Health & Safety

Overview 

UAlbany will implement strict safety policies requiring face coverings, physical distancing, hand hygiene and cleaning protocols to ensure the health of our community. We will: 

  • Require 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

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

  • Space 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 

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

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

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

Please find more details below. 

 

Symptom Monitoring 

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

  • Cough  
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing  
  • Fever or chills  
  • Congestion or runny nose  
  • Muscle or body aches  
  • New loss of taste or smell  
  • Sore throat  
  • Fatigue  
  • Headache  
  • Nausea or vomiting  
  • Diarrhea 
Policy for Students

We are currently developing policies for pre-screening students before they return to campus and monitoring students’ symptoms once they are on campus. 

As with any illness, students who are ill will be encouraged to seek appropriate medical care through Student Health Services (SHS). Students who present with COVID-19 symptoms will be asked to call ahead of time. To contact SHS or to schedule a telemedicine appointment with one of our clinicians, please see the Student Health Services website or call 518-442-5454 for assistance.   

If a student needs to be isolated or quarantined, we will ask them to return to their permanent home until it is safe to return to campus. If a student has extenuating circumstances that prevent them from leaving campus, arrangements will be made for them to isolate or quarantine in Albany. 

Please visit our Campus Resources page for more information on the support available to students. 

Policy 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.

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 and Isolating Procedures 

The University will employ widespread testing to identify COVID-19 positive students, faculty and staff, and contain the spread of the virus.  

We will also launch a robust contact tracing program. About 10 to 15 UAlbany contact tracers will work closely with the Albany County Department of Health to identify anyone potentially exposed to the virus and then properly isolate or quarantine those individuals. 

 

Face Masks and Coverings 

The University will distribute one reusable cloth mask to each student and employee. Masks will 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 social 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 will 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 will be responsible for disinfecting their own high-use public areas. Supplies can be requested through the Office of Environmental Health and Safety 

Building Ventilation

Facilities staff will modify air systems to run two hours before and after a building opens and closes. Elevator and bathroom exhaust fans will run 24/7. 

Additionally, wherever practicable, outside air will be increased and air handler filtration will be upgraded. Reducing density on campus will also increase ventilation rates. 

Hand Sanitizer

Facilities will 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

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

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 will 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.