Fall 2022 COVID-19 policies for SUNY New Paltz students, faculty and staff

New Paltz campus leadership has received SUNY’s COVID-19 guidance for the fall 2022 semester and has updated local policies to reflect our ongoing progression through the pandemic.

SUNY’s guidance, which can be viewed in full here, outlines policies that will be in place across all 64 campuses this fall, and also indicates where individual campuses have flexibility to design approaches that serve the needs of their communities.

Some policies are unchanged from prior semesters at New Paltz, including the requirement that all SUNY students be vaccinated against COVID-19 (or have an approved exemption). Testing will also be required for all students, faculty and staff at the start of the semester, as in previous terms.

Other policies will be new this fall. Enzo Labs testing on campus will end in late August as we shift to more frequent use of “at-home” antigen tests. And while SUNY’s student vaccination policy remains in place, most students are no longer required to be up to date on boosters (though boosters are strongly recommended for all who are eligible, and students who are up to date on vaccination will be exempt from quarantine if exposed to the virus).

Please read on for more details about COVID-19 policies that will be in place at New Paltz in fall 2022. As always, these policies are subject to change based on pandemic conditions in our region.


SUNY students with a campus presence must be vaccinated

The SUNY-wide student vaccine requirement remains in place. All SUNY New Paltz students, including new incoming students, will need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before they can register for in-person, on-campus classes.

To provide proof of vaccination (after completion of the full vaccination series), visit my.newpaltz.edu and click the link to view your COVID-19 Profile. From there, follow the instructions to upload information about your vaccination and a photo of your vaccine card. Your proof of vaccination should be approved within a few business days.

Students may seek a medical or religious exemption to the vaccination requirement. There is also an exemption available to students who are taking a fully online course schedule and have no campus presence. More information about exemptions is available here.

SUNY’s policy for fall 2022 requires only an initial COVID-19 vaccination for students. The College strongly encourages all eligible students to get a booster to maximize protection against the virus, but boosters are no longer required for most students.

Student athletes are required to be vaccinated AND boosted to participate in intercollegiate athletics.


Return-to-campus testing: Students, faculty and staff must show proof of a COVID-19 test between Aug. 21–27

All students, staff and faculty, regardless of vaccination status, must submit a negative COVID-19 test taken from Aug. 21–27 if they intend to be physically on campus in the fall.

Residential students will not be able to move into their residence hall until a negative test has been submitted and approved.

The College will accept results from antigen or PCR tests. Antigen tests are widely available at many pharmacies and online retailers and will also be available on campus this fall (see on-campus testing section below). Information about where to get a PCR test can be found on this Ulster County page (and many other counties offer similar resources on their websites).

On-campus PCR testing will be available that week on Aug. 24 at the College Terrace. Check appointment availability here. (Update: As of Aug. 18, all available appointments on Aug. 24 have been booked.)

At-home antigen tests and off-campus PCR tests must be manually uploaded to your COVID-19 Profile at my.newpaltz.edu. Click here for detailed instructions for uploading test results.

If you have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, do not take a PCR test. You are still required to comply with the testing requirement and should take an antigen test. If your antigen test comes back positive AND you had COVID-19 in the last 30 days, please contact the Student Health Service (students) or Human Resources (employees) for more information.


Surveillance testing is still mandatory for unvaccinated students, faculty and staff (but the policy for employees may change soon)

After Aug. 27, COVID-19 tests will be optional for all vaccinated students, faculty and staff.

As always, people with symptoms should get a test as soon as they can, and mask and avoid close contact with others until testing is complete.

Unvaccinated students with a campus presence (the small percentage with an approved exemption) will periodically be required to get a COVID-19 test during the fall 2022 semester. Testing will be required weekly if the community experiences a high prevalence of COVID-19. Any expense incurred due to testing is the student’s responsibility. More details about how often unvaccinated students must test will be shared soon.

Unvaccinated employees are currently required to test weekly, pursuant to Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between SUNY and bargaining units. These MOUs expire on Aug. 31. If there are changes to employee surveillance testing policies after Aug. 31, we will communicate those to campus.


On-campus testing: Less PCR, more “at-home” antigen

Testing on campus this fall will look different from prior semesters: Aug. 31 will be the last day that on-campus PCR testing will be provided through our longstanding partners at ENZO Labs.

The College will make greater use of antigen tests, following local health agencies in adopting this as the best approach for the current stage of pandemic management. Antigen tests are valuable tools for quickly identifying people who are at risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others. They have the added benefits of being widely available, relatively affordable, and self-administered. Read more about antigen testing from the CDC.

Antigen tests will be available on campus for students, faculty and staff. Students may purchase antigen tests for $1 at the Snack Shack vending machine outside the Student Union. Faculty and staff (with campus ID) will be able to pick up a two-pack at the Mail Room in the Haggerty Administration Building basement.

If you have symptoms, but get a negative result with an antigen test, it is recommended that you do a second antigen test 24 hours later or take a PCR test. Students who test negative by antigen test, but have symptoms and/or had an exposure, should contact the Health Center for advice about further testing.

Students should contact the Health Center ASAP at (845) 257-3400 if they test positive for COVID-19.


If you test positive, you must isolate for five days, then mask for another five days

Per the CDC and New York State, anyone (regardless of vaccination status) who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate for five days after becoming symptomatic or testing positive. They must then wear a mask in all public spaces during days 6-10 after symptoms or positive test. This policy has not changed from spring 2022.

New Paltz students should isolate off campus if they have the ability to do so. The College has limited on-campus isolation space, which will be reserved for students who live on campus and have no off-campus isolation option.

All students who live off campus will be expected to isolate off campus if they test positive.

Faculty and staff who test positive are also expected to isolate off campus. Please see below for more guidance for employees who test positive for COVID-19.

UPDATE: Aug. 22, 2022: The New York State Department of Health has adopted new CDC guidance recommending that people no longer need to quarantine if exposed to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.

Quarantine will no longer be required for SUNY New Paltz students, faculty and staff who are exposed. The isolation protocol remains in place, and anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will still need to follow the directions outlined above.


Individual case management will replace our contact tracing program for students

Members of our community who test positive for COVID-19 are responsible for notifying the College. The Student Health Service will work directly with students who test positive to provide guidance and identify possible exposures. HRDI will work with employees (see below).

Students who test positive for COVID-19 must notify the Student Health Service at (845) 257-3400 or healthservice@newpaltz.edu as soon as possible. They will conduct individual case management for positive cases, focusing on students’ roommates, suitemates, housemates and intimate partners.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be responsible for notifying your close contacts. This is in line with broader trends and best practices for the current pandemic moment. It’s also just the right thing to do. Please, if you get COVID-19, tell the people close to you that they may have been exposed.

Notices of positive cases reported to the Student Health Service will continue to be shared with students’ in-person faculty to validate excused absences.


Employees should continue reporting positive cases to HRDI

Faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 are expected to notify the Office of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion (HRDI) so the College can support you during your mandatory isolation period.

If you are able to work from home during your isolation, you should do so. If you are unable to work from home or are too sick to work, HRDI will work with you and your supervisor to determine appropriate use of non-chargeable time and/or sick leave.

Employees who complete the mandatory isolation must submit a signed Affirmation of Isolation to HRDI, per New York State and Ulster County Health Department policy.


Masks remain optional on campus, with exceptions for medical spaces

Our mask-optional policy remains in effect for most campus spaces. Anyone may choose to wear a mask on campus at any time.

Masks will be required in medical settings on campus, including the Health Center and the Athletic Training Room. Everyone is expected to be masked in these spaces at all times, regardless of vaccination status.

The College will continue to distribute KN95 masks to faculty and staff (with campus ID) from the Mail Room in the Haggerty Administration Building basement while supply lasts.


The Daily Screening will be retired and the COVID-19 Dashboard will stay retired

The Daily COVID-19 Screening is no longer required for any students, faculty or staff. Effective immediately, the Daily Screening will no longer appear for anyone when logging into my.newpaltz.edu.

Our local COVID-19 Dashboard will remain dormant this fall. The College will continue to report pandemic data to SUNY as required. This information is updated daily at SUNY’s COVID-19 Tracker.