COVID-19 Updates

Winter break - follow up for employees

Publication Date

Dear colleagues,

Following up on President Harris’s November 6 communication, we write to share more about our testing program and health protocols for the winter break (Thanksgiving through the New Year).

Work remotely, if possible
As a reminder, we strongly encourage employees to work remotely whenever possible over the break. This will serve to further reduce our on-campus density and the risk of transmission.

Testing routine during winter break
The College will maintain a minimal presence of testing for employees and students who must remain on campus. As the vast majority of our students will be home for the break, the College shifts temporarily to the following:

  • Employees who cannot work remotely and will continue to perform a substantial portion of their work on campus will be tested weekly.

  • Individuals on a monthly testing routine will not be tested between Nov. 24 and Jan. 6.

  • Employees working remotely during this period of time will not be tested.

  • Employees who are periodically on campus (e.g., stopping by their private office or lab briefly, etc.) will not be tested.

  • If you are scheduled for paid time off in a given week, please do not come to campus to be tested.

  • Students remaining on campus will continue to be tested weekly.

If you have questions about your testing frequency, please speak with your supervisor or department chair. It is our goal to provide testing to only those individuals who must be on campus during this time. All on-campus employees will be tested upon return to campus in January, when we expect to resume our normal testing routine.

Testing Center Schedule
As a reminder, the last day of fall-term testing will be Monday, Nov. 23. If you are scheduled to be tested on Tuesday, Nov. 24 or Wednesday, Nov. 25, you are welcome to walk in for testing on Nov. 23. Note: If you are not scheduled to be on campus that week, you should not come to campus to be tested. Employees who will be tested during this period do not need to schedule appointments in advance. All December testing dates are walk-in.

For those who will be tested in December, the Testing Center will be available as follows:

  • Dec. 1: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

  • Dec. 8: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

  • Dec. 15: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The Testing Center will close Dec. 16 and will reopen for general employee testing Jan. 7.

Action required: Complete the revised Consent to Testing Form
While Union College staff members will continue to facilitate testing provided by the Broad Institute, we have engaged the additional support of Dr. Michael Holland and his team at Saratoga Hospital Medical Group, Occupational Medicine, to assist Union College Human Resources in communicating results to employees who test positive for COVID-19. This agreement begins Dec. 1. Beginning on that date, the test results in the Care Evolve system will show Dr. Holland’s name as the referring physician. For more information about our engagement with Saratoga Hospital please consult our Testing FAQs.

As a result of this change, we have updated our Consent to Testing Form to explicitly add Saratoga Hospital as a provider that will have access to your test results. Employees who were part of a testing routine during the fall term will be sent a new Consent to Testing Form through the Qualtrics platform directly to their email. You will not be able to be tested without a new executed consent form. This consent form will be applicable through the winter break and the upcoming academic terms. Even if you will not be tested over break, we recommend that you complete this form now if you expect to be tested in the winter or spring terms.

Travel considerations
Staying home is the best way to prevent yourself and others from getting sick. If you are considering travel for personal reasons, you will need to adhere to CDC and New York State guidelines. As of Nov. 4, new NY State travel guidelines are in place. As always, guidelines remain subject to change, so be sure to check regularly if you are planning or considering travel.

If you need to travel during this period of time, please discuss any plans that may affect your ability to be back on campus (including any quarantine period) with your supervisor or department chair.

Health and safety protocols
As a reminder, if you will be on campus for any reason during the winter break, you must follow the Health and Safety protocols outlined in our Union Where You Are site. This includes completing your daily health screening, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.

Thank you for your continued commitment to the health and safety of our community.


Michele Gibson
Vice President for Administration and Finance

Strom Thacker
Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs