COVID-19 Safety Information

COVID-19 Safety Information

  • Before departing for Cortland, all students who will be on campus for any reason – both residential students and off-campus students – will be required to complete pre-arrival testing.
  • Residential students must complete arrival testing through a campus-provided rapid test when they arrive in Cortland before they move in to their residence hall.
  • Vaccine booster shots are mandatory for all eligible students who will be on campus for any reason.

Overview

SUNY Cortland is committed to protecting the health of our entire community. We continue to follow the public health and safety guidelines issued by New York state and the CDC in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All students are required to be vaccinated, and we have implemented a rigorous testing and monitoring program that allows us to identify and respond to changes in transmission rates.

This page explains SUNY Cortland’s policies and procedures regarding COVID-19 vaccination, testing and safety precautions. We continue to monitor local transmission rates and caseloads, and this guidance may change in response to the course of the pandemic.

Spring 2022 classes are scheduled to start in person Monday, Jan. 24.


New information for Spring 2022

Pre-arrival testing

Students who will be on campus for any reason will be required to complete pre-arrival testing. This includes students who are fully vaccinated and those with a religious or medical exemption.

  • Students may submit a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours before their arrival. For example, if a student plans to arrive on Jan. 23, they should test at a site near their home on Jan. 20, 21 or 22. Students must upload the result through the through the test results upload portal on the COVID tab in myRedDragon. 

  • Students may submit a negative result from a rapid at-home kit. This test should be done at home on the morning they plan to leave for Cortland. A photograph of a student’s Cortland ID next to the negative result must be uploaded through the test results upload portal on the COVID tab in myRedDragon. 

  • Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days are exempt from the pre-arrival testing requirement. Students must submit proof of a positive test through test results upload portal on the COVID tab myRedDragon to receive this exemption. This can include the original test result and/or isolation documentation from appropriate health officials. 

An online test site finder is available through New York state. If students test positive, they should stay home, contact their doctor or local health department, and follow their guidance.

Arrival testing for residential students

Arrival testing will take place for students living on campus in addition to the pre-arrival testing they complete at home. Details are outlined below.

** Campus residents who test positive upon their arrival will be instructed to return home. Getting an accurate test at home as close to their departure date as possible is the best way to avoid this.

As a reminder, all students living on campus are required to register for a move-in appointment in the housing portal in myRedDragon by Wednesday, Jan. 19. They are asked to arrive on campus within their specified 90-minute window.

Students arriving by car

  • Arrive onto campus using the campus entrance on Route 281.
  • Follow signage to the Park Center northwest lot. This lot, located near Alumni Arena at the corner of Lankler Dr. and Pashley Dr., is marked as “S-66” on the campus map.
  • A staff member will provide a rapid antigen test, with instructions on how to take the test.
  • Students will be directed to an available parking space to park their vehicle and administer the rapid test. They will receive results in 15 minutes.
  • If you students negative, they will receive a wristband and will be allowed to move into their residence hall.
  • If students test positive, they will be instructed to return home. Students will receive a handout with instructions on how to contact their associate dean to inform them of their absence and how to follow isolation guidelines from their home county health department. Students will also receive instructions on how to reschedule a return to their residence hall.

Students arriving by any other mode of transportation

  • Report to the 3-Court Gymnasium in the Student Life Center (SLC). Follow outdoor signage to the appropriate entrance. Do not use the main entrance to the SLC.
  • A staff member will provide a rapid antigen test and instruct students on how to take the test. Results will be provided in 15 minutes.
  • If students test negative, they will receive a wristband and will be allowed to move into their residence hall.
  • If students test positive, they will be instructed to return home. If that is not possible, they will be escorted to isolate at West Campus Apartments. Students will receive a handout with instructions on how to contact your associate dean to inform them of their absence and how to follow isolation guidelines from the Cortland County Health Department.

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 since Oct. 26, 2021

  • Report to the 3-Court Gymnasium in the Student Life Center (SLC). Follow outdoor signage to the appropriate entrance. Do not use the main entrance to the SLC. Parking will be available in the lot adjacent to the outdoor basketball courts, which is marked as “S-54” on the campus map.
  • A staff member will verify student names on the list of students with recent positive cases. Students will receive a wristband and be allowed to move into your residence hall.
  • Students must submit proof of a recent positive test through myRedDragon to be included on this list. They are also asked to bring a physical copy or proof of their positive test in case additional verification is needed.

Booster requirement

SUNY’s system-wide policy requires all students to receive a COVID-19 vaccination booster as soon as they are eligible. Students are eligible for a vaccine booster if:

  • They received the second shot of Moderna or Pfizer five or more months ago OR
  • They received one shot of Johnson & Johnson two or more months ago

Students vaccinated in New York state who submitted original vaccination information via myRedDragon DO NOT need to submit proof of booster. SUNY Cortland, in conjunction with the State Department of Health, will automatically check and record booster status. If there are any issues with a student’s booster status, SUNY Cortland will communicate through email with instructions on how to comply.

Non-New York residents and those who were boosted in a different state or country must provide a photograph of their vaccination record card through the vaccination submission portal in myRedDragon.

Additional details

  • Students who are not yet eligible for a booster but will become eligible during the Spring 2022 semester will be notified by email and required to receive a booster within 30 days.
  • Medical and religious exemptions for the booster will not be accepted for students who have completed the original COVID-19 vaccination series. Very limited exceptions will be made for those who have had a change in medical condition since their last vaccine dose.
  • Students who will not access campus for any reason in spring 2022 may exempt themselves from the booster requirement if they complete the attestation form through myRedDragon.
  • Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 can get the booster once they have completed their required isolation period and symptoms subside.

SUNY Cortland will host a Wegmans Pharmacy vaccine clinic on campus on Friday, Jan. 21, at 10 a.m. in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge. COVID-19 booster vaccines and flu shots will be available.

Students can register online for the Jan. 21 clinic. In order to register:

  • Click ‘Schedule a new appointment’
  • Change the date on the calendar to Jan. 21, 2022
  • Enter the zip code 13045 and click ‘Search’

Students can register by clicking ‘Schedule’ and completing the prompts that follow.

Booster appointments also can be scheduled using New York state’s online portal or Vaccines.gov for sites outside of New York. 

Information for new students

SUNY Cortland will continue to enforce the SUNY system’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, which requires that students provide evidence that they are vaccinated at least two weeks prior to arriving on campus for any reason.

Any student that has been accepted and intends to enroll for Spring 2022 was required to submit documentation about their COVID-19 vaccination status by Jan. 4, 2022.

Incoming students must do one of the following:

  • Submit vaccination verification or upload documents through the SUNY portal, which is available for accepted students through the Admissions tab in myRedDragon or online through the SUNY website. Students must log in to myRedDragon to complete this process.
  • Apply for a medical or religious exemption from SUNY’s COVID-19 vaccination policy. Forms are available through the Admissions tab in myRedDragon. Applications for religious exemptions were required by Jan. 4, 2022. Applications for medical exemptions will be reviewed continuously. If an exemption is not granted, students must follow the vaccination policy.
  • Complete the attestation form available through the Admissions tab in myRedDragon if a student is remote and will not be coming to campus for any reason.

COVID-19 safety requirements

Quick answers

Further details on all topics are outlined in the guide below.

Are vaccines required for all students?

Yes. All students must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Limited exceptions will be made only for approved medical and religious reasons. Students with vaccination exemptions will be tested weekly and have limited access to certain programs and services. Because they are at risk, it is strongly recommended that they complete a daily screen for COVID-19 symptoms.

graphic showing that on-campus students must submit vaccination proof and remote students must complete attestation form

Are vaccines required to live on campus?

Yes. Limited exceptions will be granted for approved medical or religious reasons.

Are off-campus students required to be vaccinated?

Yes. Following final FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, all SUNY Cortland students must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have received approval for a medical or religious exemption.

Are face coverings mandatory?

Yes, following the most recent recommendations issued by the CDC, New York state requires face coverings in all indoor spaces of state-owned campuses for all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status. This includes classrooms, laboratories, the Student Life Center, public transportation, public and common areas in residence halls, dining facilities, offices and buildings. Face coverings are strongly encouraged for people participating in group activities outdoors.

Is vaccination required for students who have recently had COVID-19?

Yes. Experts have not yet determined how long immunity from being sick with COVID-19 lasts. Antibodies from prior recovery may not provide protection from more recent variants.

Students who recently tested positive in the past 90 days and are eligible for a booster shot must receive their booster if they have completed their isolation period.

Where can I get a COVID-19 test?

Any students with COVID-19 symptoms should contact Student Health Service immediately at 607-753-4811 to schedule a test on campus. Students may also go to a local pharmacy or healthcare provider to receive a test.

Students who would like to voluntarily participate in on-campus surveillance testing may register at any time through the COVID tab in myRedDragon. Those who are randomly selected for surveillance testing by email are reminded to register and attend testing. Weekly testing remains mandatory for students who have received a medical or religious exemption.

Are students required to have a COVID-19 vaccine booster?

Yes. As required by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Dec. 31, 2021 announcement, COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are mandatory for all students who will be on campus for any reason and received their last COVID-19 vaccination shot five or more months ago (Moderna and Pfizer) or two or more months ago (Johnson & Johnson). As students become eligible for boosters during the semester, they will be mandated to receive a booster shot within 30 days.

Individuals are encouraged to sign up for a booster dose and read the CDC’s latest guidance on booster shots online.

I recently tested positive for COVID-19. Do I still need a booster?

Yes. Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 can get the booster once they have completed their required isolation period and symptoms subside.

What type of COVID-19 test may I submit for pre-arrival testing?

Students may submit a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours before their arrival or a negative rapid test taken at home the day they plan to travel to Cortland.

Symptomatic individuals

All students should continually be aware of possible COVID-19 symptoms.

Symptomatic students

Any students who have any symptoms of COVID-19 should contact Student Health Service on the first day they are ill, even if symptoms are mild. This applies to vaccinated and exempt students. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you should not attend class or any unnecessary social gathering unless you have been cleared to do so by Student Health Service.

Evening and weekend care

During the evening or weekends, symptomatic students should contact an off-campus health provider such as an urgent care facility or Guthrie Cortland Medical Center.

Symptomatic employees

Likewise, symptomatic employees should not report to work and they should seek testing through their primary care provider or another testing resource in the community. Isolation is required until the appropriate medical evaluation has been completed.

Face coverings and physical distancing

Face coverings are required in all indoor spaces for all individuals, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status. This policy follows the most recent recommendations issued by the CDC due to the high transmission rates of the Delta variant of COVID-19. Indoor spaces include classrooms, laboratories, the Student Life Center, public transportation, public and common areas in residence halls, dining facilities, offices and buildings. Face coverings are strongly encouraged when attending any outdoor campus event.

Exceptions to this face covering policy include:

  • When eating meals while seated.
  • When alone in an office or residence hall room.
  • When individuals are outside, but not with a group or at an event.
  • Individuals who cannot wear face coverings due to a medical condition or disability.

This policy will be reviewed and adjusted regularly, based on local vaccination and infection rates.

Surveillance testing

Students must comply with sample testing during the semester if they are notified to test. Additionally, all students with an approved medical or religious exemption must participate in mandatory COVID-19 surveillance testing once a week, whether they live on or off campus. Full details about testing location info, dates and times will be sent through email.

Students who are randomly selected for testing will be notified via email. These emails, from covidscreening@cortland.edu, will have the following subject line: "MANDATORY COVID-19 TESTING – ACTION REQUIRED." Students will be given instructions on how to register for a test the following week via myRedDragon.

Students will be granted one warning for failure to report for testing. After a second missed test, the student will be subject to the student conduct process and possible removal from campus housing. 

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days or are currently in quarantine or isolation should fill out an unable to attend testing form if they receive a "MANDATORY COVID-19 TESTING" email. Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days are exempt from surveillance testing until 90 days after their positive test. These students should submit a copy of the positive test results through the test results upload portal in the COVID tab in myRedDragon.

Students who would like to voluntarily participate in surveillance testing may register for a test at any time via the COVID tab in myRedDragon. This option is for non-symptomatic students only. Students with COVID-19 symptoms should contact Student Health Service immediately at 607-753-4811 to schedule a test on campus or schedule a test with a local pharmacy or healthcare provider.

If changes are made to the surveillance testing process, campus community members will be notified through email.

Proof of vaccination

Fully vaccinated students will enjoy a robust in-person campus experience during the Spring 2022 semester. All students accessing campus facilities are required to be vaccinated, with exceptions made only for approved medical and religious exemptions. 

Students must complete the vaccination verification process, which will confirm a student is fully vaccinated. 

All students living in campus residence halls and apartments must complete the vaccination verification process. All SUNY Cortland students residing off campus who will spend time on campus must be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Students who do not comply with the vaccination requirement will be de-registered for the semester, which has serious educational and financial consequences. 

Students are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when: 

  • More than two weeks have passed since they received the second dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or more than two weeks have passed since they received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen), AND
  • Fully vaccinated students have completed the vaccination verification process through the COVID tab in myRedDragon.

Vaccination verification

Student access to many resources and places will be linked to proof of vaccination through the vaccination verification portal under the COVID tab in myRedDragon. Fully vaccinated students are required to complete the vaccination verification process by Tuesday, Jan. 4.

To complete the vaccination verification process:

  • New York residents who were vaccinated in the state will verify their information through the vaccination portal found through the COVID tab in myRedDragon. Students must confirm details — name, date of birth, zip code and phone number — that were provided at the time of vaccine appointment(s).

  • Out-of-state students, international students and New York residents who received the vaccine in another state must upload a copy of their vaccination record via the manual process found through the vaccination portal under the COVID tab in myRedDragon. Students must first attempt to automatically verify their information before they can upload an image of their record.

  • Students submitting their record manually should know that it will be reviewed by a campus representative before it is verified.

  • The system can only verify those who are considered fully vaccinated. Students must be at least two weeks past their final shot to complete this process.

Students who have problems accessing the link with their Cortland credentials should contact The Help Center at 607-753-2500 or visit the COVID-19 Vaccination Portal FAQ.

Resolving verification issues

Student who cannot complete vaccination verification due to technology issues should upload a copy of their vaccination record via the manual process found through the vaccination portal under the COVID tab in myRedDragon. Students must first attempt to automatically verify their information before they can upload an image of their record.


Academics

Class attendance

Students who must be absent from class because of COVID-19 are asked to treat it as if they were absent for any other illness or accident.

For absences of a few days because of COVID-19 symptoms or self-isolation while awaiting test results, students should:

  • Notify each of their instructors individually. This is the responsibility of the student, not the instructor.

Students facing longer absences due to entering isolation or quarantine should:

  • Contact instructors directly and work with them to make up work missed while out of class. Faculty are not expected to provide online or synchronous instruction but may provide handouts, slides and other material.
  • Schedule a virtual appointment during an instructor’s office hours to go over missed material or work and reach out to classmates about getting notes from classes they’ve missed.
  • Send an email to the associate dean of your school (Education, Arts and Sciences or Professional Studies) with official isolation or quarantine orders from the county health department. It is the responsibility of the student to contact the associate dean and provide documentation.

Additional details about missed class time can be found online.

Faculty and staff are also encouraged to work with students missing class time due to COVID-19 as if it were any other illness or accident.

The associate dean will notify faculty members if a student has provided documentation for an extended absence. Students should be allowed to make up the missed work and faculty will provide the resources to help them keep up in their coursework.

Additional details for faculty and staff can be found online.

Special guidelines for classrooms

Face coverings are required in all classrooms for all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status. This policy follows the most recent recommendations issued by the CDC due to the high transmission rates of the Delta variant of COVID-19. All students must comply with any additional requirements applying to classroom, work, and research spaces.

Internships and student teaching

Students who are working as student teachers or interns, including those in on- and off-campus placements, are expected to comply with vaccination and safety guidance established by those placements.

All off-campus or remote student teachers or interns must complete one of the following actions to avoid being de-registered from their classes:

  • Students accessing campus for any reason

All new students accessing campus for any reason must verify their vaccination status through the COVID tab in myRedDragon by Jan. 4, unless they have an already approved medical or religious exemption.

If new students attempt to verify but cannot complete verification of their status, they can upload a photo of their vaccination record card to start a manual review. Vaccination is required for any activity taking place on campus, including employment, athletics, using the Student Life Center or using Memorial Library.

OR

  • Students not visiting campus

If new students do not plan to be on campus for any reason, they must log in to myRedDragon and complete the attestation form confirming that they will not to come to campus. These students may also verify their vaccination status through the COVID tab in myRedDragon.

Additional notes:

  • If a student teacher or a student in a full-time internship/field experience is living on campus, they must follow the campus vaccination guidelines for those students living on campus and also follow the safety protocols in place at their placements.
  • If a student teacher or a student in a full-time internship/field experience is living out of the region while they complete their student teaching or full-time internship, and will NOT be accessing any campus facilities, they will follow the vaccine guidance and safety protocols of their placements. That is, if a placement requires the student teacher or intern to be vaccinated, they must be vaccinated.
  • Student teachers or students in full-time internships/field experiences who choose not to comply with their placement's vaccination policies and/or safety policies will not be given new placements and will need to withdraw from their student teaching/internship courses for the semester.

Study abroad

New York state has approved the SUNY Education Abroad Relaunch Plan for Spring 2022, which allows campuses to petition to reopen select programs in regions considered to be experiencing lower COVID-related risks, based on multiple health indicators.

SUNY Cortland has received approval to reopen programs at the American University in Cairo in Egypt and the University of Salamanca in Spain for Spring 2022, and several cohorts of students plan to study at those locations or through other SUNY programs, barring significant changes in the pandemic. New York state requires all study abroad participants to be fully vaccinated.

The status of Summer and Fall 2022 programs is not yet finalized, but SUNY Cortland likely will be able to run several programs during those terms. The campus will continue to welcome international matriculated, exchange and visiting students to our campus in Spring 2022 and beyond.

For the latest updates on the status of the university’s study abroad and exchange programs or more information on planning to study abroad, please visit the International Programs Office COVID-19 information page and Horizons study abroad portal, or contact the International Programs Office at studyabroad@cortland.edu.


Campus life

Red Dragon Safe pass

The Red Dragon Safe pass is now available for students through myRedDragon. This pass is a virtual ticket for your cell phone so that fully vaccinated students may access non-dining sections of the Student Life Center and participate in sport clubs and intramurals.

The digital pass communicates with the university’s vaccination verification system. Students who have been verified as fully vaccinated will get a green screen with a check mark on their phone that they can show to get access. Fully vaccinated individuals are those who have received their final vaccine dose at least two weeks ago and who have completed the vaccine verification process through myRedDragon. All others will get a white screen that indicates their vaccination status could not be verified.

An animated logo and a date and time stamp prevents the pass from being forged or otherwise digitally recreated by not yet fully vaccinated or exempt students.

The Red Dragon Safe pass is available on the myRedDragon homepage. Students can also scan QR codes at the desks of the fitness and recreation wing of the Student Life Center and at Outdoor Pursuits to get the pass.

Buses/transportation

Buses

Riders on campus buses are required to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing regardless of their vaccination status.

Riders should note:

  • Campus transportation employees will clean and disinfectant all high-touch surfaces within buses twice daily using EPA-approved spray products effective against human coronaviruses.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at all bus shelters.
  • The front door of each bus will be the entrance point and the rear door will be the exit point.
  • The number of buses running has been increased to maintain lower occupancies.
  • Campus vehicles will be disinfected with EPA-approved sprays effective against human coronaviruses before and after use. All vehicles will be provided with hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes.

Drivers must wear a face covering at all times, unless the bus is empty of riders. Drivers may remove their face covering upon exiting the bus.

University vehicles

All university vehicles will be available to operate at normal capacity. Drivers and riders are required to wear face coverings. It is the responsibility of the driver or trip leader to ensure everyone follows face covering protocols.

Private transportation

For groups using private coaches for transportation, it is the responsibility of the group leader to ensure that participants follow the company's face covering protocols when using their transportation.

Student guest policy

Residential students will not be permitted to have any daytime or overnight guests in residence halls. This includes SUNY Cortland students who live off campus, non-SUNY Cortland students, off-campus students, siblings and family members. 

Residential students will be permitted to visit other residence halls. Visiting residents cannot stay overnight and must depart the building by 2 a.m. 

All residents hosting guests from other residence halls are responsible for the actions of their visitors. Residents are expected to take reasonable action to prevent their visitors from violating university policies. 

Student Life Center

Access to the Student Life Center will be limited to individuals who are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated students, including those who have received medical or religious exemptions, will not be allowed to use the Student Life Center. 

Student compliance with the vaccination requirement will be checked through a new app developed specifically for this purpose. Other users may show proof of vaccination through the Excelsior Pass or their physical COVID-19 vaccination card. 

To be considered fully vaccinated, individuals must be two weeks past their final COVID-19 shot and have verified their vaccination status. Students may verify their status through the portal in myRedDragon and employees may follow the process created by Human Resources.

Proof of full vaccination will also be required for those looking to participate in Recreational Sports programs such as intramurals and Outdoor Pursuits. 

Face coverings will be required for all users at all times regardless of vaccination status. Please note that gaiters, buffs, face shields and bandanas are not allowed in the Student Life Center. 

Learn more about the Student Life Center.

Dining

All individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, must wear face coverings in dining facilities when they are not seated.

Athletics and club sports

All student-athletes competing on SUNY Cortland’s varsity teams and sport club teams – both new and returning student-athletes – must be fully vaccinated in order to participate in team activities. Unvaccinated students, including those who have received medical or religious exemptions, will not be allowed to participate in athletic, sport club or intramural competition. 

Student-athletes should contact their individual coaches with questions. 

Spectators

Face coverings are required for all fans, regardless of vaccination status, at all indoor SUNY Cortland contests. This policy is based on recommendations made by the SUNY Public Health Working Group. Spectators are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings at outdoor athletic events.


Requirements for exempt students

Face coverings and physical distancing

Students who have an approved exemption or off-campus students who have not yet completed the vaccination verification process are required to:

  • Wear a face covering at all times indoors on campus, except:
    • When eating meals while seated.
    • When alone in a residence hall room or office.
  • Maintain six feet of physical distancing, where practicable.
  • Comply with all additional requirements applying to classroom, work and research spaces.

Surveillance testing

Pre-arrival

All students who will be on campus for any reason will be required to complete pre-arrival testing. This includes students with a religious or medical exemption and those who are fully vaccinated.

  • Students may submit a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours before their arrival. For example, if a student plans to arrive on Jan. 23, they should test at a site near their home on Jan. 20, 21 or 22. Students must upload the result through the through the test results upload portal on the COVID tab in myRedDragon. 
  • Students may submit a negative result from a rapid at-home kit. This test should be done at home on the morning they plan to leave for Cortland. A photograph of a student’s Cortland ID next to the negative result must be uploaded through the test results upload portal on the COVID tab in myRedDragon. 
  • Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days are exempt from the pre-arrival testing requirement. Students must submit proof of a positive test through test results upload portal on the COVID tab myRedDragon to receive this exemption. This can include the original test result and/or isolation documentation from appropriate health officials.

An online test site finder is available through New York state. If students test positive, they should stay home, contact their doctor or local health department, and follow their guidance.

Weekly

Exempt students must participate in mandatory COVID-19 surveillance testing once a week, whether they live on or off campus. Full details about testing location info, dates and times will be sent through email.

It is a student’s responsibility to complete testing each week as long as they remain unvaccinated or are not yet fully vaccinated (less than two weeks post-completion of vaccination). 

Students will be granted one warning for failure to report for testing. After a second missed test, the student will be subject to the student conduct process. Students found in violation will not be allowed to access some campus facilities for the remainder of the Spring 2022 semester. 

If an unvaccinated student has tested positive for COVID-19, they will not be required to participate in mandatory COVID-19 surveillance testing for 90 days after the date of their positive test result. At the end of those 90 days, they are required to test weekly. 

Medical and religious exemptions

Students may be exempt from a COVID-19 vaccination on the basis of a medical or religious exemption if they meet very specific criteria. 

Students granted a medical or religious exemption will be subject to certain restrictions and COVID-19 screening and testing responsibilities detailed in this policy. 

Decisions on exemptions will be made in a few business days, depending on volume. Students will be notified via email from Student Health Service staff. 

Medical exemptions

Students may be exempt from the vaccination requirement if a duly licensed healthcare provider certifies in writing that the student has a medical contraindication to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Students requesting consideration for a medical exemption from vaccination requirements must submit an exemption request form to student health service. Exemption request forms can be accessed on the Student Health Service channel located on the student tab in myRedDragon. Instructions for submitting exemption requests are included on the downloadable forms.

Requests for medical exemptions must contain:

  • The certification of a licensed healthcare provider,
  • Sufficient information for Student Health Service staff to understand the medical basis for the exemption,
  • The necessary length of the requested exemption,
  • Contact information for the healthcare provider.

Student Health Service will review exemptions in the same way the university considers requests for medical exemptions from measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunization requirements.

Religious exemptions

Students who hold genuine religious beliefs that are contrary to COVID-19 vaccination must submit an exemption request form to Student Health Service. Exemption request forms can be accessed on the Student Health Service channel located on the student tab in myRedDragon. Instructions for submitting exemption requests are included on the downloadable forms. The student must explain how receiving the COVID-19 vaccination conflicts with the student’s deeply held religious belief or practice. Student Health Service will review all exemption requests as it does for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) immunization exemption requests.

Residential students seeking medical and religious exemptions

Students intending to live in campus residence halls who requested an exemption from the vaccination requirement were required to submit a petition for exemption to Student Health Service no later than Jan. 4.

Students who are granted an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement are subject to several obligations to enable them to remain in on-campus housing. Students are required to:

  • Provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days of the student’s move-in date or complete a 10-day self-quarantine prior arrival to campus. They will be required to attest to successful completion of the self-quarantine period. Test results must be submitted through the test results upload portal on the COVID tab in myRedDragon.
  • Comply with mandatory COVID-19 surveillance testing once a week.
  • Complete a daily health screening.
  • Maintain six feet of physical distancing when practicable and wear a face covering at all times the student is indoors except:
    • When the student is in their private residence hall room or personal space;
    • When they are eating meals while seated and social distancing is appropriately enforced; or
    • When the student is alone in a residence hall room or office.

Housing conditions for students exempted from vaccination requirement

SUNY Cortland reserves the right to reassign exempted unvaccinated students from their housing assignment. The purpose of reassignment would be to avoid placing a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated students in the same room or suite.

Students with an approved exemption from the vaccination requirement were allowed to request to remain in their assigned housing and share a room with their roommates and/or suitemates by gaining written consent from all roommates or suitemates.

Unvaccinated students must initiate the process by disclosing their vaccination exemption status to their roommates or suitemates. After written consent was acquired in writing from all parties, unvaccinated students were required to provide these with an email to the Residence Life and Housing Office within five business days of notification that their exemption was approved.

Off-campus students seeking medical and religious exemptions

Off-campus students who wish to request an exemption from the vaccination requirement must submit an exemption request form to Student Health Service no later than Jan. 4. 

Students who are granted an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement are subject to several obligations to enable them to use on-campus facilities. Students are required to:

  • Comply with mandatory COVID-19 surveillance testing once a week.
  • Maintain six feet of physical distancing when practicable and wear a face covering at all times the student is indoors except:
    • When they are eating meals while seated and physical distancing is appropriately observed; or
    • When the student is alone.

Housing cancellation

Students unwilling to comply with the vaccination requirement for campus residents are required to cancel their housing by Jan. 4. New students are required to complete a New Student Off-Campus Approval Form.

Students who petition for medical or religious exemption and are denied the exemption were required to complete their related form within three business days of notification that their exemption has been denied.

De-registration and other deadlines

Students who do not comply with the vaccination requirement by Jan. 4 will be de-registered for the semester, which has serious educational and financial consequences. This is the same protocol followed for students who fail to verify that they have received the required measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations. 

Students who do not qualify for an exemption and do not intend to get vaccinated should be aware of the deadlines set by SUNY Cortland’s refund policy.


Off-campus/remote students

Community outreach

The following letter was shared with local landlords before the start of the Fall 2021 semester. Community partners with questions should use the COVID Concerns form to contact the university.

Dear Cortland landlord,

We are about to begin another semester at SUNY Cortland and I am again reaching out to ask for your help in keeping our students and the greater Cortland community safe from COVID-19.

The university’s Fall 2021 Guidance is available online and will be regularly updated throughout the semester. Please know SUNY Cortland is currently requiring all students who live on campus to be vaccinated against COVID-19. When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approves one of the COVID-19 vaccines, SUNY Cortland will require all students to be vaccinated. We anticipate this will happen early in the semester, possibly by Labor Day.

Still, the potential spread of the Delta variant means we will remain vigilant in asking our students to participate in measures that will keep them and our neighbors in the community safe. As of August 3, 2021, SUNY Cortland is requiring all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings in indoor spaces on campus. Other steps the campus is taking, including surveillance testing, recommendations for symptomatic individuals and quarantine and isolation, are outlined in the Fall 2021 Guidance.

Please coordinate your tenants’ return to avoid several families arriving at once. SUNY Cortland will continue to move its students into residence halls over an extended period — four days rather than the typical two — to reduce opportunities for contact. We encourage you to consider speaking with your tenants about using the same approach.

Join us in reminding your tenants of their responsibilities to the community, in particular regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Wearing masks, physical distancing and not attending or hosting large social gatherings are crucial to the continued safety of our community. Allowing large gatherings at off-campus properties will, as we have already seen, only make the situation worse and students may face conduct action that could impact their status as a student.

Consider providing not-yet-vaccinated international students and students who live in non-contiguous states an opportunity to return early. These students may be seeking a place to quarantine for 10 days before the start of classes. The university has recommended that not-yet-vaccinated students complete this quarantine at home but some may request to do so in Cortland. Also know that off-campus students who test positive for COVID-19 during the semester will need to isolate at home or their off-campus residence for 10 days.

SUNY Cortland’s plan for the upcoming semester is subject to change pending new guidance from local, state and national health authorities. The university will inform students of any changes to city ordinances that could impact them and we ask you as landlords to also share this information with them.

Thank you for your help in keeping our community safe. It is in all of our best interests to take whatever measures we can to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Kevin Pristash
Director, SUNY Cortland Campus Activities Office

Mandatory actions

Off-campus or fully remote students may include:

  • Off-campus residents with classes on campus
  • Students with a fully online course schedule
  • Student teachers in their field placement
  • Students pursuing an off-campus internship

All new off-campus or remote students must complete one of the following actions to avoid being de-registered from their classes after Jan. 4:

  • Students accessing campus for any reason

All students accessing campus for any reason must verify their vaccination status in myRedDragon by Jan. 4.

If students attempt to verify but cannot complete verification of their status, they can upload a photo of their vaccination record card to start a manual review. Vaccination is required for any activity taking place on campus, including employment, athletics, using the Student Life Center or using Memorial Library.

OR

  • Students not visiting campus

If students do not plan to be on campus for any reason, they must log in to myRedDragon and complete the attestation form confirming that they will not to come to campus. These students may also verify their vaccination status through the COVID tab in myRedDragon.


International students

Vaccination

The CDC and New York State Department of Health have recommended that completing a WHO-approved vaccine series is acceptable as proof of being fully vaccinated.

The current list of WHO-approved vaccines (PDF) is available online. A vaccine is approved if “Finalized” appears in the column called “Status of Assessment.”

All health information requirements must be presented in English or accompanied by a translation. Students who require the translation of documents can use one of the many translation services available on the internet.


Employees

Ordering COVID-19 safety supplies

Faculty and staff may order COVID-19 safety supplies online. The process is the same as ordering office supplies.

Please note that custodial staff will be disinfecting once per day. Faculty and staff are encouraged to order enough supplies to accommodate your personal needs.

To order supplies:

  • Visit the COVID safety supplies online ordering system.
  • Add the needed supplies to your cart and check out with your departmental code.
  • Please contact Facilities Operations and Services customer service with any questions at 607-753-2100.

Testing

Employees who are unvaccinated or whose vaccination status has not been verified by Human Resources are required to submit a weekly COVID-19 test. This requirement is unchanged from the policy established in June 2021. If changes are made to the surveillance testing process, campus community members will be notified through email.

Employees whose vaccination status has been verified and confirmed by Human Resources are required to submit to testing every other week. Testing will be conducted by the employee and dropped in one of the test drop-off locations across campus, identical to the process used during the Spring and Fall 2021 semesters. Employees are welcome to participate in weekly testing if desired.

Employees with last names beginning A to L started biweekly testing on Aug. 30. Those with last names beginning M to Z started biweekly testing the week of Monday, Sept. 6.

Drop-off locations for tests remain:

  • Old Main
  • Cornish/Van Hoesen
  • Park Center
  • Service Group
  • Whitaker Hall

Tests should be dropped off between Sunday evenings and Tuesdays at noon. All boxes will be picked up on Tuesday afternoons only. If employees are unable to drop off a test during these days, please email covidscreening@cortland.edu. Employees on a scheduled vacation for the work week or a majority of the work week will not be required to submit a test that week.

Employees must register each test through suny-covid-test.com. Detailed instructions on this process were emailed to employees on Aug. 30.

Additional test kits will be available from your building administrator.

Employee proof of vaccination

Detailed instructions for employees looking to submit proof of vaccination are available online.

All SUNY Cortland employees, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear face coverings in all indoor spaces unless they are alone in their office.

Fully vaccinated employees may submit proof of vaccination to Human Resources through the COVID-19 tab in myRedDragon. Not-yet-vaccinated employees and employees who have not submitted proof of vaccination to Human Resources must test for COVID-19 weekly. Employees who have received a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine are encouraged but not required to submit that documentation using the same process.

Additional resources and information for employees is available from Human Resources.

Isolation and quarantine standards

SUNY Cortland has instituted standards specific to campus employees for returning to campus following a positive test or direct contact exposure. In some instances, these standards are slightly higher than New York State Department of Health guidance. The guidance below reflects a Jan. 7 email to campus.

Eligibility for returning to campus following a positive test or direct exposure

If an employee tests positive

  • Observe a 10-day period of Q/I from reporting to campus, regardless of vaccination status
  • Exceptions will be made for direct care and emergency response employees if operationally needed

 If an employee tests positive with an at-home rapid test

  • Employee must self report to the health department in their county of residence
  • Provide copies of the self-report and any emails from the county health department to the Human Resources Office by emailing mary.saracene@cortland.edu
  • Links to the self-reporting forms for the health departments of surrounding counties are included below:

 If an employee is directly exposed and not vaccinated

  • Quarantine from reporting to campus for a period of 10 days where day 0 is day of exposure

 If an employee is directly exposed and is vaccinated but not yet boosted and is eligible for booster

  • Quarantine from reporting to campus for a period of five days where day 0 is the day of exposure
  • Following the fifth day, if asymptomatic, employees may return to campus
    • It is highly recommended employees get tested at day 5
    • Employees must wear a well-fitting mask for an additional five days

If an employee is exposed and is vaccinated and not yet eligible for booster, or

If an employee is exposed and is vaccinated and boosted at least two weeks prior to exposure

  • Employees may continue to report to work on campus
  • It is highly recommended employees get tested after five days
  • Employees must wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days

Work and leave during isolation or quarantine

  • During any periods of isolation or quarantine under these standards, remote work will be endorsed, subject to approval of supervisors and the nature of the work performed by the employee
  • Paid quarantine leave is available to employees for their first two instances of quarantine and one instance of isolation
    • Employees are eligible for this leave when their absence is due to being positive for COVID-19 or being required to stay away from work as a direct contact to someone who is positive. Staying home to care for another person who is a direct contact following self-quarantine precautions does not meet eligibility for this leave. In this case, the university supports working from home as an option subject to supervisor approval and operational ability to work remotely.
  • Each instance of covered leave provides up to 10 days of paid leave without charge to accruals.

The university will continue to monitor the local situation, adjust standards accordingly and communicate any changes through campus email.


Visitors and events

Please note that face coverings will be required in all indoor spaces for all individuals, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.

Visitor guidelines

All visitors are required to fill out the visitor registration and screening form before arriving on campus. The form asks visitors to affirm that they will follow SUNY Cortland COVID-19 health and safety guidelines during their visit. The form will also assist in COVID-19 contact tracing if necessary. Those filling out the form should not expect to receive a message of confirmation or approval from SUNY Cortland. 

All events on campus must be registered using the event registration form. This form is intended for record keeping and contract tracing in case of COVID-19 exposure. Those who will out the form will not receive a message of approval from SUNY Cortland.

All visitors to campus are required to follow campus COVID-19 guidelines and protocols, including adhering to any vaccination requirements instituted for specific campus events. Unvaccinated individuals will not be allowed in the non-dining areas of the Student Life Center or any residence halls.

Athletic spectators

Face coverings are required for all spectators, regardless of vaccination status, at SUNY Cortland's indoor athletic events. Spectators at outdoor events are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings.

Event guidelines

Requirements for all on-campus events, programs, and meetings:

  • Face coverings. Face coverings are required at all indoor events for all individuals, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status. Face coverings are strongly encouraged at outdoor events.
  • Contact information for contact tracing. Event and program organizers must collect contact information for all participants to facilitate contact tracing in case of COVID-19 exposure.
  • Event/program form. Individuals looking to host an event on campus should fill out the new event/program form online.

In addition to these requirements, we expect that all events and programs on campus will also integrate some of the other mitigation strategies listed below. Public health experts advocate layering mitigation measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. For example, an event that requires all participants to wear face coverings and be vaccinated carries less risk for COVID-19 transmission than an event that only requires that participants wear face coverings. The layers of protection an event or meeting organizer puts into place will depend on a variety of factors, such as the purpose, length, and location of the event or meeting.

Recommended mitigation strategies for all on-campus events, programs, and meetings:

  • Capacity limits. Reduce the capacity of indoor meeting and event spaces to 50% to allow for increased physical distancing.
  • Shortened meeting and event times. Limit the time people are together in the same room.
  • Food and beverage limits. SUNY Cortland strongly suggests not serving food, especially if the event includes a mix of students, employees, and visitors from off-campus whose vaccination status is unknown. If serving food, offer individually wrapped and take-out food options to limit the sharing of food and serving utensils. Have adequate space for people to spread out while eating by reducing table capacity to at least 50%. Offer an option to eat in a different room or outside to minimize the amount of time people are gathered together without masks while eating or drinking.
  • Vaccination requirements: Require that all visitors to campus at an event show proof of vaccination before entry.
  • Event or program organizers may ask for proof of vaccination by requiring participants to show their Excelsior Pass or their vaccination card.
  • Virtual and hybrid options: Hold virtual meetings for large groups of people (more than 10) or for meetings primarily designed to deliver information. Create opportunities for people to attend in-person meetings and events virtually. Some individuals may have different comfort levels, be in a high-risk group, or be a caregiver to someone in a high-risk group or children under the age of 12.
  • Face coverings. Face coverings are strongly encouraged at outdoor events for all individuals, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.

Unvaccinated individuals will not be allowed in the non-dining areas of the Student Life Center or any residence halls.

Forms

Individuals looking to host an event on campus should fill out the event registration form online. This form is intended for members of the campus community to register their event for record keeping and contract tracing in case of COVID-19 exposure. Those who will out the form should note that they will not receive a message of approval from SUNY Cortland.


Monitoring and containment

Monitoring of community infection and vaccination measures

According to the CDC, multiple factors should be considered for managing environments where 100% of the population is not fully vaccinated.

The primary factors to consider include: (1) level of community transmission of COVID-19; (2) COVID-19 vaccination rate, including among students, faculty and staff; (3) implementation of a COVID-19 testing program with high participation from the not-yet-vaccinated campus population; and (4) any local COVID-19 outbreaks or increasing trends.

Therefore, the following guidance applies:

  • Not-yet-vaccinated, partially vaccinated, or exempt individuals: Individuals who are not yet fully vaccinated are responsible for continuing to wear face coverings on campus and should continue to observe physical distancing in indoor settings when possible.
  • Campus discretion: SUNY Cortland may impose additional face covering requirements or restrictions within the instructional setting, such as no eating or drinking, above and beyond the CDC guidance. The university will work with campus stakeholders in the development of any additional changes and communicate those policies.
  • 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 the campus for consideration of an exemption from face coverings based on a medical accommodation, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Community transmission: Additional requirements may be adopted by SUNY Cortland or SUNY System Administration based on the increasing COVID-19 transmission rates on campus.

Isolation and quarantine responsibilities

Symptomatic students are expected to quarantine until their COVID-19 test results are known, at which time they will be instructed on next steps. COVID-19 positive individuals will be required to isolate based on guidance from the Cortland County Health Department.

Campus residents: Students living on campus who test positive are required to isolate either at home or in designated spaces on campus, following all instructions and guidelines issued by SUNY Cortland and the Cortland County Health Department, until they are cleared to resume usual activities. They are expected to cooperate with contact tracing.

Off-campus students: Off-campus students testing positive will isolate either at home or in their off-campus residence for the isolation period. They are expected to cooperate with contact tracing.

Vaccinated individuals: Campus community members who are fully vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19-positive individuals do not need to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic. These individuals should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure, with appropriate follow up should symptoms develop.

Not-yet-vaccinated and exempt individuals: Campus community members with recent COVID-19 exposure who are not fully vaccinated must quarantine for 10 days.

In addition, not-yet-vaccinated or exempt individuals should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure. If symptoms develop, they should promptly follow up with a local health authority of healthcare provider and self-quarantine if they are no longer in mandatory quarantine. These individuals should wear a face covering and remain maintain physically distant from others until medical evaluation and follow-up instruction has been provided.

Questions

If you have questions that are not addressed in the guidance above, please submit them through the COVID Questions form.

Employees also are encouraged to contact their supervisors with immediate questions.




Restart News

Increased surveillance testing starting next week

Sept. 17, 2021
Certain students will be contacted this weekend with details on how to register.

Important reminders about student absences due to COVID-19

Sept. 15, 2021
A message to faculty and staff about student absences.

Important reminders if COVID-19 keeps you out of class

Sept. 15, 2021
A message to students on the steps they should take in case of an absence.

President urges safety following rise in COVID-19 cases

Sept. 10, 2021
Students are encouraged to follow safety guidelines this weekend.