SUNY no longer requires that campuses report the number of active COVID-19 cases or administer COVID-19 tests on campuses as of September, according to SUNY Press Secretary Holly Liapis. The decision was made to “reflect the latest conditions,” and protocols are “subject to change as COVID-related conditions develop,” according to SUNY’s COVID-19 Guidance for the Fall 2022 Semester.
SUNY campuses may still impose additional booster requirements “at any time as a result of changes in local conditions or as a result of requirements imposed by Federal, State or local authorities.”
The recent decision to discontinue mandatory surveillance testing and mandated reports to SUNY’s Health Portal was made to be “in accordance with federal and state guidance,” according to SUNY’s COVID-19 tracker site.
SUNY campuses are encouraged but not required to have beginning-of-semester testing and surveillance for unvaccinated students.
UB did not require return-to-campus testing this semester, but those who have COVID-19 vaccine exemptions and live on or come to campus are still required to complete COVID-19 testing, according to UB’s 2022 summer and fall COVID-19 guidelines.
Erie County is still tracking positive cases in the community. Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious diseases in the department of medicine at UB says that this gives the UB community a “sense of where we’re at” when it comes to positive cases.
“Our case counts have been a significant underestimate,” Russo said. “Tracking cases at this point really isn’t any value added information in terms of where we’re at.”
Russo says that due to vaccination rates and previous rigorous guidelines, UB has seen a decrease in positive cases, but trends show that “as the community [Erie County] goes, UB goes.”
Russo identified hospitalizations and death as the two critical metrics to monitor when tracking COVID-19 cases.
Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein stated last Thursday that reported cases and serious hospitalizations in Erie County are significantly lower than they were last year, according to The Buffalo News.
Although the mandated report has been discontinued, SUNY schools can continue to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus.
UB continues to monitor the daily presence of COVID-19 on campus, providing students, faculty and staff with guidelines on what to do in the event of a positive case, according to Jerod Dahlgreen, the senior director of issues management and internal communications.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 “should isolate and report it via UB’s confidential reporting form,” UB’s COVID-19 guidelines say.
UB’s guidelines are based on the recommendations of the CDC, the NYS Department of Health and SUNY.
Dahlgreen urges all members of the UB community to “familiarize themselves with UB’s guidelines and to stay informed of any changes.”
Kiana Hodge is an assistant news/features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org