COVID-19 Updates

[Students] Updated COVID-19 Isolation Protocols

Publication Date

Dear Students:

Welcome back to campus. As we return to in-person classes and on-campus living, I want to share further details about our COVID-19 isolation protocols. As you plan your pre-arrival testing please bring a copy of your negative results with you to the testing center. Please only send positive test results to the Health Center.

As I shared in my message this past Thursday, New York State and Schenectady County have adopted CDC guidance that shortens the length of time that individuals need to isolate following a positive COVID-19 test result from ten days to five, if certain conditions are met. Below is the guidance for our students effective Jan. 8, 2022.

Release from isolation after 5 days
To be released from isolation, an individual must be asymptomatic or their symptoms must be resolving AND they must wear a mask around others at all times for the post-isolation period of five days upon being released.

This is good news from the standpoint that we want to be able to release students from isolation as soon as it is medically safe to do so to allow them to resume their in-person academic experience with as little disruption as possible. The challenge is that more than half of our students share a living space with someone else, making it nearly impossible for those students to meet the masking condition.

Post-isolation Period Guidelines
In order to allow students to return to on-campus activities as quickly as possible during their post-isolation period while still ensuring that roommates of COVID-19 positive individuals are being afforded an appropriate measure of care, we have developed the following protocols.

  • Students who do not share a bedroom will be released back to their on-campus residence after five days if they meet all the criteria outlined above. They will be required to wear a mask at all times on campus when around others for five days, but will be allowed to remove their mask while alone in their bedroom.
  • Students who live in a shared bedroom and who meet the release criteria will be allowed to return to campus so they can attend class and participate in other activities. They will not be allowed to sleep in their bedroom for the next five days, however. Instead, the College will provide a hotel room nearby for the student at no cost. The student must sleep in the hotel for five nights following release from isolation and will not have to wear a mask while alone in their hotel room.
  • Students who share a bedroom with a roommate(s) who also tested positive within 90 days are able to return to their shared bedroom.
  • Students who live off campus and need to participate in our post isolation process should contact the Dean of Students office at dos_office@union.edu.

These protocols apply to all students who test positive, including those who are currently isolating as a result of pre-arrival positive test results and those who choose to isolate at home should they become infected after their return.

Transition back to campus for those who have tested positive at home
Please remember that your local department of health should release you from isolation. Please share that information with the health center and they will clear you to return to campus.

Due to logistical concerns and feasibility we are unable to allow students who tested positive at home into our post-isolation hotel program until January 12th. This means that if you tested positive at home between Jan. 1-6, you cannot move into your bedroom (with a roommate) or into post-isolation hotel space until Jan. 12. If you are able to come to campus for classes (e.g. your home is within driving distance to campus) and return home during this period of time to sleep (Jan. 10-12) please do so otherwise you will need to work with your faculty and Class Dean. If you have sent your positive result to Health Services, you will receive a follow up email with details. If you have questions, please email dos_office@union.edu.

We understand that this transition to this new isolation and post-isolation guidance developed by the New York State Department of Health is complicated. We appreciate your patience as we adapt to these changes in order to provide the best educational experience to our students. Thanks for all that you continue to do to safeguard your own health and the health of those around you. I look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

Sincerely,

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