COVID Vaccine & Testing Information

Vaccine Information

Per New York State guidance and full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, SUNY will require all in-person students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  For the fall semester, all unvaccinated students will have to become vaccinated by 9/27/21 and submit proof of the vaccination to the College.  If you are not exempt and have not submitted your proof of FULL vaccination, you will not be permitted on campus.  You will not be eligible to “take your classes” from home and you will not receive a tuition refund.  Student will need to be fully vaccinated for the winter and spring semester before the start of classes.  

The vaccine is now available to anyone in New York State ages 12+. Find Vaccines Anywhere

Please note that students anticipating living in the residence halls and student-athletes will be required to be vaccinated before moving in or participating in practices/games. 

Saliva-Based COVID-19 Tests

Testing will be done using SUNY Upstate's saliva-based test that requires only a swab of the inside of your mouth.

Testing for Students

If you are vaccinated...
  • You will need to test the first week of classes for the fall 2021 semester and then every 4 weeks after that.  
If you are not vaccinated...
  • You will need to test the first week of classes for the fall 2021 semester and then weekly after that until you are fully vaccinated.  

Students can walk-in for testing Monday - Thursday from 9 am to 5:45 pm in Coulter 116.

Testing for Employees

If you are vaccinated...
  • You will need to test every 4 weeks
    • Employees whose last name begins with A-L will test the week of 9/20/21, and every 4 weeks thereafter.
    • Employees whose last name begins with M-Z will test the week of 9/27/21 and every 4 weeks thereafter.
    • If you are on leave the week that you are scheduled for monthly testing, you should test the other week.
If you are not vaccinated...
  • You will need to test weekly after that until you are fully vaccinated at which point you will follow the schedule for vaccinated employees above.  

Testing is available Monday - Thursday from 9 am to 5:45pm in Coulter 116

If you are unvaccinated and physically on campus at any time during a given week, you must test that week. This is SUNY guidance. If you are unable to test on campus, you may test elsewhere at your own expense and submit the test results to:

The test results must be provided in a timely manner so that we can assess compliance every Monday morning.  

Testing 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.

Students will be given a regular assigned date and time for your covid test.  

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 during the Fall 2021 semester and are in quarantine protocol you do not need to test.  If you had a positive test previous to the Fall 2021 semester you still need to follow the testing guidelines for vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals depending on your vaccination status.  

If you are fully vaccinated you will need to test once the first week for Fall 2021 classes and then every 4 weeks after that per SUNY guidelines.  If you are unvaccinated you will need to test the first week of classes and then weekly after that until you become fully vaccinated.  

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.  Students and employees will only be notified of the results if they are in a positive pool. 

SUNY will require all in-person students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  Exemption from this requirement will only be available for the following situations: (i) a certificate from a licensed physician or nurse practitioner certifying that such Immunization may be detrimental to the person’s health or is otherwise medically contraindicated (in which case the requirements may be waived until such Immunization is determined no longer to be detrimental to the Student’s health or otherwise medically contraindicated); or (ii) a written and signed statement from the Student or parent or guardian if applicable, that they hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs that prohibit Immunization of the Student.  Questions should be submitted to [email protected]