Free Saliva-Based COVID-19 Tests
In response to the SUNY Chancellor’s direction for all SUNY institutions, OCC will be offering COVID testing. To view more on the spring plan and the requirements to take classes on campus, please visit our spring plan.
You must be tested once a week. You do NOT have to have a negative COVID test before coming to class or test before your classes that week.
Scheduling your COVID-19 test
OCC students will be required to take a weekly COVID test in compliance with SUNY's new policy. Testing will be available Monday - Thursday from 9 am to 6pm by appointment only, no walk-ins.
- Check your student email and phone for your scheduled appointment date and time each week. If you did not receive one please email [email protected] or text (315) 888-5255 with your availability to get one scheduled.
- Before coming for your test you will need to create an account with SUNY Upstate.
You will need to register with your student ID#, health insurance information and other information.
- Please bring your student ID (LazerCard) and your smartphone with you to your COVID-19 test. You'll need to use your phone to access your SUNY Upstate testing account in order to link your test kit to your information.
- The day of your scheduled test make sure you follow the restrictions below to ensure an accurate test:
- Do not brush your teeth or use mouthwash within 3 hours of your test time
- Do not use breath mint, gum or lozenges within a 1/2 hour of your test time
- Do not eat or drink anything within a 1/2 hour of your test time
- Do not use tobacco products within a 1/2 hour of your test time
If you test at OCC
You will receive your results (positive or negative) via email. If you are in a positive pool, you will be instructed to quarantine until your sample is run individually. You will then be emailed whether your test is positive or negative and given specific instructions.
If you test off-campus
You must submit this form certifying that you have been tested at a site off-campus and provide proof.
All tests will be taking place in the SRC Arena in the gym. Testing will be available Monday - Thursday from 9 am to 6 pm by appointment only, no walk-ins.
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.
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.
No, OCC's test is free to all students. If you would like to test at another provider, you can but you would be responsible for any costs associated with it. You would also need to submit documentation of your negative test results if you test with another provider.
If you are taking all online classes and do not need to come on campus regularly you will not need to test. Please let us know by emailing us at [email protected] so we can remove you from the test list.
If you have tested positive and are in quarantine protocol you do not need to test. If you had a positive test in the last three months and are out of quarantine you also do not need to test. Please let us know if you fall into either of these categories by emailing us at [email protected] so we can remove you from the test list.
Make sure you check the mobile phone number you have on file in MyOCC to verify if its the correct one, that is the number that will be used to send text messages.
This requirement is a new mandate from the State University of New York that OCC is required to meet.
Yes, regardless of whether you have been vaccinated or not, you will need to test weekly.
No, if you will not be on campus you do not have to test. Just send an email to [email protected] to let us know.
No, you will just need to submit a copy of your negative results.
Yes, you just need to submit a copy of your negative results.
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.
The saliva pools that are created are being tested in a dedicated COVID-19 testing facility at SUNY Upstate Medical University that has developed and optimized methods for detecting SARS-CoV-2 virus in human saliva samples.
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.
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.