Welcome, but first...

Our goal is to keep our community safe and healthy. Here are the policies and guidelines regarding COVID we'll be following at OCC. 
 

COVID Requirements

  • Everyone must wear a mask while indoors on campus regardless of vaccination status. 
  • Students and employees must test once per month.  
    • Individuals with an approved vaccination exemption must test weekly
  • SUNY requires all in-person students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  The College also requires all employees to be vaccinated.  For more information contact [email protected]

    SUNY Policies
    OCC Policies

COVID FAQS

The New York State Commissioner of Health has endorsed a pooled saliva surveillance testing program developed by SUNY Upstate Medical University to be performed across SUNY campuses and a small number of other schools to help detect and prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. SUNY Upstate is being assisted in this effort by Quadrant Biosciences, a biotechnology company with headquarters on the SUNY Upstate campus that has more than 5 years of experience in collecting and testing saliva for different diseases.

Vaccination and Exemptions

  • If you will not be coming to campus at all during the semester you are not required to be vaccinated; however, we urge you to do so for your own health and well-being.
  • If you will be coming to campus for any reason, such as to access tutoring, go to the library, or take a final exam, you must provide proof of vaccination.

Submit your proof of immunizations to [email protected]

Everyone must wear a mask while indoors on campus regardless of vaccination status. 

Testing

Yes. All vaccinated students and employees will be required to test monthly.  Those who have approved medical or religious exemptions must test weekly. The test is at no cost to you. 

Testing will take place in Coulter 116 and is available from 9 am to 5:45 pm, Monday - Thursday.  

No, OCC has partnered with SUNY Upstate to use their non-invasive saliva test which only requires a swab of the inside of your mouth.  

If you have tested positive you're exempt from testing for 90 days.  

You will need to test once per month and if you are exempt from vaccination you will need to test weekly.  

No, you just need to submit a copy of your negative results. Over-the-counter tests do not qualify.

Students and staff are instructed on how to collect saliva from their own mouth using a soft absorbent swab that they place into the front of their mouth for 10-15 seconds to soak up saliva. That swab is then placed in a collection tube with a solution that inactivates any viruses and preserves the saliva for testing at another location. Once 12 samples have been collected, these are pooled together into a single larger tube, and all the larger tubes are then sent to SUNY Upstate for testing.  Instructional video demonstrating how to do the saliva swab.

Testing is done at Quadrant Biosciences, a partner of SUNY Upstate Medical University.  

The method is based on the now well-established finding that SARS-CoV-2 (aka COVID-19) virus can be present at detectable levels in the saliva of subjects, whether they have active symptoms or not.
The test uses a method of detection called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) that is optimized for maximum sensitivity in stabilized human saliva.

The specific saliva testing method used will detect the presence of as few as 5 copies of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a single PCR test more than 95% of the time. If more than 5 copies are present, the test is 100% sensitive. The test is also 100% specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and will not report a false positive result due to any other known viruses, such as those that cause the common cold or influenza.

The test is based in part on protocols developed and validated by the Pasteur Institute in France and registered with the World Health Organization. Those methods were adapted and modified for use with saliva and pooled saliva by the clinical research teams at SUNY Upstate Medical University and Quadrant Biosciences.

Students and employees will only be notified by the College if they are in a positive pool.  Everyone will receive an email from the testing lab with details on how to check the results of their test.   When a saliva sample is added to a pool, negative results indicate no levels of detectable virus in those pools, and all of the students in that pool are presumed negative (free of virus). If a pool tests positive, then each of the students or staff who contributed to the pool need further evaluation and an individual clinical test before they can be officially diagnosed. It is important to recognize, however, that people who do not have detectable levels of virus may still be infected, since detectable levels only appear reliably 2-5 days after exposure. Thus, having a negative result does not rule out the possibility of transmission occurring, and students must still remain cautious and use appropriate precautions to minimize their risks of exposure or transmission. 

Like you, we want to be COVID-free as soon as possible. By taking these steps we are doing what is necessary to help get us there. Thank you all for continuing to support each other through this time. Stay #LazerStrong.

If you have questions, please email us at [email protected]