September 15, 2020
Dear Faculty and Staff:
SUNY Potsdam is launching its ongoing COVID-19 surveillance testing program for residential and local students beginning today. This week, the College will test all residential students, non-residential students who live within a 15-mile radius, and any student who has a reason to be on campus. This mandatory testing will be conducted in Maxcy Hall, alongside a free influenza vaccine clinic for students.
Each student has been given a specific appointment time between today, Tuesday, September 15, and Friday, September 18.
Please note that due to the number of people being tested, we cannot adjust appointment times. Therefore, the testing protocol may interfere with class attendance. Thank you for your understanding in making alternate arrangements with students as needed.
Partnering with Upstate Medical University, we will now be utilizing a pooled saliva test. Individuals can administer the tests themselves, using saliva swabs. Pooled testing allows for 10 to 25 people to be screened in one test. If a “pool” tests positive, Upstate can immediately test the individual samples in that pool to determine who is positive and needs to isolate.
For this week’s testing, SUNY Potsdam is grouping students into “pools” based on those who already live with or in close proximity to each other—with the goal of making quarantine easier and simplifying the second round of testing. Any student who does not comply with the mandatory surveillance tests will be asked to return home and study virtually, in order to protect the health of the campus community.
Going forward, we plan to test half of the local student body each week—so that each individual student will complete surveillance testing every other week. This is in addition to the tests that Student Health Services conducts for any student who reports that they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
We are working to be able to expand surveillance testing to eligible on-campus employees, including those represented by UUP, as announced yesterday by the Governor and Chancellor Malatras. More information will be forthcoming about employee testing.
To keep track of all testing and results for our campus, please continue to monitor the case details page, which is updated daily.