Union Where You Are: Plans for 2020-21

Testing FAQs

We will continue to update this list of FAQs. If you have a specific question that is not answered here you can contact an office directly or email us planning20-21@union.edu.

  • I am sick and need to be tested. Where should I go?

    Individuals who are sick should remain at home or in their residence hall room. Individuals with symptoms should not be tested at Viniar.

    • Students will need to schedule an appointment with Health Services in advance by calling (518) 388-6120.
    • Employees should contact their primary care provider.
  • How does the test work?

    This test is a self-administered nasal swab sample observed by a trained Union staff member. To learn more, watch this video.

  • What if I test positive?

    When an individual tests positive the health of the individual and the health of our entire community are the College’s priorities. Union College Health Services, Environmental Health and Safety, and Human Resources will work very closely with the Schenectady County Department of Health to implement isolation and quarantine protocols and to begin contact tracing. In addition, we will make every effort to be respectful and maintain the privacy of the individual. For specific information on student or employee protocols, see the Testing Page.

  • What if I want to be tested more (employees)?

    We are not offering additional testing. Employees seeking additional testing should contact their primary care physician or look for the free testing sites across the Capital Region.

  • What type of test is Union College using for their screening tests?

    Union College is partnering with the Broad Institute for testing.

  • My result was indeterminate. What does that mean?

    There are a number of reasons why a test does not come back positive or negative. To understand the results and what they mean, please visit the Broad Institute website.

  • How long will it take for me to receive my results?

    Typically we receive results from the Broad Institute in 24-48 hours from the time the samples leave Union (typically after 5 p.m.). However, there are a number of reasons it may take longer to receive results.

  • Where will I find my results?

    Negative results will be emailed to students, faculty and staff. If an individual tests positive they will receive a call from Union College Health Services (students) or Human Resources (employees).

  • How many individuals are tested on campus each week? Why are the numbers different in the dashboard from week to week? [Updated Oct. 26]
    • We have approximately 1,800 students and 850 employees who are part of our testing regimen. The employee number includes weekly and monthly testers. The actual number of tests varies from week to week.
    • There are a number of reasons why someone may not be tested in a given week (e.g., if an employee was ill or absent, if life circumstances prevent a test in a given week, if an employee's testing status changes, if an individual is in isolation or quarantine, etc.).In such circumstances, we ask the person to get tested as soon as possible upon return.
    • If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, the Department of Health has asked that we not test that individual again for 90 days.
  • How is the College monitoring testing compliance? [Updated Oct. 26]
    • We monitor both our students and employees for testing compliance.
    • When a student misses an appointment, Health Services contacts the student to reschedule and if the student does not schedule and receive a test, the Office of Community Standards will follow up. Non-compliance can result in suspension, loss of residential privileges and/or other sanctions.
    • A summary report indicating employee non-compliance with initial testing, the emocha application, and the community commitment has been provided to senior staff for additional follow up with employees.
    • Overall, testing data indicate that compliance with our testing regimen is quite strong.
    • Human Resources staff members are implementing a review process by which they will review weekly compliance. Employees can expect to hear from Human Resources or their supervisor if they are found to be non-compliant. Continued non-compliance will result in disciplinary action.
    • We ask all employees to do their part to protect our community by following the testing regimen for their role.
  • How is the College testing students with symptoms? Employees with symptoms? How are symptomatic results conveyed to our community? [Updated Oct. 26]
    • Students reporting symptoms via the emocha app are contacted by a Wicker staff member to assess their symptoms and determine if they need to be seen by staff at the Wicker Wellness Center to receive a COVID-19 test that day.
    • Students with symptoms who have made an appointment at Health Services will receive a rapid test. If the initial rapid test is positive, the student will be placed in isolation. If the rapid test is negative, we then follow up with a regular PCR test (also administered at the Wicker Wellness Center), and they then quarantine until test results are confirmed.
    • In cases of students who go to Ellis with symptoms, we are able to access those records. More generally, we are notified by DOH if one of our students here in Schenectady County tests positive from outside of our testing center. Positive results returned from our campus testing and those from Ellis are included in the dashboard.
    • The College does not test employees reporting symptoms. Employees with symptoms are instructed not to report to work, to contact Human Resources and to contact their physician.
    • Employees with symptoms must work with HR to coordinate the steps required to return to campus. The employee will work with their doctor to arrange any needed testing. The employee will not be allowed back on campus until HR receives a release note from the doctor and/or a negative result from a COVID-19 test.
    • Employees reporting a positive result obtained at an off-campus facility to Human Resources would be included in our isolation numbers. Employees who are positive must follow their local department of health’s protocol and may not return to work until they are cleared by the department of health and inform Human Resources of their release from isolation.
  • I have questions or feedback about the College’s testing and compliance practices. To whom should I direct these questions? [Updated Oct. 26]

    Please email covid19@union.edu with any feedback or questions.
    We are committed to continuous improvement and are open to constructive feedback.

  • Why do the dashboard numbers sometimes change in unanticipated ways? How can I be confident that the College is sharing all of the information it has about testing? [Updated Oct. 26]
    • Results are returned from the Broad Institute into the evening and nighttime hours most days. The dashboard will be updated between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. daily and will reflect final numbers from the prior day.
    • The local Department of Health makes decisions about quarantine length. While most quarantines are 14 days, there are circumstances in which they lengthen or shorten the duration of a quarantine, based on the date of contact with the known positive. As a result, quarantine numbers may change from what might have been anticipated. In other words, the quarantine period for individuals that are close contacts of a positive may be different due to the date when they had contact.
    • Reviewing test results and compliance for many of the health and safety protocols requires team members in Health Services, Human Resources and other administrative employees to work nights and weekends on a regular basis. Please know that this is an extremely dedicated team that understands the importance of keeping our community healthy and informed. Should you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to email us at covid19@union.edu.
  • Why has the College engaged Saratoga Hospital to assist with reviewing results and informing employees when they test positive for COVID-19? [Added Nov. 12]

    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.

  • How is my health information protected by the College? [Added Nov. 12]

    Union College and Saratoga Hospital agree to comply with all applicable laws relating to the confidentiality of employee and non-resident employee health information including, but not limited to, the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”).

    Specific information about the Broad's Institute's practices including the Fact Sheet for Patients and how results can be accessed, is available on the Broad Institute's website.

  • Broad - Solutions to Common Issues [Jan. 6, 2021]
  • If I have tested positive in the past 90 days do I have to participate in the mandatory campus testing? [April 2, 2021]

    If you have tested positive in the past 90 days, per the New York State Department of Health, you should not participate in campus testing. Health Services must have a copy of your positive test result and they will notify you when you will need to come back into the testing cycle.

  • If I test positive after I have been fully vaccinated, what will I need to do? [April 2, 2021]

    You will be required to isolate for 10 days from the point of your symptom onset or the date of your positive test.

  • If I have tested positive in the past 90 days do I have to quarantine? [April 2, 2021]

    If you have tested positive in the past 90 days you do not have to quarantine if you come into contact with a known positive as long as you do not develop new symptoms. You also do not have to quarantine as a part of the NY state travel guidelines.