Spring 2022 COVID-19 Info: Isolation & quarantine reduced to five days, and other contact tracing updates

This is just one element of our campus COVID-19 protocols for the spring 2022 semester.

To view a comprehensive summary of our policies, please visit this link.


SUNY New Paltz is following state and local health officials in adopting the new CDC recommendation reducing COVID-19 isolation and quarantine periods from 10 days to five.

The College will also adopt a new CDC recommendation to direct anyone who is exposed to COVID-19 to quarantine unless they are up to date on their vaccination (boosted if eligible).

More details about these two new policies for spring 2022, and reminders about our existing tracing, isolation and quarantine protocols, can be found below.


New Isolation and Quarantine Policy: Five days in isolation, then five days masked at all times

In spring 2022, students and employees who are directed to isolate or quarantine will only need to do so for five days, rather than 10.

This follows the Dec. 27, 2021, recommendation from the CDC reducing the isolation period after symptoms appear or after a positive COVID-19 test is administered. If symptoms are resolving, a person may exit isolation after five days, but must wear a mask around others at all times for an additional five days to minimize risk of transmission.

The CDC similarly reduced its recommended quarantine period to five days of quarantine followed by five days of masking at all times.

During this five-days masking period, please keep your mask on at all times while around other people. Do not eat with others – please use a grab-and-go option if eating on campus – and keep your mask on in your residence when roommates and housemates are around.

Students who complete a five-day isolation or quarantine in Awosting Hall may opt to stay there during the five-day masking period, if they prefer remaining in a private space where they can remove their mask.


New Contact Tracing Protocol: Fewer people will be exempt from quarantine if exposed to COVID-19

The College is following another new CDC recommendation with an adjustment to our quarantine policy: Only those who are up to date on their vaccination (boosted if eligible) will avoid the quarantine directive if they are identified as a close contact to someone with COVID-19.

This differs from our approach in fall 2021, when vaccinated people were not required to quarantine after exposure. In spring 2022, vaccinated people who are eligible for the booster and not yet boosted will need to quarantine.

Unvaccinated people will always be directed to quarantine after exposure, consistent with our approach in 2021.

Those who are in quarantine should wear their masks, practice social distancing, limit physical interaction with others, monitor any symptoms.

If exposed to COVID-19, please plan to get a test three to five days after the exposure. Students should call the Student Health Service at (845) 257-3400 to discuss their situation and decide when to test.


Who We Contact, and When

Contact tracing for faculty and staff is done by the Office of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion and by the employee’s county of residence.

For students, the campus contact tracing process begins when the Student Health Service is notified that a student has tested positive for COVID-19, either through on- or off-campus testing.

The Student Health Service does the initial outreach, directing COVID-19-positive students to isolate. Awosting Hall remains available for use as a student quarantine/isolation space this spring.

Next, a member of the campus contact tracing team interviews the student about any close contacts (within six feet for 10 minutes or more) that occurred within 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or the positive test result.

Contact tracers then reach out to each identified close contact. These individuals are notified of the possible exposure and are asked about their symptoms, vaccination status, and whether they have been tested recently. Quarantine orders will be given based on the contact’s vaccination status as described above.

Faculty are notified when a student in one of their in-person classes is diagnosed with COVID-19. In most such cases, the faculty member and others in the class will not be directed to quarantine – this is only done if a close contact (six feet for 10 minutes or more) is established.

Quarantining students should contact their faculty directly about the need to miss in-person classes. Both isolating and quarantining students are given documentation they can submit to faculty if requested.


Agencies That Receive Information from Our Contact Tracers

Information about positive cases and contacts in our community is shared with New York State and the Ulster County Department of Health. This includes information about students who have been directed into quarantine or isolation.

SUNY New Paltz contact tracers do not share personal or private information, tests results, or vaccinations statuses with other students, faculty, staff, or the general public.


Campus Contact Tracing Staff

Sarah Swift ’20 (Digital Media Management) remains our Contact Tracing Coordinator for students, leading a team of tracers on a rotating schedule that includes night and weekend hours.

Contact tracing efforts for students are overseen by Dr. Jack Ordway, director of the Student Health Service.

Many other campus staff in Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion; Student Affairs; Emergency Management; Information Technology Services; and Communication & Marketing are continuing as contributors to our effective tracing, quarantine and isolation system.