COVID-19 Updates

New Pre-Arrival COVID-19 Testing Requirement for Fall Term

Publication Date

Dear Students,

I hope you are doing well and looking forward to your return to Union. As we approach the start of the fall term, I am writing to share new information regarding testing and attestation. Out of an abundance of caution, we are now asking all students to get tested for COVID-19 prior to arrival on campus.

We understand that students arriving on campus next week for their 14-Day Quarantine may have difficulty getting tested before their scheduled arrival time. These students should email Health Services and alert the staff if they are unable to get tested before they arrive.
We have been working to ensure the safety of all members of the Union community, and we appreciate your patience and support as we continue to update our protocols.

Union’s testing plan includes pre-arrival testing, initial testing upon return to campus, weekly surveillance testing and testing for symptomatic students.

  • Pre-Arrival Testing
: To help reduce the number of initial positive cases on campus, all students are required to be tested for COVID-19 and submit their test results a week prior to their arrival. Students can submit results to the Health Services either by fax at (518) 388-6147 or scanned and emailed to Any student who tests positive should follow the directives of their local department of health and not arrive on campus until they have been cleared by their local department of health. Students testing positive should also notify Health Services. PLEASE NOTE: All students will still need to be tested upon arrival to campus as well. If you have any questions, please contact Health Services at (518) 388-6120.

    There are many ways to arrange for testing and we understand availability can vary by state. Some options include:
    • Contact your primary care provider to schedule a test. 

    • Check with your local urgent care centers or pharmacy. For example, CVS has 1800 testing locations in 36 states and the average turnaround time is 3-7 days. Rite Aid offers testing in 15 states. 

    • In New York, students can call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-(888) 364-3065 to schedule a test. 

  • Initial testing upon return to campus: All students and employees will be screened and tested for the Sars-Cov-2 virus as they return to campus for the term. Faculty and staff already working on campus will also be tested prior to the start of the academic year. For those students living on campus, initial COVID-19 testing will be part of the move-in process and conducted centrally at Memorial Field House. Students living off campus who will be studying on campus will need to sign up for a time to have an initial test administered by Health Services. That testing will be available from September 1-3. More information has been sent to off campus students in a separate email. Students will not be able to attend in-person classes or activities until they receive a negative test result. 

    Union has engaged the Broad Institute as our provider for our initial and regular screening testing. We expect results to take up to 48-72 hours to receive. This test is a self-administered nasal swab sample observed by a trained Union staff member. To learn more, watch this video
  • Ongoing testing - After the initial testing, students will be tested weekly. Staff and faculty will be tested periodically throughout the term. Employees with high levels of interactions with others will be tested more frequently.

  • Testing for symptomatic students - In addition to the screening testing, Health Services will provide testing for symptomatic students. Testing for students experiencing symptoms will be conducted at the Wicker Wellness Center. Students will need to schedule an appointment in advance by calling (518) 388-6120. Students experiencing symptoms should not report to Memorial Field House for testing. 

  • Health Services will initiate an isolation protocol for any student who tests positive or is presumed positive pending the result of a test in accordance with state Department of Health guidelines. 

Arrival Quarantine Protocols
All students will need to quarantine for some amount of time prior to the start of the term. There are two types of arrival quarantine. 

  • 14-day Quarantine for Students coming from abroad or from a state or territory on the NY State restricted list - Students traveling from states or territories on the NY State Travel Advisory list and those traveling from other countries are subject to the 14-day quarantine requirements. Students can arrange their own quarantine or use College-coordinated quarantine. All students that have signed up for College-coordinated quarantine have received specific messaging from my office with detailed information about this process.

  • Pre-test-results quarantine - All students who are not part of the NY State Travel Advisory or traveling from another country will move into their campus room and self-quarantine until their initial test results come back negative, which we expect will take up to 48-72 hours. For the 48-72 hour pre-test-result quarantine, a student may only leave their room to use the restroom.

  • If a student’s home state is added to the Travel Advisory list prior to move-in, they should contact Residential Life to make arrangements to arrive on campus and coordinate a 14-day quarantine. They will also need to be in communication with their professor(s) if the 14-days will overlap with the start of classes. Faculty have been informed that students in this situation will need to fulfill their course obligations online during this quarantine period.

Daily Attestation App and Website
To keep you and our Union College community safe, we are utilizing a digital health company, emocha, to monitor individuals entering campus for symptoms of COVID-19.

Starting on August 25, we will begin to use emocha’s mobile app to enable students, faculty and staff to conduct a self-screening of symptoms each day before leaving their residence hall or reporting to work. The emocha solution is HIPAA-compliant, meaning the data is secure and shared with Health Services (students) and Human Resources (employees). We maintain strict confidentiality of all protected health information.

You will receive more information about the use of this app/website in the coming days.
I encourage you to continue checking the Union Where You Are site, which will have the most up-to-date information.


Fran'Cee Brown-McClure, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students