Pooled testing frequency increase

Pooled testing frequency increase

October 9, 2020

Dear UAlbany Community: 

Thank you for your participation in the University’s pooled surveillance testing program – an important tool in helping us remain on campus through the fall semester. To ensure this program is as effective as possible, we are increasing the frequency of testing. Important changes include: 

  • All faculty, staff and students will be tested twice during the month of October

  • Testing frequency will increase to weekly in November, and will continue weekly throughout the spring. 

  • Faculty, staff and students who continue to come to campus after Thanksgiving (i.e. during intersession) will be tested weekly. 

  • Beginning in November, all participants will be assigned a consistent day of the week that they will submit their sample (ex. you may be asked to submit your sample every Wednesday). This will be determined alphabetically by name and you will be notified of your day when more information is available.

  • The identity of participants will still be confidential and participants will not know who is in their pool, nor who tests positive. 

  • When a pool tests positive, additional testing is being done to identify the presumptive positive individual(s) requiring follow-up. Negative individuals in a positive pool will not have to quarantine. 

In order to accommodate this increase in testing, additional test kits will be distributed to campus residents by Residential Life staff. Faculty, staff and students living off campus should pick up additional test kits at any of the contactless locations listed on the website. You must register your test kits within 24 hours of receiving them. 

As a reminder, all students who are studying, working or visiting any of UAlbany’s campuses during the Fall 2020 semester — regardless of whether they live on campus — must participate. Employees represented by UUP, CSEA, PEF and PBANYS who are on any of our campuses in any capacity must participate. Any other campus employees who are on any of our campuses in any capacity are strongly encouraged to participate. 

If your saliva sample is identified as presumed positive, an authorized University personnel will contact you with instructions for diagnostic testing and isolation, either by phone with the caller id UNIV ALBANY or email ContactTracker@albany.edu generally within 48 hours from when your specimen is picked up and sent to the lab.

Those with negative tests results are not contacted. Testing negative, however, does not negate the potential for future risk nor mean that you couldn’t have become infected after you tested, and thus you must continue to adhere to mask and social distancing guidelines. 

If you have questions about UAlbany's COVID-19 resources and services, please call the COVID-19 hotline, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 518-442-COVD (518-442-2683), or visit UAlbany's COVID-19 website. You’ll find answers on isolation and quarantine, pool and diagnostic testing, and University policy regarding COVID-19. 

Once again, thank you for your participation. By working together to identify asymptomatic individuals who would not otherwise know they are COVID-19 positive, we are able to control the spread of the virus and keep campus, and the larger community, safe.  


Andrew Berglund 

Director, RNA Institute