UAlbany’s COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Program Ending Dec. 15

December 12, 2022

Dear UAlbany Community,

After more than two years of providing fast and accurate COVID-19 testing for the University at Albany community, the RNA Institute’s Surveillance Testing Program will end this month. The final day of testing will be Thursday, December 15, 2022. Samples can still be submitted for testing before that date.

Rapid tests will continue to be available to students at the Campus Center information desks and local pharmacies, and students who develop symptoms can call Student Health Services for evaluation and testing as warranted. Employees can obtain rapid tests at most pharmacies through their insurance.

The RNA Institute’s testing program was born at a time when the campus urgently needed the capacity to rapidly and reliably test thousands of students, faculty and staff every week to safely reopen in Fall 2020. Now that commercial tests and vaccines are widely available and that SUNY has lifted the last remaining mandatory testing requirements, it is time for the Institute to focus on its core research mission.

The combined efforts of the RNA Institute and the University’s Incident Management Team allowed UAlbany to swiftly and efficiently monitor campus community health — a key strategy for COVID-19 containment — through the height of the pandemic. Since August 27, 2020, 15 faculty, staff and students worked together in the lab to analyze over 260,000 samples.

Beyond our campus, the lab partnered with 15 local organizations, schools and businesses to fill a critical gap in testing capacity that helped the Capital Region safely reopen. Testing for these local partners accounted for more than 72,000 samples.

Moving forward, as we learn to live with COVID-19 as an endemic illness, it is critical that we remain vigilant about the preventative steps that we can take to protect ourselves from coronavirus, influenza and other common respiratory illnesses, including:

  • Considering wearing a mask, especially if you are experiencing cold symptoms

  • Covering your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue

  • Washing your hands frequently and properly

  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Getting vaccinated against seasonal flu as well as vaccinated/boosted against COVID-19

If you are experiencing symptoms of a cold, the flu or COVID-19:

  • Wear a tight-fitting mask to minimize risk of spreading the illness, especially when around others.

  • Seek testing.

  • Stay home and avoid contact with others to the extent possible.

  • Follow the NYS Department of Health's guidance on testing and isolation and seek health care advice about treatment.

  • Notify the University of positive COVID-19 test results, as required by University guidance.

Thank you to all who work to keep the UAlbany community healthy and safe. Wishing everyone a peaceful and restorative holiday break.

Sincerely,

Anette Lippold, PhD
Chief Enterprise Risk Management & Compliance Officer 
Office of Enterprise Risk Management