All students attending the State University of New York’s 64 campuses will be tested for the coronavirus every two weeks to prevent outbreaks of the killer bug, officials said Friday.
New COVID-19 surveillance testing advancements hatched at the Upstate Medical University in Syracuse and SUNY at Albany make the biweekly screening possible, said SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras.
The announcement comes as SUNY’s campus in upstate Oneonta was the first public college to shut down in-person classes because of a coronavirus outbreak that infected 300 students and staffers.
A major private Ivy League school, Cornell University, also is grappling to control a COVID-19 cluster that spread among student athletes.
“Safely reopening colleges by containing COVID-19 so our students can have academic success is our top priority, and by launching immediate surveillance testing on every campus, we are giving ourselves the best shot to identify the presence of this virus before it can spread further across a campus, possibly infecting hundreds of students, and forcing us to roll back the in-person offerings so many of our students find critical,” Malatras said.
The state Health Department approved a new rapid screening saliva diagnostic test developed at SUNY Upstate’s Neuroscience Research Center — in collaboration with Quadrant Biosciences — that can analyze more than 15,000 samples per day.
Students at Stony Brook University students meanwhile have already been notified they have to submit to a second mandatory COVID-19 test after submitting the results of a negative test to gain access to the Long Island campus.
Stony Brook is partnering with Enzo Labs to perform the tests at the school’s health center, university officials said in a notice to students.