reviewed before planning any travel. The New York State Department of Health refers travelers to the CDC for any requirements, restrictions, or recommendations on domestic and international travel. For domestic travelers, the individual should research the requirements of the state / locality they are traveling to and follow all applicable requirements.
For international travelers, the CDC website provides country-by-country breakdowns and expectations for traveler with a listing of prohibited travel from certain countries. In addition, the U.S. Department of State provides travel advisories for all countries or areas. SUNY Poly community members should review and follow these guidelines, recommendations, and requirements when considering or planning trips and travelling. Travelers should check for updates on a regular basis.
17. Mental Health
Given the unprecedented times for students, SUNY Poly is striving to increase support for mental health services among our campus community, including through the following initiatives and resources.
The SUNY Poly Wellness Center in Utica provides medical, counseling, and health promotion services to students. The Counseling Center is located in the Wellness Center (Campus Center, Suite 217). Individual work spaces and waiting rooms follow social distancing and face covering guidelines at all times.
- Counselors are available for individual in-person, telephone, and virtual (telecounseling and telepsych) counseling sessions. In-person and virtual group sessions may also be available. Appointments are required. Please call 315-792-7172 to make an appointment.
The SUNY Poly Albany campus students have counseling and psychological services provided by a contract with UAlbany. Appointments are required.
Counseling services are confidential, voluntary, and by student request. Counselors will only communicate with a parent/guardian if written consent is obtained from the student.
All students, residential and commuters, known to be in quarantine or isolation are contacted by SUNY Poly Quarantine and Isolation team staff providing information regarding available support services, including counseling. A follow-up email is sent, outlining the detailed services. Phone contact is continued throughout the quarantine and isolation period with the students to ensure health and academic success. Residential students also receive a phone call directly from a counselor, which includes a mental health assessment with follow-up care, if applicable.
Life challenges in addition to COVID-19 that are commonly addressed consist of: balancing personal life, work and/or college responsibilities, and college transition issues such as: roommate, relationship issues, adjusting to college life, homesickness, anxiety, depression, stress, anger, grief, and/or eating disorders, etc.
Crisis intervention services may be provided by our licensed counselors, with referrals to local mental health services for students at high or imminent risk of harm to self or others.
SUNY and SUNY Poly provide the additional, following resources to help students receive support:
- SUNY Poly Counseling Services
- Counseling and Psychological Services (Albany-based students)
- ReachOut SUNY
- Thriving Campus
- New York State Office of Mental Health Crisis Text Line: Text GOT5 to 741741
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255)
- Free online QPR suicide prevention training for students, faculty, and staff.
- Mobile Crisis Assessment Team - Utica Area (MCAT): (315) 732-6228
- Capital District Psychiatric Center Crisis Unit (Albany): (518) 549-6500
- SUNY Poly Wellness Center
- Student Health Services (Albany-based students)
- Middle Earth from the University at Albany
Additional Resources Include:
- SUNY Poly COVID-19 Page
- Oneida County Department of Health
- Albany County Department of Health
- NYS Department of Health
- NYS Hotline (General COVID-19): 1 (888) 364-3065
- New York State Hotline (Emotional Support): 1 (844) 863-9314
- Disaster Distress Helpline: (800-985-5990), or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
- Veterans Crisis Line: (800-273-8255 and press 1) or text 838255
- Trevor Lifeline: LGBTQ community: (866-488-7386) or text START to 678-678.
- For frontline workers dealing with anxiety, stress, fear, isolation, or other difficult emotions, text FRONTLINE to 741741
SUNY Poly’s Care Team is an additional resource for students, faculty, and staff to utilize to identify students of concern or in need of support. The Care Team, which meets weekly, addresses challenging, disruptive, or harmful behavior and situations by providing helpful interventions that are aimed at community safety and student success. Care exists to promote and maintain safety and health by identifying and assisting struggling students to become more connected to services. Some referrals may include mental health care and/or safety intervention.
SUNY Poly is committed to providing access to mental health resources for employees who are struggling during difficult times. The New York State Employee Assistance Program (EAP) helps state employees balance the demands of work, home, and life. EAP is a Work-Life Services benefit sponsored jointly by labor and management and is available to New York State employees and their families. To reach an EAP coordinator, please visit the NYS EAP website. The number to contact is 1-800-822-0244.
Below are some additional resources that may be useful for employees:
- NY Project Hope
- Tips for Mental Wellness
- Mental Health in the Next Phase of Coronavirus
- Coping with Grief
18. Intercollegiate Athletics
NCAA varsity intercollegiate athletics training and competition is scheduled to continue during the spring 2022 semester. All NCAA, CDC, SUNY, SUNY Poly, New York State, and regional health guidance and protocols will continue to be observed and enforced to ensure that the training and competition environment remains healthy and safe for participants and spectators.
19. What Students Should Know: Transparency
A robust, transparent return to campus plan for the spring 2022 semester at SUNY Poly’s Albany and Utica campuses has been developed, which will be shared with the campus community to provide a valuable roadmap to enable a successful academic and research term. As part of this effort, SUNY Poly will include the percentage of courses that will be offered in-person and virtually so that students can make informed decisions about their educational experience.
View What Students Should Know: COVID-19 and Returning to Campus for more information.