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Campus Monitoring and Operational Levels

The College is using several methods of monitoring this spring to ensure a safe and full semester. We all have a role to play in keeping us together on campus, and compliance with policies and protocols as well as knowledge of our monitoring methods will help us do that. The College will continue to monitor and consider several indicators, including:

Wastewater Surveillance

We will continue to conduct wastewater testing twice a week. If and when we see an increase in the level of SARS-CoV-2 RNA detected in a residence hall, we will follow up with pooled testing.

We have partnered with SUNY Upstate Medical Center and Quadrobiosciences in Syracuse, NY, to conduct pooled testing should we see a trend in our wastewater that causes us concern. This is the same process being used by the SUNY system this semester, and should allow us to respond more quickly to potential community transmission.

How does it work?

We would have residents in the impacted hall self-administer a cheek swab for 15 seconds, effectively collecting a saliva sample that will be processed using a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, which is a more sensitive test to detect genetic material from the virus.

Twelve collected samples are then placed into a pooled sample and transported to a SUNY Upstate processing lab where a PCR test is conducted on that sample. A negative result of that pooled sample means that all in the sample are presumed negative. A positive result on the pool means that each individual sample in that pool would need to be individually tested.

The College will cover the cost of any pooled sample. If the pooled sample returns a positive result and individuals in that sample need to be individually tested, that may be covered by insurance. 

Campus Operational Levels


Yellow color swatch indicates Operational Level 1.

Operational Level 1

Yellow (low)

Cases are low and transmission is controlled.

Level 1 Protocols

  • Maintain engineering controls (signs, cleaning, space layout)
  • Maintain COVID-19 policies and practices (masks required, social distancing, hand washing, quarantine/isolation when appropriate)
  • Maintain current room capacities of no more than 50% (will meet state requirement, if lower)
  • Limit social gatherings to 25 people or less (may be increased if YELLOW level can be maintained for > 2 weeks)
  • Maintain instruction modality and reduction of room density
  • Only essential guests are allowed on campus
  • Traveling outside of the region is strongly discouraged

Orange color swatch indicates Operational Level 2.

Operational Level 2

Orange (low-moderate)

Cases remain low, but indicators show potential for increase in transmission.

Level 2 Protocols

  • Continue with engineering controls (signs, cleaning, space layout)
  • Continue with COVID-19 policies and practices (masks required, social distancing, hand washing, quarantine/isolation when appropriate)
  • Maintain current room capacities of no more than 50% (will meet state requirement, if lower)
  • Only essential guests are allowed on campus
  • Traveling outside of the region is strongly discouraged
  • Consider implementing movement restrictions in specific residence halls (no indoor activities, grab and go, students should go to class)
  • No visitors between residence halls
  • Limit indoor social gatherings to 10 (will meet state requirement, if lower)

Red color swatch indicates Operational Level 3.

Operational Level 3

Red (moderate)

Indicators show rates of infection continue to increase despite enhanced mitigation efforts.

Level 3 Protocols

  • Continue with engineering controls (signs, cleaning, space layout)
  • Continue with COVID-19 policies and practices (masks required, social distancing, hand washing, quarantine/isolation when appropriate)
  • Maintain current room capacities of no more than 50% (will meet state requirement, if lower)
  • Only essential guests are allowed on campus
  • Traveling outside of the region is strongly discouraged
  • Further de-densify campus and shift more employees to remote work
  • Residence hall lounges and gathering areas will be closed
  • Campus-wide movement restrictions including: dining hall closure (grab and go meals only), all indoor campus activities paused, no visitation in residence halls, residential students are not permitted to leave campus without permission (permission will be granted for all academic purposes)
  • Commuters can attend in-person classes but no additional movement around campus
  • Stop all in-person research – wrap up in-person projects, limit personnel in labs

Gray color swatch indicates Operational Level 4.

Operational Level 4

Grey (moderate, not improving or worse)

Continued on-campus transmission and significant increase in cases.

Level 4 Protocols

  • Implement campus closure, including residence halls, for the remainder of the semester
  • Move all campus operation to remote within a 7-day timeframe