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This information is based on federal, state, and local regulations and guidance that we have at this time, as well as public health recommendations. As the situation with COVID-19 is fluid, plans are subject to change by the time our community returns to campus. 

Questions should be directed to humanresources@strose.edu

 

Safety Protocol

On January 19, the College announced that it will mandate the booster for all students and employees by June 30, 2022, if they are eligible to receive it. Students will not be able to enroll for the Fall 2022 semester if they have not met this requirement. Based on data from clinical trials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State Department of Health are strongly encouraging those eligible to get a booster. According to the NYSDOH, a booster dose helps everyone to “maximize their protection, prolong the vaccine’s durability and continue to safeguard our communities against the virus.”

Those who have already been granted medical/religious COVID-19 vaccine exemptions will continue to be exempt. Employees who have already received their booster dose should send a photo of their vaccine card to hrtesting@strose.edu. The College will not grant exemptions for the booster requirement if the student/employee had already received the initial vaccination series unless the student/employee provides a note from a doctor providing a medical reason for not getting the booster dose.

Already, all new students and employees are required, like the rest of our population, to be fully vaccinated (which is currently defined as the first and second doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the J&J vaccine) unless they are granted a religious or medical exemption. (Those requests are made to healthservices@strose.edu). Students who did not comply with the vaccine requirement – aside from those who were granted a medical or religious exemption – were not able to register for Spring 2022 courses.

At this time, 97% of our employees and 95% of our students are considered fully vaccinated.

On January 19, the College announced that it will mandate the booster for all students and employees by June 30, 2022, if they are eligible to receive it. Students will not be able to enroll for the Fall 2022 semester if they have not met this requirement. Based on data from clinical trials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State Department of Health are strongly encouraging those eligible to get a booster. According to the NYSDOH, a booster dose helps everyone to “maximize their protection, prolong the vaccine’s durability and continue to safeguard our communities against the virus.”

Those who have already been granted medical/religious COVID-19 vaccine exemptions will continue to be exempt. Employees who have already received their booster dose should send a photo of their vaccine card to hrtesting@strose.edu. The College will not grant exemptions for the booster requirement if the student/employee had already received the initial vaccination series unless the student/employee provides a note from a doctor providing a medical reason for not getting the booster dose.

We will hold booster clinics on January 20, February 3, and March 3 from 10 a.m. to noon and April 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Daniel P. Nolan Gymnasium. Use this link to sign up for either booster clinic. Find information about when you are eligible for your booster dose here. If you attended a previous on-campus vaccination clinic, you are eligible for one of these booster clinic dates.

Please let us know if you have already been boosted by an outside provider. Current CDC guidelines exempt those who have received their booster dose from quarantine if they are direct contacts with someone who has tested positive. For the College to begin planning for the updated quarantine protocols, it is essential that we know who has been boosted. Please email your booster status to HRtesting@strose.edu.

To allow time for thorough testing of our students before they return to in-person classes, we are switching to remote instruction for the first week of the Spring 2022 semester. Classes will be held remotely from Tuesday, January 18, through Friday, January 21, with in-person instruction beginning January 24. The residence halls will still open January 16 at 10 a.m. as scheduled. We will test students in the residence halls upon arrival, and all students throughout that first week.

Administrators and staff: You must sign up for a testing slot on January 5 starting at 8:30 a.m., and you will be tested in the Daniel P. Nolan Gymnasium. You will work remotely on January 4 and 5 and can return to campus January 6 unless you receive a call that you have tested positive. Again, a Security or Facilities employee who is scheduled for a shift on January 4 will get a test kit from their supervisor.

Faculty (full- and part-time): Testing is January 12 starting at 8:30 a.m. in the Daniel P. Nolan Gymnasium. Use this link to sign up for a January 12 testing slot. Another testing session will be offered in the Daniel P. Nolan Gymnasium by advance sign-up on January 18 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Employees who are not available on these dates should notify their managers or deans, who will reach out to covidresults@strose.edu to identify another on-campus testing option.

Just as with the MMR vaccine requirement for students, students and employees can apply for a health or religious exemption. Employees can send their documentation of their full vaccination or their health exemption form or religious exemption form to hrcovid@strose.edu or contact the College’s Health Services with questions on exemptions. This video from Dr. Mark Parisi, director of counseling and health services, addresses some common vaccination questions.

Masks must be worn inside of all College buildings, regardless of vaccination status, and the College is recommending double-masking (a cloth mask over a surgical mask) based on guidance from the CDC. As before, masks do not need to be worn when eating or while alone in one’s residence hall room or office. Due to the low level of transmission risk, masks do not need to be worn outside. We will revisit this policy as needed. Boxes of surgical masks will be in each classroom and common space.

The NYS Health Commissioner has designated COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk to public health. Based on that designation, on Monday, the Governor declared that NYS employers should enact the provisions of the NYS HERO Act. With that declaration, NYS employers are required to implement their Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plans.

The College’s plan was approved in August and communicated to all employees on September 1. A copy of the plan is attached to this email and is also posted on the Human Resources Office SharePoint site.

Much of the plan reflects exposure prevention measures that the College implemented at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and that continue to be in effect today. However, in June 2021, the College discontinued the email-based daily COVID health screen when that process was no longer required by NYS. As the College’s Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan includes the daily health screen as a required control measure, the health screen will be re-activated. As in the past, each employee will be prompted by email early each work day to provide responses to the screening questions. Employees not responding to the early morning prompt will receive an email reminder at approximately 10 a.m. The Human Resources Office staff will review the daily responses and will follow up with employees, who report a COVID exposure and/or symptoms.

If you have any questions about the College’s Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan or about the daily COVID health screen, please feel free to contact me at ext. 5374 or via email.

Beginning in Spring 2020, the College transitioned to a service model that was consistent with the requirements and best practices for minimizing exposure to COVID-19. While the COVID pandemic continues to impact our lives, vaccination and other public health initiatives have limited transmission rates and significantly decreased the positivity rates locally and statewide.

Given the positive developments regarding the COVID pandemic, which are reflected in CDC guidelines and lifting of restrictions by NYS and federal governments to “re-open” restaurants, stores, entertainment venues and the like, the College will resume an in-person service model.

We want, and need, our students to return to on-campus learning and living in order to provide them the full college experience. Part of the college experience is interacting with others face-to-face for conversation and to have questions answered.

On August 9, 2021, the College will resume in-person staffing to fully meet the needs of the College’s current and future students and employees. During the past year, you met many challenges with new ways of working together and, as an institution, we will continue to explore the best practices for providing service excellence to our students and colleagues.

To begin the transition, all department heads will develop a departmental staffing model for their departments, which ensures consistent staffing for in-person service to students as well as full office hours. The model must meet the objectives of providing timely communication, consistent service excellence, and effective change management.

The expectation is that students and colleagues will be able to access services in the manner that best meets their needs, whether in-person, on the phone, or via email.

For the significant majority of employees, staffing to meet this commitment to students and colleagues will require work to be conducted on-campus. However, department heads, with the approval of their vice presidents and the Human Resources Office, may permit employees to work remotely. Vice presidents may approve an off-campus work arrangement for one academic semester, if it meets the following criteria:

1. The arrangement does not negatively impact the department’s ability to meet the above-stated objectives; provides in-person, phone, and email service options, and maintains full office hours.

2. The employee approved for the arrangement continues to meet all expectations for job performance.

3. The employee works, at least, three days per week on-campus.

4. The employee agrees to alter their remote work arrangement and work on campus, if required by the department head. For example, this may be necessary if an event requires full department staffing or a project requires all staff working in person. A request to deviate from an approved remote work plan would typically involve advance notice to the employee.

5. The employee agrees to return to daily reporting to campus, if departmental needs change, to ensure that the department’s operational objectives are met.

Department heads with employees seeking to work full-time at home should utilize the process in the Telecommuting Policy for consideration of these arrangements.

Questions about the Department Protocol, remote work assignments, or telecommuting should be directed to the Human Resources Office.

At this time, with the exception of Admissions and Clinic operations, departments who will have visitors on campus still must require the visitor to complete an online health questionnaire on the date of their visit. (Admissions and the Clinic have their own screening forms and procedures). Unless invited by a College department, a campus visitor should not access this link independently. Invited visitors will be required to provide responses to the following questions:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Department in which they are visiting
  • Have you tested positive for COVID-19?
  • Have you been exposed to a person, who tested positive for COVID-19?
  • Do you have any symptoms of COVID-19?

Departments will be notified of visitor responses. If the visitor does not complete this questionnaire prior to their visit or indicates “Yes” to any of the COVID-19 related questions, they will not be allowed on campus. Human Resources should be notified immediately at 518.337.4858 if a visitor responds “Yes” at any time.

If a department wishes to use the visitor system, please email humanresources@strose.edu as soon as possible. With your request, please provide the department name as it should appear in the system dropdown list and the email address of the department employee who will receive and review responses.

Work Arrangements

The College has a policy to deal with this situation.  If you are in one of the above categories, please contact the Human Resources office at humanresources@strose.edu.

See the College’s Policy for Employees Unable to Work Due to Pandemic (COVID) here.

College employees should stay home if they are feeling unwell in any way. This is one of the key ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. The College has a policy to deal with this situation.  If you have symptoms of the virus, but have not been tested,  please contact the Human Resources office at humanresources@strose.edu.

See the College’s Policy for Employees Unable to Work Due to Pandemic (COVID) here.

Tracking of COVID-19 Cases

If an employee has any type of illness, the socially responsible course of action is to stay home to avoid spreading the illness to colleagues.

Visit this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for a current list of symptoms. Consider using the Self Checker link, a CDC guide to help you make decisions and seek appropriate medical care. The CDC indicates it will continue to update the list of symptoms as it learns more about the COVID-19 virus.

If an employee suspects that they have been exposed to COVID-19, they should:

Quarantine protocols:

IF YOU TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 (NO MATTER WHAT YOUR VACCINATION STATUS IS)

  • You should isolate for 5 days, counting the first day of your symptoms or, if you are asymptomatic, the day your positive test sample is collected as Day 0.
  • If you show no symptoms (asymptomatic) at the end of 5 days or if symptoms are resolving, isolation ends and you must wear a well-fitting mask (or double mask) while around others for an additional 5 days.
  • Individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should isolate for 10 days and follow this longer isolation guidance from the CDC.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO SOMEONE WITH COVID-19

If you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the following protocols apply. Please read carefully as they are different depending on your vaccination status and whether you have had COVID in the past 90 days.

For those who are fully vaccinated and have received the booster dose at least 2 weeks before the first date of exposure:

  • No quarantine is required, but you should wear a well-fitting mask (or double mask) while around others for 10 days after the last date of exposure.
  • If possible, it is recommended you test at Day 5 with either a PCR test or antigen test. The testing link will be sent each Friday in the weekly email from the College’s Director of Health Services, Dr. Mark Parisi.
  • If symptoms appear, you should quarantine and immediately seek testing through the College’s Health Services. You can end quarantine if your test result is negative. If you receive a positive test result, you should follow isolation recommendations for those who have tested positive, counting your onset of symptoms as Day 0.

For those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, regardless of vaccination status:

  • No quarantine is required, but you should wear a well-fitting mask (or double mask) while around others for 10 days after the last date of exposure.
  • If possible, it is recommended you test at Day 5 with either a PCR test or antigen test. The testing link will be sent each Friday in the weekly email from the College’s Director of Health Services, Dr. Mark Parisi.
  • If symptoms appear, you should quarantine and immediately seek testing through the College’s Health Services. You can end quarantine if your test result is negative. If you receive a positive test result, you should follow isolation recommendations for those who have tested positive, counting your onset of symptoms as Day 0.

For those who have been fully vaccinated and are eligible for but have not received a booster dose:

  • Quarantine for 5 days and wear a well-fitting mask (or double mask) while around others for an additional 5 days.
  • If possible, it is recommended you test at Day 5 with either a PCR test or antigen test. The testing link will be sent each Friday in the weekly email from the College’s Director of Health Services, Dr. Mark Parisi.
  • If symptoms appear, you should quarantine and immediately seek testing through the College’s Health Services. You can end quarantine if your test result is negative. If you receive a positive test result, you should follow isolation recommendations for those who have tested positive, counting your onset of symptoms as Day 0.

For those who are not fully vaccinated:

  • Quarantine for 5 days and wear a well-fitting mask (or double mask) while around others for an additional 5 days.
  • If possible, it is recommended you test at Day 5 with either a PCR test or antigen test. The testing link will be sent each Friday in the weekly email from the College’s Director of Health Services, Dr. Mark Parisi.
  • If symptoms appear, you should quarantine and immediately seek testing through the College’s Health Services. You can end quarantine if your test result is negative. If you receive a positive test result, you should follow isolation recommendations for those who have tested positive, counting your onset of symptoms as Day 0.

The College follows the recommendations of Albany County Department of Health and the New York State Department of Health, which are aligned with current CDC guidelines. As these evolve, the College’s protocols may change.

As the pandemic becomes part of our lives, we each need to take personal responsibility for our vaccination and COVID status, and whether we have been exposed or have exposed someone else to the virus. The most protective measure you can take for your health and others is to be fully vaccinated and boosted.

Given the high number of cases across the country at this time, the CDC has recommended a prioritization model for contact tracing. We will continue to work with those who test positive on their isolation procedures and assist them in how to identify and notify personal direct contacts. This may not include classes, unless it is determined that circumstances in a particular course may pose a higher level of risk. Testing is available to anyone who may have been exposed, and the sign-up link will be readily available in the weekly update emails from Mark Parisi, director of counseling and health services, each Friday.

Environmental Safety

Classroom seating will be spaced 3 feet apart, consistent with the evolving health guidance. This still allows for full-capacity classes.

Regarding the HVAC systems in our buildings, air filters within the air system of Albertus Hall – and all other spaces around campus – are currently being upgraded and changed by the HVAC department within Facilities. A standard-level of filtration would utilize MERV8 filters. We are currently installing MERV10, MERV11, and in some cases, MERV12 and MERV13 filters. It is important to remember that, according to the CDC, “By themselves, HVAC filters are not enough to protect people from the virus that causes COVID-19, however, when used along with other best practices recommended by the CDC, upgraded filtration can be part of a plan to protect people indoors.” Facilities is also increasing the outdoor air intake of the air systems from a normal 10% to the 20% to 25% range.

Please see the Environmental Safety plan for details.