Mohawk Valley Community College takes seriously its responsibility for the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students, and also for the communities within which our campuses reside. Further, we recognize that as the semester comes to a close, there may be travel and we want to ensure that such travel is done in a manner that is safe for all communities. To that end, please find our testing policy for departing campus in the fall as well as our plan for returning in the spring.
We have vetted this Plan with the Oneida County Health Department and received their support and approval through our continued close communication and partnership.
Fall November and December Mandatory Testing of Students Upon Exit
All 170 residence hall students must receive a COVID-19 test within 10-days prior to the campus closing on-campus instruction and services (hereafter “fall closing”) for the Thanksgiving break and the December break. Similarly, all commuter students coming to either campus 1-day or more per week will be tested as well. We currently have 455 registered students, but that does not account for in-semester attrition (typically 20%), so we estimate closer to 365 commuter students on campus. A testing and communication plan has been developed to test commuter students on both the Rome and Utica campus through a similar pool testing protocol currently used for our residence hall students prior to Thanksgiving. Given the short turnaround of the holiday, commuter students will not be retested to continue classes after the holiday. All commuter students however, will again be tested on both campuses prior to the end of the fall semester and the last day of exams on December 16, 2020.
Return between Thanksgiving and End of Semester
Residential students who plan to return between Thanksgiving and the end of the semester quarantine will have been tested prior to leaving. They may return to campus on Sunday, November 29th and will be required to attend an all residence hall pool testing on Monday, November 30th. All residential students will be notified of the need to self-quarantine within the residence halls from the point of their return on November 29th through the receipt of pool testing results on or about December 2nd.
Testing of Faculty and Staff
MVCC faculty and staff will not be tested unless the Oneida County infection rate increases to a level of concern by the County Health Department. Infection rates have remained at 0.4% or below since August 18, 2020 and only recently increased in the last two weeks of October to 0.9%.
If our College becomes categorized as a yellow, orange or red cluster zone, immediate steps will be taken to expand testing to employees working one or more days per week on campus. The College has initiated those steps by identifying daily staffing patterns to determine appropriate sampling, developing plans to implement any necessary expanded testing protocols, and created a communication plan read to deploy as needed. SUNY Upstate will be notified immediately of either the increase in pool testing samples, the increase in testing days, or both depending on the need.
Continuation of Comprehensive Testing
Mohawk Valley will continue its pooled saliva testing program for residential students and staff until December 7, 2020 ensuring that all have been tested prior to leaving for the semester/holiday break. We have had seven consecutive weeks of 100% normal pooled test results.
Quarantine and Isolation
Mohawk Valley Community College will continue its quarantine and isolation plans for any residential student who tests positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to COVID-19 within 14-days before the fall closing. The College will continue to follow the guidance of the Oneida County Health Department regarding the length of isolation/quarantine and release protocols. Any non-residential student, faculty or staff who tests positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to COVID-19, within 14-days before the fall closing will follow the guidance of the Oneida County Health Department regarding the length of isolation/quarantine and release protocols. The College will be following testing protocols as noted above with all students testing 10 days prior to leaving again for the semester break.
Emphasis of Safety Protocols
Mohawk Valley Community College will continue to reinforce to students that they should limit contact, wear masks, and practice social distancing upon taking their COVID-19 test and departure in order to avoid any potential exposure. Prior to the students leaving, the College will provide clear communication regarding the continuance of these precautionary measures even when they have departed from campus in the time between semesters.
Spring 2020 Responsible Restart Plan
Mohawk Valley will institute the College’s Responsible Restart Plan for the spring semester. https://www.mvcc.edu/restart/responsible-restart-plan.php
The College will reinstitute its previous residence hall return requirements. These included off-campus self-quarantine of any student arriving from a state or country with travel restrictions per New York State and CDC guidelines.
All new and returning students – 100% of residential and commuter students will provide a negative COVID-19 test OR be tested by the College upon their return prior to their attendance in their first on-campus class.
All residence hall students and staff will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 pool testing beginning February 1, 2021.
In addition, all commuter students will be encouraged to take advantage of the three free testing sites in Oneida County with the following recurring message sent to all students via various channels throughout the semester.
Free COVID Tests
I want to make sure that you are aware of the free testing sites provided by Oneida County. You can get tested for free as much as once every two weeks depending on your circumstances. The sites include Griffiss Business Park in Rome, Rite Aid on Commercial Drive in New Hartford and CVS on Meadow St. in Clinton. To get tested, you need to call the site directly and make an appointment. The tests are all free, not rapid and currently have a 2-3 day turnaround.
If our College becomes categorized as a yellow, orange or red cluster zone, immediate steps will be taken to expand testing to commuter students. The College has initiated those steps by identifying the on-campus programs and classes, developing plans to implement any necessary expanded testing protocols, and created a communication plan read to deploy as needed. SUNY Upstate will be notified immediately of either the increase in pool testing samples, the increase in testing days, or both depending on the need.
MVCC has adjusted the spring semester academic calendar to have all credit classes begin on Monday, February 1 with no spring break identified.