Below are responses to the commonly asked questions we have been receiving from students, families, faculty, staff and the community about our Spring 2021 reopening.
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 as “reflex testing” is conducted on the individual swabs collected from people in that pool in order to detect the specific member(s) who are positive for COVID-19.
All SUNY Cortland students living in university-operated housing, and all off-campus students attending in-person courses or activities, or accessing facilities/resources on the SUNY Cortland campus, are required to participate in weekly testing.
Employees who report to work on campus for some or all of their work obligation also will be required to complete weekly testing. This requirement applies even if the employee is not scheduled to be on campus the day of their appointment or does not otherwise intend to be on campus that week.
Create a COVID-19 Surveillance Account and register online the day before your testing appointment. Once you have created an account, you will log back into that same account for all future tests.
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, please bring with you the personal computer or tablet, or inform one of the staff members that you do not have a smart phone. We will assist you with the rest of the process at the testing site.
On the day of your scheduled testing, please:
Especially in the morning hours, you should expect to be at the testing site no more than 20 minutes and most likely less than that. The actual self-swabbing takes less than one minute.
There is no quarantine or isolation required on the day you participate in pool testing. If we learn that you are included in a positive pool, we will contact you via email and ask that you begin a precautionary self-isolation until we can identify which specific member(s) of the pool have tested positive. Once we have identified the positive individual(s) we will contact you again to update you about your status. Self-isolation requires you to remain in your residence and refrain from having visitors and/or visiting anyone else. You must not attend in-person classes or work shifts, visit the Student Life Center, or participate in any other group activity or social gatherings during the self-isolation period. You may leave your room to get grab-n-go meals, but you should go by yourself and not eat in a dining hall or any other common spaces.
We expect to receive initial pool test results 24 to 48 hours after you participate in pool testing. You will receive an email notification letting you know whether your pool is negative or positive. If you are included in a positive pool, you will be given instructions regarding the need to observe the precautionary self-isolation. Additional “reflex testing” will then be conducted on the individual samples contained in positive pools. Reflex test results will be received in another 24 to 36 hours. If the reflex test results indicate that your individual sample is positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted directly by Student Health Service or Human Resources Office staff. Individuals identified as negative through the reflex test will also receive an email update indicating permission to conclude the precautionary self-isolation period.
Individuals testing positive for COVID-19 should avoid participating in testing for 90 days following the initial positive test date. If this applies to you and you are selected for pool testing, email email@example.com and inform us that you will not be participating.
Individuals who have only received a positive antibody test and have not received a positive COVID-19 test result should still participate in weekly pool testing.
Individuals currently under a mandatory period of isolation or quarantine as determined by the appropriate 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to inform us you will not be participating.
Online students who are coming to campus to utilize resources and/or services, visit facilities, engage in activities, eat, study, etc. are required to participate in the pool testing program. Additionally, online-only students living in campus residence halls or in off-campus housing with other SUNY Cortland students are required to participate in the pool testing program.
If you never report to campus to work or to use campus resources, you are not required to be tested. Please email email@example.com and inform us that you will not be participating due to not reporting to campus at all.
Individuals engaging in student teaching who live on campus or in off-campus housing with other SUNY Cortland students are required to participate in the pool testing program.
When you are informed of your testing time, please let your host teacher and supervisor know that you will need to be out of school during that time and provide a copy of your email appointment notification as documentation. Since the testing does not take very long, you should be able to participate in student teaching for at least part of that day.
Those student teachers who do not live on campus or in off-campus housing with other SUNY Cortland students should respond to their email appointment notification about testing by stating they cannot attend because they are student teaching outside of the Central New York region (Long Island, New York City, Rochester, etc.) and attesting to the fact that they are not on campus for any reason.
Testing is required 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. Students who knowingly skip the testing appointment may face student conduct action. Employees who knowingly skip their testing appointment may be subject to disciplinary sanctions consistent with their collective bargaining agreement.
When you create your COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Account you will be prompted to enter medical insurance information. Your insurance will not be billed for the initial pool testing. If you are in a pool that tests positive, insurance may be billed for the cost of the follow up reflex testing that is used to identify the specific member(s) of the pool who is/are positive for COVID-19. If you do not have medical insurance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further guidance.
If at any time you receive a bill from this pool testing, please contact Mary Saracene in the Human Resources Office, Miller Building, Room 301, or submit the bill electronically to email@example.com.
Individuals obtaining vaccinations are not exempt from testing or any other safety protocols including face coverings and physical distancing.
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.
According to guidance from the Cortland County Health Department, even if you test negative while in quarantine, you are required to complete the entire timeframe.
The university is following the guidance from the CCHD and is not permitted to release students from quarantine to allow transfer to another county.
You will receive a daily call from the CCHD or text from a NYS contact tracer. They will ask you a series of questions and provide a release date during the call. You will also be sent an email titled, “SECURE: Health information Re: Quarantine” which is the official quarantine order from the CCHD. You are able to call the CCHD at 607-758-5526 regarding your status.
Student Conduct will be involved if health and safety protocols established by the university are not being followed.
You should inform your faculty if you are not going to be able to attend any in-person classes on your schedule. Upon request, Student Health Service will send documentation to your associate dean’s office.
Your quarantine or isolation will end at midnight. Your transportation will be arranged for the morning after your final full day in quarantine. For example, if you are told that your quarantine or isolation ends on Thursday, Jan. 21, you will be officially released from Q/I housing at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 22, and you will leave Q/I housing on the morning of Friday, Jan. 22.
SUNY Cortland is required to follow the SUNY policy for Uniform COVID-19 Student Sanctions, issued by SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras on Sept. 25, 2020. Students will be held accountable for following all required health and safety behaviors, such as doing a daily screening, wearing face masks, adhering to occupancy limits and abiding by quarantine and isolation protocols.
Employees found not to be adhering to required expectations can be reported to their supervisors or to the Human Resources Office. Employees who are not following the requirements above and detailed further in the Guidelines for Returning to Work on Campus may be subject to severe disciplinary sanctions consistent with their collective bargaining agreement.
Faculty can ask students to show proof of their daily screening (the “green screen”) before entering the classroom for an in-person class. The scope of the weekly testing, with the complication that students who contracted COVID-19 in the past 90 days are excluded from pool testing, means that there is no systematic way to update students’ compliance with weekly pool testing on a daily basis and distribute that list to faculty.
Please call the Cortland Auxiliary office at 607-753-2430.
Due to COVID-19, all medical and nursing services are by appointment only. There are no walk-in services. Call Student Health Service at 607-753-4811 and select option 6 to speak to a triage nurse.
Emergency medical care is available at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center, a short distance from campus. The emergency room is staffed by physicians 24 hours a day. In addition, Cortland Convenient Care — operated by Cayuga Medical Center — is located on Route 281. The student is responsible for charges incurred at off-campus medical facilities. Student Health Service has appointments from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
It is our intention to have the Student Life Center open as long as we remain under the 100-case threshold mandated by SUNY. We will be following all health and safety protocols as we did in the Fall 2020 semester, which includes mandatory face masks, physical distancing, occupancy limits, proof of completing the daily screening app and frequent cleaning.
Tuesday, March 9 and Wednesday, April 14.
All SUNYs were required to cancel spring break in an attempt to limit travel and gatherings, which would lead to further spread of the virus. We recognize that going straight through the semester without any breaks would lead to fatigue for students and faculty. The wellness days were put in to address this.
There will be no classes and no assignments due on wellness days. We are requiring students to follow all protocols – limiting gatherings, requiring masks and physical distancing – on wellness days. We expect students to refrain from traveling on wellness days.