COVID-19 Updates

Remote instruction until Jan. 10 and updated winter term protocols

Publication Date

Dear Union College Community,

We have been closely following the developments with the omicron variant . While our expectation remains that we will have as normal a winter term as possible, we are putting in place additional protocols to help us prepare for a safe return.

The most significant change is a delay in the return to campus by one week, during which classes will be held online.

This brief delay will provide an opportunity for testing after holiday gatherings, for students and employees to get booster shots and to better prepare for the conditions we will face in early January. To learn more about our rationale for this decision, please view this video from President Harris.

We know you may have questions about the information shared below. To ensure we are able to answer your questions before the College closes for the holiday break (Dec. 23 through Jan. 2), we are providing the following webinars tomorrow, Dec. 22. Webinars will be recorded and posted to our COVID-19 updates page through the end of the week. Registration is required and questions can be submitted when you register.

Calendar modification

  • We will begin our winter term remotely on Jan. 3. All classes will be online for the first week. Residence halls will reopen for students on Jan. 9, with in-person classes beginning on Jan. 10. Students who have been in residence halls over break will have the option to remain on campus.
  • Faculty and staff who are able to work remotely should do so until Jan. 10.

Booster vaccinations required by Jan. 16
Getting a booster is critical to our ability to be on campus in person. All students and employees who are eligible (two months after a J&J vaccine or six months after the second dose of Moderna or Pfizer) are required to get their booster and show proof by Jan. 16, unless you request and are granted an accommodation.

  • Students should email a copy of their vaccination record to Health Services at uchealthcenter@union.edu.
  • Employees should upload their vaccination status through the emocha app.
  • If you are having trouble obtaining a booster in your home area please look now to schedule in the Schenectady area for the week you return.
  • For those not yet eligible, the College expects individuals to receive a booster within two weeks of becoming eligible.

Testing

  • Prior to returning to campus
    • All students are required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of returning to campus and show proof of a negative test when arriving back on campus. A PCR test is preferred, but a rapid test is acceptable. Photos of rapid tests must have your name and the date of the test clearly written on the test.
    • Employees who believe they may have COVID should arrange with their health care provider to complete a diagnostic test.
    • Anyone who tests positive should not come to campus.
      • Students should send a copy of your positive test result to the Wicker Wellness Center at uchealthcenter@union.edu, and isolate at home for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or from the date of your test if you are asymptomatic.
      • Employees should inform Gwen Pulvirent (pulvireg@union.edu) in HR and their supervisor.
    • Reminder: anyone who has tested positive between Thanksgiving and the return to campus should send documentation of the positive result to the Health Center (students) - uchealthcenter@union.edu or Gwen Pulvirent (employees) - pulvireg@union.edu.
  • Week 1 (remote week)
    • All employees are required to either complete an on-campus test during Week 1 or a PCR or rapid test away from campus. Negative test results from off-campus testing do not need to be reported. As noted above, employees who test positive should inform Gwen Pulvirent (pulvireg@union.edu) in HR and their supervisor.
    • Students who must be on campus week 1 are required to test.
    • Testing details will be forthcoming.
  • Week 2
    • Everyone will be required to test twice on campus.
    • Testing will be required on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday AND then again either Thursday or Friday.
    • Testing will be held at Old Chapel/Hale House and students must use the on-campus testing center.

Masks
We will continue to require masks on campus to start the winter term. Masks will be required in public indoor spaces and are strongly encouraged to be worn in residence halls

As a reminder, the College will be closed from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2, but we will continue to provide updated information through email. In addition, we will have updated FAQs on the Union College COVID-19 updates website in the coming days to help you with any questions you have.

Best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday. We look forward to seeing you on campus early in the new year.

Sincerely,

Michele Angrist
Interim Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Fran’Cee Brown-McClure
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Tye Deines
Chief Human Resources Officer

Scott Jones
Vice President for Administration and Finance