CUNY Issues Fall 2021 Surveillance COVID Testing Protocol

Male doctor hand wears glove holding syringe and vial with covid 19 vaccine.
Stock Photo from 123RF

With many CUNY students and faculty preparing to start classes in person in the fall, a COVID-19 surveillance testing contract was discussed on July 21 in a virtual meeting held by the CUNY Board of Trustees. 

As part of the contract, with Applied DNA Labs, LLC, there will be routine testing for unvaccinated individuals who are not currently suffering COVID-19 like symptoms in order to detect transmission hot spots or characterize disease trends. There will also be random testing of both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to help determine the prevalence of COVID-19 variants.

Applied DNA Labs, LLC already provides these services at Molloy College, Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (LIM) College, Stony Brook University (SBU) Hospital and SBU Athletics, St. Thomas Aquinas College, and Suffolk County Government Executive Offices among others.

A projected testing period will start in August 2021 and continue through the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. There will be approximately 18 testing sites serving all CUNY colleges and Central Office locations.

The company will provide all staff through a third-party medical staffing resources company, and materials for on-site sample collection, scheduling, and reporting. All samples will be securely stored by Applied DNA Labs, LLC and delivered to Applied DNA Labs, LLC’s testing laboratories in Stony Brook, New York.

The anticipated turnaround time will be 24 hours for up to 40,000 tests per week.

CUNY will continue to require that unvaccinated individuals enter quarantine in the event of possible exposure, and isolation will be required when diagnosed with COVID-19. Unless showing symptoms of COVID-19, vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine in the event of possible exposure.

CUNY employees and students can return to work or classroom after 10 days with a negative test result or, with appropriate medical clearance to return to work. This documentation must be dated no earlier than 3 days prior to the anticipated return to work date. This requirement applies to all quarantines including those needed because of symptoms, a positive test or exposure.

Those who are not fully vaccinated or who do not disclose their vaccination status will be required to submit a weekly COVID-19 test and wear face coverings, and may possibly need to adhere to additional requirements. Fully vaccinated individuals with no COVID-19-like symptoms and no known exposure will be exempted from routine screening testing programs.