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Surveillance Testing

Am I required to participate?
Employees represented by CSEA, UUP, PBA and PEF who report to work in person on campus to complete some or all of their work obligation are subject to surveillance testing under specific Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) recently reached between SUNY and each bargaining unit. MC employees are also deemed subject to testing. As such, attendance as scheduled by the university for these unit employees is considered mandatory.

What if I cannot attend as scheduled?
Testing is required and is considered a priority over your other work obligations, so please make every effort to attend the assigned appointment time. Individuals who are granted an excused absence will be assigned an appointment for a future date. (Excused absences should be limited and may include, but are not limited to, prescheduled medical appointments, pre-scheduled vacations or other leaves, inability to get child/elder care, etc.) Individuals who knowingly skip the testing appointment may be subject to disciplinary sanctions consistent with their collective bargaining agreement.

Why can’t I pick my own testing date ?
This is a surveillance testing program and requires a planned and programmatic scheduling of individuals to ensure that a represented cross section of our employee populations is scheduled on any given day. You are not permitted to pick the date but you are permitted to pick a time when you are selected for surveillance testing.

When could I be scheduled?
Currently we are scheduling employees to be tested on Tuesdays , between 8 a.m. and 3p.m.
How will I receive notice of my testing date?
You will receive an email from Human Resources notifying you that you are scheduled for COVID-19 surveillance testing. At that time you will select the time of your appointment through an online survey

What is “pool testing”?
Pool testing is a form of COVID-19 surveillance testing. During pool testing, participants at the testing site will perform a self-swab to collect a saliva sample. Individual saliva samples are then pooled together into groups of up to 12 individuals. Analysis of samples is then performed at Upstate Medical University. If a pool tests positive, follow-up testing known has “reflex testing” is conducted on the individual swabs in order to detect the specific member(s) of the pool who are positive for COVID-19.

How long will this take?
You should expect to be at the testing site no more than 30 minutes.. The actual self-swabbing is less than one-minute. Please review the swabbing technique video.

What do I need to do prior to arriving for my testing appointment?
Register online for the time of your testing appointment.

  • Register with SUNY Upstate Medical University

When registering for the surveillance account it is asking for my health insurance information. Why?
The full cost of the initial pool test is incurred by the university. If a pool tests positive, a reflex test will be performed on each individual sample in the pool. This reflex test will be billed to insurance under the CARES Act. Any costs not picked up under the CARES Act will be billed to the university. If at any time you receive a bill from this pool testing, please provide it to Sheila Scott at

What if I do not own a smart phone?
Please use a personal computer or tablet to complete the registration process in advance of the testing appointment. When you arrive for the assigned testing appointment, there will be limited laptops available. We will assist you with the rest of the process at the testing site.

What do I need to do on the day of my testing appointment?
On the day of your scheduled testing, please:

  • Do NOT eat or drink anything (including gum, mints and lozenges) within 30 minutes of reporting for testing.
  • Do NOT smoke, vape, or use smokeless tobacco for 30 minutes prior to testing.
  • Do NOT brush teeth or use mouthwash within three hours of testing.
  • Arrive at Maxcy Hall on schedule for your assigned time.
  • Bring your smart device.
  • Remember your assigned testing time.

What do I do if I can not remember my SUNY Upstate username or password?
If you have forgotten your password to log in to your SUNY Upstate account to register for your test, there is a Forgot Password option on the log in page. You will enter the email address you created your account with and click the reset password button. This will immediately send an email to that email address from sender with a confirmation number that you will then enter into the system to reset your password. All passwords must be at least 8 characters and contain upper and lower case letters, a number and a special character. Upon changing your password you should either save your log in credentials to your phone or write down the credentials for future use on a laptop.

Do I need to self-quarantine or self-isolate after I participate in the pool testing program?
There is no quarantine or isolation required on the day you participate in pool testing. Human Resources will contact you if you test positive and at that time, you will need to self-quarantine. This requires you to remain in your residence and refrain from either having visitors or visiting anyone else. You must not report to work and should not participate in any other group activity or social gatherings during the self-isolation period.

I participated in pool testing today. What do I put on my daily COVID-19 screening when responding to the question about awaiting test results?
Participating in the pool testing program does not require you to respond ‘yes’ to any of the questions. Please respond as you otherwise would. In fact, if any of your answers to those questions would be ‘yes’, it could impact your ability to provide a swab.

When will I be notified about my results?
We expect to receive your pool test results 24-48 hours after you participated in pool testing. If you are included in a pool that tests positive, a member of the Human Resources team will contact you directly.

If I am identified as positive, can I submit for another test to rule out a false positive?
The university will not process a retest to rule out a false positive. Please consult with your personal care provider. Any additional follow up testing or medical care costs would be subject to coverage by your health insurance coverage.

I am currently in mandatory isolation/quarantine as determined by the county health department. Should I participate in testing?
Individuals currently under a mandatory period of isolation or quarantine as determined by county health officials should continue to observe the requirements of isolation/quarantine. You should NOT come to the testing site to participate in pool testing. Please email Melissa Proulx at to inform of us of your isolation/quarantine.

I am not physically reporting to campus at all; do I need to be tested?
We are attempting to screen these populations out of being scheduled, but if you get scheduled and you indeed never report to campus to work, you are not required to be tested. Please email Melissa Proulx at to inform Human Resources of your status.

Once tested, will I be scheduled to be tested again?
Yes, testing will continue through December 31, 2020 with 50 percent of the mandated population tested each week.

Will testing occur during flexible holiday staffing?
Testing will be paused on November 24, December 22, and December 29.

How long will this testing continue?
The current MOUs are in effect through December 31, 2020, but may be extended if deemed appropriate by SUNY and agreed to be each bargaining unit.