Health & Safety

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Overview 

UAlbany has implemented strict safety protocols requiring face coverings, physical distancing, hand hygiene and enhanced cleaning to ensure the health of our community. We are:

  • Requiring everyone to wear face masks inside all buildings — unless the person is inside a private residence hall room, office or other enclosed space where they are alone

  • Requiring everyone to wear face masks outdoors whenever they cannot maintain at least six feet of distance from others

  • Spacing out furniture to achieve at least six feet of physical distancing, mark off tables to show where it is permissible to sit and create new traffic flows 

  • Reinforcing healthy hygiene practices, including hand washing, and provide additional stations with hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol 

  • Intensifying cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, including doorknobs, light switches, desktops, sink handles and countertops 

  • Providing all students with enough sanitizer and/or disinfectant to clean their individual class stations and dining areas before each use

In the rare case a member of our campus community does not abide by our health and safety expectations, we have established a secure reporting system

Please find more details below. 

 

Reporting Positive Test Results


Students

If you receive a positive diagnostic test result, please upload your test result into “Test Results” section of the Student Portal and then email studentdocumentation@albany.edu to notify the University.

Employees

If a student tells you they have received a positive diagnostic test result, please ask them to upload their test result into “Test Results” section of the Student Portal and then email studentdocumentation@albany.edu to notify the University. (Note: If this conversation is happening via email, do not forward or include anyone else in your messages, as this is sensitive information.)

Any employee who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms or receives a positive test result must contact our Medical Reporting Hotline at 518-442-1501

Pre-Arrival Protocol for Students
Mandatory Testing

All students studying, visiting and/or working at a UAlbany campus during the Fall 2020 semester were required to provide proof of a negative SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) test result — meaning the test results were normal and showed the virus was not detected — before their arrival. 

Fully remote students can request a waiver from the testing requirement

However, any fully remote student who decides to travel to one of our campus is also required to submit proof of a negative PCR molecular or antigen test result prior to their arrival

The test must be a PCR molecular test or an antigen test; antibody tests will not be accepted.  

Visit the New York State Department of Health’s website to find a nearby test site. Students are responsible for arranging for testing and paying associated costs, if applicable.  

UAlbany has created a portal exclusively for students to share their PCR or antigen test results. Please ensure the uploaded documentation includes the student's name, type of test (PCR or antigen) and the date the test was administered. The portal is accessible via MyUAlbany.  

Any student who receives a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result, meaning the test results showed the virus was detected, will be required to isolate and follow instructions from their local department of health.   

Additionally, students who test positive cannot travel to any UAlbany campus until they receive a clearance document from their local public health officials.   

Students should remain at home until they have submitted a negative test result. Alternatively, hotels on Washington Avenue across from the University will have discounted rates for students.  

If a student living on campus fails to provide the University proof of a negative test or clearance document before their arrival on campus, they will not be permitted to check in to their residence hall or apartment. 

Self-Quarantine

Self-Quarantine

All students arriving anywhere in New York State from states designated under the Governor’s Travel Advisory or from countries with travel restrictions into the US — regardless if they plan to live on or off campus — are required to self-quarantine for 14 days (except to get tested for SARS-CoV-2) upon their arrival in New York State.  

Per Executive Order, students arriving from states designated under the Governor’s Travel Advisory must also complete the Online Traveler Health Form.  

Note: This does not apply to anyone passing through a designated state for less than 24 hours through the course of travel. 


Out-of-state travel: Students arriving from states designated under the Governor’s Travel Advisory are required to take a screenshot of the completed Online Traveler Health Form before submitting the form to share with the University.  

UAlbany has created a portal exclusively for students to share screenshots of their completed DOH form. The portal — which will also be used to share test results — can be accessed via MyUAlbany.  

The New York State Department of Health expects all travelers from states designated under the Governor’s Travel Advisory to protect public health by adhering to the mandatory self-quarantine. 


International travel: Students arriving from countries with travel restrictions into the US must self-quarantine in New York State for 14 days upon arrival. Please reach out to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at isss@albany.edu for specific support.   


All other students should engage in a precautionary self-quarantine for 14 days before they arrive on campus, to the best of their ability. This should include wearing masks, practicing social distancing and practicing good hand hygiene.  

Please read these instructions on how to quarantine.  

All students must perform daily self-screening for symptoms during the 14 days before their arrival to campus. Students should use UAlbany's Daily Student Health Screening tool. If the screening answers suggest a possible COVID-19 infection, the student should self-isolate until they consult with a local medical provider or the New York State testing website for evaluation and/or testing, as needed.  

Students with COVID-19 symptoms or who have tested positive for COVID-19 may not travel to any UAlbany campus until they have been declared free of COVID-19 by a medical professional or their local department of health. 

NYS DOH and the Albany County Department of Health reserve the right to issue a mandatory quarantine order, if needed.  

Pursuant to Executive Order 205, anyone who violates a quarantine order may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 15 days per PHL 229.  

Symptom Monitoring 

Currently, COVID-19 symptoms include one or more of the following:  

  • Cough  
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing  
  • Chills, or a fever of 100.4° F (37.5° C) or higher
  • Congestion or runny nose  
  • Muscle or body aches  
  • New loss of taste or smell  
  • Sore throat  
  • Fatigue  
  • Headache  
  • Nausea or vomiting  
  • Diarrhea 

Anyone visiting a UAlbany campus is asked to monitor their symptoms and stay home if they are sick. Additionally, students and employees are required to follow these protocols each day. 
 

Symptoms
Symptom Monitoring Protocol for Students

All students must complete a Daily Student Health Screening each time they physically come onto the University’s campus, or a property owned or controlled by the University, and follow the directives issued following their completion of the screening (for example: do not come to campus, self-quarantine and contact a medical professional).

This screening must be completed within one hour before arriving to campus or, for students living on campus, within one hour before leaving their residence hall or apartment for any reason. The screening does not need to be completed more than once per day.

If a student has symptoms that suggest a possible COVID-19 infection, the screening tool will advise they self-isolate until they consult with a medical provider — such as Student Health Services, a local Urgent Care facility or their personal clinicians — or the New York State testing website for evaluation and/or testing, as needed.

If symptoms present or change after your daily screening is complete, students must contact a medical provider for evaluation and/or testing, as needed.

As with any illness, students who are ill are encouraged to seek appropriate medical care through Student Health Services (SHS). To contact SHS or to schedule a telemedicine appointment with one of our clinicians, please visit the Student Health Services website or call 518-442-5454 for assistance.   

Please visit our Wellness & Support page for more information on the resources available to students. 

Symptom Monitoring Protocol for Faculty and Staff 

Employees must complete a health screening assessment each day they are on campus — before or within one hour of reporting to work — via the MyUAlbany Employee Portal. Employees can also access the Employee Health Reporting Form directly by using this link

You must be free of ANY symptoms potentially related to COVID-19, or have been evaluated and cleared by your health care provider and HR, to be eligible to report to work. 

If you are symptomatic: 

  • Do not report to work. Or leave work, if you’re already on site.  

  • Immediately call UAlbany’s 24/7 Medical Reporting Hotline (518-442-1501) to leave your name and contact information. A Human Resources staff member will contact you with further instructions.  

  • Contact your supervisor and follow normal call-in procedures. Your supervisor must keep any health-related information confidential and can only discuss the information with HR. 

  • Contact your personal physician. Call 911 in distress.  

Testing & Tracing

Any student or employee who exhibits symptoms or has been exposed will be promptly referred for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) testing and instructed to self-quarantine.  

Students have access to diagnostic testing on campus, through a Student Health Services (SHS) appointment. SHS is located behind Dutch Quad on the Uptown Campus. Testing occurs in a tent across from SHS by appointment only and requires an order from an SHS clinician.

The University’s Contact Support Team is working closely with the Albany County Department of Health and New York State officials to support contact tracing efforts, in the event a campus community member tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 or is otherwise exposed to the virus. 

We are also implementing a comprehensive and ongoing pooled surveillance testing program for the Fall 2020 semester.

 

Quarantine & Isolation for Students

If, during the semester, a student tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 or is identified as having been in contact with someone who subsequently tested positive, they will be provided instructions by the Albany County Department of Health for isolation or quarantine. 

If a student who lives on campus tests positive for SARS-CoV-2, the campus will consult and follow the guidance of local health departments in order to stop the spread.

Please visit our Quarantine & Isolation page for detailed information on what on-campus residents should expect if they are directed to quarantine or isolate, or identified as a person under investigation through surveillance testing.

All students must participate fully and honestly with the campus faculty and staff as they respond to COVID-related issues on campus. Students must also answer phone calls from county, state and University contact tracers.

Students who fail to follow expectations will be in violation of the University’s code of conduct, Community Rights & Responsibilities, and subject to a student conduct referral — which may result in sanctions up to and including suspension and/or expulsion.

In addition, failure to respond to the county or state Departments of Health or follow their directions may result in severe fines or prosecution.

Please visit our Wellbeing & Support page for more information on the resources available to all students, including both in-person and virtual confidential counseling available through Counseling and Psychological Services. 

 

Face Masks and Coverings 

The University has distribute one reusable cloth mask to each student and employee. Masks are also be available for purchase in the University bookstore. 

You must put on a face mask before entering any campus building and continue to wear the mask until you’ve reached a private residence hall room, office or other enclosed space where you are alone. You must also wear a mask outside whenever you cannot be maintain at least six feet of distance from others.

Even if you previously tested positive for COVID-19 or its antibodies, you must still wear a face mask or covering. Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing the risk to others near you. You can spread the virus to others even if you don’t feel sick.

The University has set aside more than 500 clear face shields to support individuals who may need to see others’ faces or mouths to communicate. While this is not a replacement for the mask, it does allow protection from and to the wearer.   

Note: Face masks or coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing.
 

How to properly wear your mask

Follow these instructions whenever you put your mask on: 

  1. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before handling your mask.  

  2. Ensure the mask fits over your nose and under your chin.  

  3. Situate the mask properly, with the wire snug against your nose where applicable.  

  4. Tie straps behind your head and neck. Or loop the straps around your ears.  

  5. Throughout this process, avoid touching the front of the mask. 
     

Follow these instructions whenever you take your mask off: 

  1. Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing the mask.  

  2. Loop your finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear. Or untie the straps. 

  3. Wash your hands immediately after removing your mask.  

How to store and clean your mask
  • Store your mask in a paper bag when you’re not using it. 

  • Don’t use a mask for more than a day at a time. 

  • Replace your mask immediately if it’s damaged (ripped, punctured, etc.) or visibly contaminated. 

  • Throw your disposable mask away after a shift or at the end of the day.  

  • Wash your cloth mask after each use. Clean your cloth mask with laundry detergent whenever its dirty and after each work shirt.  

Enhanced Facilities Services 

Our success in limiting the spread of COVID-19 is rooted in personal responsibility — including diligent physical distancing, mask wearing and hand washing. The Office of Facilities Management is also providing enhanced services to keep our community safe. 
 

Disinfecting Regimen

Facilities staff disinfect classrooms and other instructional spaces each night, as well as routinely disinfect high-touch or high-use public spaces — such as door handles and bathrooms — throughout the day. 

Offices are responsible for disinfecting their own high-use public areas. Supplies can be requested through the Office of Environmental Health and Safety

Building Ventilation

When combined with other health and safety measures, increasing outside air, improving air handler filtration and making other upgrades to campus HVAC systems, where necessary, can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Our facilities staff — comprised of engineers, architects and building operations professionals — is following guidance provided by the CDC, the State of New York, the World Health Organization and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. 
 

Operational Changes

Air systems are running two hours before and after a building opens and closes. Air systems inside Residential Life housing, and elevator and bathroom exhaust fans in all campus buildings, run 24/7. 

Wherever practicable, outside air is increased. Significantly reduced density on campus also increases ventilation rates. 
 

Filtration Upgrades

Air filtration is measured by Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). Governor Cuomo is requiring New York State shopping malls to use filters rated MERV-11 or higher as a precondition for opening. 

Most UAlbany buildings currently use MERV-11 or MERV-13 filters and many have secondary pre-filtration, capturing virus particles which adhere to other microcontaminants that typically exist in any indoor setting. UAlbany buildings that use MERV-8 filters have been upgraded to MERV-11 filters. 
 

Downtown Campus

The Downtown Campus was constructed between 1909 and 1956 and does not have the same level of building-wide mechanical ventilation as the Uptown or Health Sciences campuses.  

Most Downtown Campus buildings and spaces — including Page, Richardson, Husted and Hawley halls — have mechanical ventilation systems with outside air and MERV-11 filters.  

However, in general, Milne and Draper halls do not have mechanical ventilation systems with outside air and MERV-11 filters. 

For most spaces inside those two buildings, facilities staff are using mobile air filtration units with HEPA filters designed to circulate and purify air. 

In select spaces, facilities staff has upgraded systems to include outside air ventilation. Those spaces include: 

LIMITED SPACES IN MILNE & DRAPER WITH MECHANICAL VENTILATION

Building

Floor Room(s) Use

Milne

Basement 001

Instructional space

Draper

Basement 014, 014A

Computer lab

Draper

First Floor 107 Suite Offices

Draper

Third Floor

301, 301A, 302, 303, 304 Suites A to D, 340 Suite, 346 Suite

Offices

 

For more information, please visit the Office of Facilities Management website

Hand Sanitizer

Facilities will continue to stock and refill hand sanitizer stations in all the public spaces on campus. In addition to hand washing, it is good practice for individuals to carry their own sanitizer for use throughout the day. 

Offices can request sanitizer for their shared areas or customer service counters by contacting the Office of Environmental Health and Safety

Wastewater Testing

The University is currently piloting on-campus wastewater testing that has the potential to detect SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), even if an individual isn’t symptomatic.

UAlbany launched the study in late September after consulting with experts on campus and across the country. Tracking infectious disease transmission through wastewater was used decades ago to track the transmission and eradication of poliovirus.   

The pilot study will refine the process and procedures, so the program can be scaled up as appropriate to complement the various other COVID-19 monitoring and management tools the University has already implemented.

Additional Personal Safety Guidance 

Physical Distancing

Keeping space between you and others is one of the best ways to avoid spreading or getting exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Physical distancing is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. 

Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others whenever possible — even if everyone appears healthy. Please follow these physical distancing practices:  

  • Stay at least 6 feet — or about 2 arm lengths — from other people whenever possible  

  • Do not gather in groups  

  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings  

Hand Washing

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — especially after visiting a public place, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. 

If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.  

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face.

Coughing and Sneezing

If you are in a private setting and are not wearing a face mask or covering, be sure to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze. 

Immediately throw any used tissues in the trash and then wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Public Transportation

CDTA and UAlbany buses continue to be available to transport students and staff between campuses. 

All riders must put on a mask before entering the bus and avoid touching surfaces when selecting a seat. When you disembark, wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol) as soon as possible. Remove your mask after your hands are clean. 

Elevators

Whenever possible, only one person should ride the elevator at a time — unless everyone inside is wearing a mask. Please use the stairs if you’re physically able.  

Inside the elevator, wear a mask and avoid touching the buttons with exposed hands or fingers. Use a clean tissue to press the buttons instead. 

Wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol) before you get on and after you get off the elevator. 

Meals

On-campus dining options meet requirements that allow customers to remain physically distant while they are in line and are seated. Please follow these additional guidelines to stop the virus’ spread: 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after eating.  

  • If you’re in a common area, wear your mask until you’re ready to eat and then put it back on when you’re done eating. 

  • Don’t sit facing one another. Maintain 6 feet of distancing. 

  • Eat outside or take your food back to your office or dorm room. 

  • Dispose of food waste and packaging in common area trash cans, not in individual office trash bins. 

Bathrooms

Please ensure at least six feet of distance between individuals, whenever possible, and wash your hands thoroughly. Paper towels were restocked in campus bathrooms in March and will remain stocked for the foreseeable future. 

Visitors, Gatherings & Events

While the campus is not closed to external visitors, we asked that you respect our intent to limit non-essential traffic. Please visit University buildings only if your concern cannot be deferred or handled remotely and contact the office you would like to visit in advance to make an appointment.

Please review our Visitors and Events Protocol for Fall 2020 for more detailed information.