SUNY Poly in 2021: Proactive Efforts + Responses to COVID-19

SUNY Poly’s Proactive Efforts & Responses Related to COVID-19

The pandemic continued to impact New York State, the nation, and the globe. SUNY Poly adapted quickly, providing for students’ academic needs via in-person and online educational options, while continuing to prioritize health and safety.

Building a Clear Plan

SUNY Poly continually updated a dedicated COVID-19 information section, as well as the fall 2020 and spring 2021 plan sections, with communications from the Office of the President, as well as important information for parents, students, faculty, and staff that includes COVID-19 potential exposure notices and guidance and directives from health experts, state, and federal officials. Countless hours were spent by planning teams, steering committees, and working groups to develop the spring 2021 plan, which was refined regularly based on changing guidance. Notably, the plan met or exceeded all New York State Reopening Higher Education requirements, which are some of the most stringent in the nation.

Taking Action

Overall, SUNY Poly supported the health of everyone on campus by:

  • Requiring all residential students and those taking courses on campus to be vaccinated or to have an approved medical or religious exemption, per guidance. All students with an on-campus presence were required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot once eligible;
  • Requiring face coverings be worn, including inside all buildings, classrooms, shared laboratory areas, conference rooms, restrooms, elevators, hallways, etc. with exceptions clearly communicated as the fall/spring semesters progressed until transmission levels in the surrounding community subsided which allowed this measure to be relaxed;
  • Mandating regular COVID-19 testing of both vaccinated and unvaccinated faculty, staff, and students;
  • Continuing to employ expanded daily cleaning protocols and use of upgraded HVAC systems;
  • Using comprehensive pre-arrival and daily screenings, contact tracing in partnership with local health departments, and additional testing and quarantine as needed;
  • Dedicating Oriskany Hall at the Utica campus to quarantine/isolation needs, with a focused quarantine/isolation team that worked closely with impacted students to provide all wrap-around services; and
  • Providing telehealth and telemedicine, including mental health resources, among other efforts.
  • Additionally, a NYS-run Community COVID-19 testing site opened at SUNY Poly’s Utica Campus, providing appointment and walk-in -based testing throughout much of the academic year. All Utica-based members were able to use this option to meet testing requirements and follow development of symptoms.