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Student Return to Campus Plan

Changes to Mask Requirements
(March 4, 2022)

Based upon the recent SUNY, New York State, and CDC guidance on masking in schools, and the current drop in COVID-19 infection rates as indicated in 7-day trended data for Schenectady County and the greater Capital Region, the College is updating its masking requirements.

Effective Friday, March 4, students and employees are no longer required to wear masks and face coverings in classrooms, common areas, and other college locations. Social distancing requirements remain in effect. Individuals who wish to wear a mask or face covering may do so at their own discretion. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a mask or face covering.

All individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must continue to report their infection status to the College and follow isolation requirements. Asymptomatic individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, completed five days of isolation, and are returning to campus must continue to wear a well-fitting KN-95 or N-95 face mask for an additional five days post-isolation as per CDC guidance. As a reminder, if you don’t feel well please stay home and monitor your symptoms.

The College pool testing requirements remain in place. Vaccinated individuals continue to be required to pool test monthly and unvaccinated individuals are required to pool test weekly. Campus weekly pool testing and regional 7-day trended data will be reviewed regularly and serve as a barometer should a surge cases occur. 

The College’s plan was reviewed with the Schenectady County Department of Health. In consultation with the Schenectady County Department of Health, if the regional positivity and hospitalization rates increase to a “high” level per CDC guidelines, the campus may re-implement the masking mandate.

Spring 2022 – Changes to the Start of the Semester

These guidelines are subject to change based on recommendations and guidance from the CDC, New York State Department of Health, and SUNY, or in the event of a community or campus outbreak.

College community members and visitors are required to continue following the College’s most recent health and safety protocols. Please see specific guidelines below.

The start of classes were delayed by one week and began on Monday, January 24. Classes were delivered online for the first two weeks of the semester.

Select labs or classes that needed to meet face-to-face were still on-campus at the start of the semester. See the list of face-to-face classes by section for details.

Internships for Spring 2022 began as scheduled the week of January 24 unless otherwise notified by internship or field placement supervisors.

  • January 24: Classes begin
  • January 24 – February 4: Classes will be delivered online, with the exception of select labs/hands on classes
  • February 7: Classes that moved online returned to campus and resumed face-to-face sessions

The Academic Calendar has been updated to reflect the later start date.

Campus/Building Access

What entrances will be open this spring?

All campus points of entry and exit will continue to be in use for students, employees, and visitors. Individuals entering campus buildings will be advised of the health and safety precautions and self-screening through signage at each entrance. Please remember, if you are not feeling well, please do not come to campus.

Hand sanitizing stations are located at all points of entry/exit.

Face coverings are provided at campus points of entry to all individuals needing one.


What are the current mask-wearing requirements for students, employees and visitors?

Masks are encouraged in all areas of campus including instructional spaces regardless of a person’s vaccination status, however individuals may do so at their discretion. Unvaccinated individual are strongly encouraged to wear a mask or face covering.

Surgical style masks are provided at campus points of entry to all individuals wanting one. A supply of KN95 masks are also available at the security stations located at the Main entrance and Washington Avenue entrance of Elston Hall, the Center for Science and Technology, the School of Music, and at Center City.


What are the current COVID testing requirements for students?

The College pool testing requirements remain in place. Students will receive a link from Calendly, a scheduling software system. Every week students will choose their appointment time spanning a 15-minute interval up to maximum of 15 students. Once the cap has been reached, that specific 15-minute interval will no longer be available forcing the user to choose another time. The invite will include instructions on pool testing along with a rescheduling feature. The invites will be received in a special email address which will be used to verify that pool-testing requirements have been met. We encourage you to register for the Upstate Medical University COVID account prior to your initial test day.

Students who have questions may contact the Office of Student Affairs at 518-381-1365 or via email at  

This will be enforced by the Dean of Student Affairs. Students who do not comply with pool-testing or mask-wearing will be subject to the provisions of the College’s Code of Conduct.

What is pool testing?

Pool testing allows SUNY Schenectady to test our students and staff with a more rapid timeline. Up to twelve samples are pooled at one time and that sample is tested. If the pool comes back negative, then the assumption is everyone in the pool is negative for COVID-19. If a pool sample comes back positive, then at least one person in the pool is positive. The 12 individual tests will then each be tested to determine who is positive in the pool.

How is the test administered?

When you come to campus, you will enter a bar code, specific to your individual COVID-19 Pool test. This allows us to track your test if needed. You will swab your own mouth and place your swab into your test kit. You will shake your test kit to incorporate your saliva into the chemical mixture already in the tube. Once the tube has been shaken, the contents inside are no longer potentially infectious. We will then take your individual test and pour the liquid contents into a pool tube with the other liquid contents from the other people in your pool.

How long does the test take?

The actual test takes less 30 seconds.

Who needs to be tested?

All students coming to campus for classes or any services (even if you are coming to campus only once) must complete COVID-19 Pool testing. This also applies to students who have a medical and/or religious waiver for vaccinations, those who come to campus to access College services such as the College Store, Food Pantry, etc. and all employees.

How often must students complete testing?

Students who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or have not disclosed vaccination status for the Spring 2022 semester are required to complete pool-testing each week. Vaccinated students are required to complete COVID pool-testing monthly.

What should I NOT to do prior to being tested?

    • Do not brush your teeth or use mouthwash 30 minutes before the test
    • Do not eat or drink anything, including mints, gum, or lozenges 30 minutes before the test
    • Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco products 30 minutes before the test

What should I bring when I get my COVID pool test?

Please bring your SUNY Schenectady Photo Identification card and your cellphone when you come for testing. College IDs can be obtained in the College Store in Elston Hall. Please also take a moment to review this helpful video on the testing process.

What are the current testing requirements for employees?

All employees, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to completed COVID pool testing.

Unvaccinated employees or those who have not disclosed their vaccination status will complete testing weekly and vaccinated employees who have disclosed their vaccination status will test on a monthly basis.

Is the test mandated?

SUNY System has mandated that all students taking face-to-face classes must be tested regularly and SUNY Schenectady complies with that mandate. 

If I'm fully vaccinated do I have to continue testing?

Yes. Vaccinated individuals who have disclosed their vaccination status will test on a monthly basis, including individuals who have received the vaccination booster.

Are people who have tested positive for COVID-19 exempt from the weekly testing requirement?

If you tested positive for COVID-19 recently the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you not be retested for 90 days after the date of your positive test. 

However, if it has been more than 90 days since your last positive test, then you will need to be tested. 

Do students in quarantine or isolation need to participate in weekly testing?

If you are on quarantine or isolation, you are exempt from mandatory weekly testing for the duration of the quarantine/isolation. If you get emails saying you are out of compliance with mandatory weekly testing, that means the College does not know you are ordered to quarantine or isolate and you should contact as soon as possible to report the information.

What if I do not take the test?

If a student misses a test or refuses to take a test, they will not be permitted to return to their on-campus class until they have completed their mandated testing.

What will happen if the pool I am in comes back positive?

All members of a pool will be contacted and instructed to quarantine to ensure that their exposure does not lead to further cases. If someone in your class were to test positive outside of the College testing, you will be notified of the occurrence and instructed what, if anything, you need to do.

What happens if my class has to quarantine?

Your faculty are prepared to continue your class remotely in the unlikely event that your entire class needed to quarantine.

The COVID-19 test registration form asks for my insurance information. Why do they ask?

If your pool comes back positive, they need to test each kit individually. That secondary test is billed to your health insurance. If your health insurance refuses to pay for the test or pays only part of the test, the additional cost DOES NOT get billed to you. You will never see a bill for a test.

What if I do not have health insurance?

If you do not have health insurance, on the registration form place “no” in each items and use the school telephone number 518-381-1200 for the insurance telephone number. You will not be charged for the test.


Are vaccines required for students and employees?

With the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer COVID vaccine on Aug. 23, 2021, the State mandated all students to be vaccinated. This is now in place for all SUNY campuses. Students have the option to submit a COVID-19 Medical Exemption or COVID-19 Religious Exemption for review. If this applies to you, please email the Student Affairs Office at or call the Dean of Student Affairs at 518-381-1378. 

For the Spring 2022 semester, students must get their booster within 30 days of the timeline for the vaccination they received. For Moderna that is six months from their vaccination date, for Pfizer it is five months, and for Johnson and Johnson that is two months. For example, if you completed the Moderna vaccination on September 10, 2021 you must get the booster on February 10, 2022 or within 30 calendar days of that date. Search for a COVID-19 vaccination location.

As has been the case from the very start, we are confident our students will continue to do the right thing to protect themselves, their families, and their campus community. We urge faculty and staff to continue to be vaccinated as well. We welcome the FDA approval and are now yet another step closer to beating this virus and ensuring our campuses provide a safe learning environment for all our students. 

Do ALL students need to get the vaccination?

Yes, all students taking at least one on campus class and any student coming to campus for any reason must be vaccinated or have a campus approved medical or religious waiver on file with the College. For the purposes of this policy, “students” are defined as any individual matriculated or otherwise enrolled full-time or part-time at SUNY Schenectady as well as visiting, auditing, exchange, continuing education, and international students taking in-person courses at SUNY.

What if I take all online classes?

Students whose course of study is fully remote are exempted from this vaccine requirement. For this exemption to apply, the student must have no physical presence on campus nor reasonably anticipate using on-campus services for the entirety of the academic term. 

Will the College share information about where I can get the vaccination?

All students attending a SUNY institution in the Spring 2022 term and thereafter will be provided with information about the COVID-19 vaccination and must either: (i) receive a COVID-19 vaccination; (ii) receive a booster when applicable; or (iii) obtain an approved exemption as further described below. Search for a COVID-19 vaccination location.

What if I already received the vaccination?

Students who plan to attend in-person classes and/or utilize in-person services at  SUNY Schenectady shall provide evidence of receiving the full vaccination series (i.e., both doses of a two-dose series) of any COVID-19 vaccination, and the booster when applicable. 

How do I submit my proof of vaccination?


Please disclose your vaccination status via the SUNY Vaccination Verification Application. SUNY Schenectady login credentials will work to access this site. If your credentials do not work, you can send proof of vaccination to or bring proof to Student Affairs in Elston Hall, Room 222.


Employees have been invited to disclose their vaccination status to the Office of Human Resources.  As of now the disclosure is voluntary. To make this disclosure, the employee provides Human Resources with a copy of their Vaccination Record or their Excelsior Pass. To do this, employees should email a copy of the document to or bring a copy to the Human Resources Office in Elston Hall, Room 511.

Will the vaccination mandate be in place in future semesters?

Yes. For all subsequent terms, students must provide such evidence prior to coming to campus and show that such vaccine was received at least two weeks prior to arriving on campus.

Is there any specific information that international students who received the vaccination in the U.S. need to know?

International students who obtained a COVID-19 vaccination may provide documentation signed by a healthcare provider duly licensed to practice medicine in the United States or a foreign country, and such documentation must include the dates of vaccination and name of the COVID-19 vaccination given.

Is there any specific information that international students who received the vaccination outside of the U.S. need to know?

International students who have received COVID-19 vaccines not licensed or under an EUAA by the FDA in the United States, or not authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) (e.g., AstraZeneca/Oxford) need to submit their vaccination information to Student Affairs. If this applies to you, please email the Student Affairs Office at or call the Dean of Student Affairs at 518-381-1378.

What if I am not fully vaccinated or received a vaccination that has not been authorized by the FDA or the World Health Organization (WHO)?

Students who are not yet fully vaccinated and international students who received a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized or approved by the FDA or the WHO may apply for a temporary medical accommodation to allow them time to become fully vaccinated.

What if I have a medical condition that prevents me from receiving the vaccination?

Students may be exempt from this vaccine requirement if a duly licensed health care provider certifies in writing that the COVID-19 vaccination may be detrimental to the student’s health. COVID-19 Medical Exemption Request Form.

What if my religious beliefs prevent me from getting the vaccination?

Students who hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to COVID-19 vaccination may be exempt after submitting a written statement to that effect as required by SUNY Schenectady. COVID-19 Religious Exemption Request Form. General philosophical or moral objections to such vaccine shall not suffice as the basis for a religious exemption. Any such requests will be reviewed and granted on a case-by-case basis by the campus. 

What if I do not comply with the vaccination and booster mandate?

Per SUNY System policy any student who has not completed the vaccination or booster when eligible will be dropped from all on-campus classes and will not be authorized to come to campus. Specifically, any student who has not shown that they have completed a full vaccine series, and the booster when applicable, or been granted an exemption will either be unenrolled or may revert to fully remote instruction if that is an available option based on the student’s course of study and is otherwise permitted by the campus. If this applies to you, please email the Student Affairs Office at or call the Dean of Student Affairs at 518-381-1378.

What happens if I am granted a medical or religious exemption?

Students who are granted a Medical or Religious Exemption and who will be coming to campus without receiving the vaccination must do one of the following: (1) quarantine for at least ten (10) days prior to coming to campus; (2) submit an attestation to the campus that you completed a quarantine for at least ten (10) days prior to coming to campus; or, (3) provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within the (5) days prior to your coming to campus. All students with exemptions will be subject to mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing administered by the campus and will be required to adhere to all other campus COVID health and safety protocols.

Quarantine and Isolation

Do I still need to quarantine if I’m vaccinated?

Any individual testing positive will be instructed to quarantine for 10 days and communicate with the College each and to report possible symptoms.

When do I need to Isolate?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should isolate yourself in your home and follow directions provided by the Department of Health. Please cooperate with the contact tracer who calls or emails you to find out who you may have been in contact with prior to isolation.


Free Resources, How-To Instructions, and Campus Supports

SUNY Schenectady remains committed to your success with virtual instruction. The Student Resource page includes information to help you to be successful as you take your courses.


Student Laptop Loan Program

SUNY Schenectady, through a US Department of Education Title III grant, is able to loan laptops to students to ensure full access to their coursework. To request a laptop, please complete the Laptop Loan Request form and return it to Appointments will be made for students to pick up a laptop.