COVID-19 Updates

Weekly COVID Update - Jan. 21, 2022

Publication Date

Dear Union College Community,

As we near the end of week 3, and our second week of in-person classes, we wanted to offer some updates related to our COVID-19 protocols and performance.

We continue to see positive cases in the community as a result of the highly contagious omicron variant, although there are indications this week that cases may be falling across parts of the country, including the Northeast. Closer to home, we are pleased to report that the vast majority of our students and employees who are testing positive are reporting no, or only mild, symptoms. Additionally, we continue to see no evidence of COVID-19 transmission in the classroom. The latest results of our COVID-19 testing program can be found on our COVID-19 dashboard.

The College’s COVID-19 advisory group, comprising members of faculty, staff and student leaders and senior administration met this week to discuss a range of topics related to our COVID-19 response. Many members of the group reported having heard from students who were extremely grateful to be back in the classroom, a sentiment shared directly by students on the advisory team.

Contact Tracing

Since the early days of the pandemic, contact tracing has been part of our COVID-19 response protocols.

In consultation with the Schenectady County Department of Health based on new guidance, we have decided to end our contact tracing work effective Jan. 28, a decision consistent with some of our peer institutions in the region.

We will continue to monitor positive results for COVID-19 clusters and are prepared to do targeted contact tracing as necessary. In addition, we will be providing guidance for individuals on what steps should be taken for their own contact notification after receiving positive results.

Testing

We will return to a once-a-week testing regimen next week. All students and those employees working completely or mostly on campus next week must get tested. Testing will be offered Jan. 25-26 (Tuesday and Wednesday) from 9 a.m. – noon and 1 – 4 p.m. at Old Chapel/Hale House. Off campus tests are not accepted to meet the weekly testing requirement.

As a reminder, our testing operation continues to be staffed by Union employee volunteers. We are deeply appreciative of all those who have given their time to help our community in addition to their regular work.

Boosters

All Union students and employees who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 booster and who haven’t received an exemption from the College are required to provide proof of their booster to the College by the end of the day Monday, Jan. 24.

Students should send a copy of their vaccination records to uchealthcenter@union.edu. Failure to comply will result in conduct action as well as a registration hold. Employees should email their records to hr@union.edu. Failure to comply will result in disciplinary action.

Masks

While most members of our community continue to follow our masking requirements, we have received some reports of individuals not wearing their masks, or wearing them improperly, in areas where masks are required. Given the contagiousness of omicron it is especially important that we remain diligent in wearing our masks.

Also, please remember that surgical-style masks, or medical masks such as N95, KN95 or KF94s are required. Cloth masks may only be worn in conjunction with a surgical-style mask. Surgical masks are available at the testing center for those who need some and we hope to receive a shipment of KN95 masks soon.

Thanks to everyone for your continued effort to keep our community healthy, especially during these first weeks of the winter term.

Sincerely,

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

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