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Student Return to Campus Plan

Spring 2023

Mask Requirements

Based upon the recent SUNY, New York State, and CDC guidance on masking in schools, the College maintains the following masking requirements.

Students and employees are not required to wear masks and face coverings in classrooms, common areas, and other College locations. Social distancing requirements remain in effect. Individuals who wish to wear a mask or face covering may do so at their own discretion. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a mask or face covering.

Surgical style masks are provided at campus points of entry to all individuals wanting one. A supply of KN95 masks are also available at the security stations located at the Main entrance and Washington Avenue entrance of Elston Hall, the Center for Science and Technology, the School of Music, and at Center City.

All individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must continue to report their infection status to the College and follow isolation requirements. Asymptomatic individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, completed their appropriate isolation period, and are returning to campus must continue to wear a well-fitting KN-95 or N-95 face mask for an additional five days post-isolation as per CDC guidance. As a reminder, if you don’t feel well please stay home and monitor your symptoms.

The College’s plan was reviewed with the Schenectady County Department of Health. In consultation with the Schenectady County Department of Health, if the regional positivity and hospitalization rates increase to a “high” level per CDC guidelines, the campus may re-implement the masking mandate.


Campus/Building Access

All campus points of entry and exit will continue to be in use for students, employees, and visitors. Individuals entering campus buildings will be advised of the health and safety precautions and self-screening through signage at each entrance. Please remember, if you are not feeling well, please do not come to campus. Hand sanitizing stations are located at all points of entry/exit.

Face coverings are provided at campus points of entry to all individuals needing one.



Students may get a COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test nasal swab kit to self-administer off campus. Test kits are available at the Elston Hall security desk, the Kindl Building, and the Center City.

What do I do if I am positive for COVID?

First, if you feel ill do NOT come to campus. If you test positive for COVID, notify the College by emailing with a picture of the positive test and a completed self-attestation form from the New York State Health Department.

Students who test positive for COVID must isolate for 5 consecutive days with the date of the positive test counted as day 0. Students may only return to campus if they are fever and symptom free after the 5-day isolation period.



Are vaccines required for students?

With the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer COVID vaccine on Aug. 23, 2021, the State mandated all students to be vaccinated. This is now in place for all SUNY campuses. Students have the option to submit a COVID-19 Medical Exemption or COVID-19 Religious Exemption for review. If this applies to you, please email the Student Affairs Office at or call the Dean of Student Affairs at 518-381-1378. 

What if I take all online classes?

Students whose course of study is fully remote are exempted from this vaccine requirement. For this exemption to apply, the student must have no physical presence on campus nor reasonably anticipate using on-campus services for the entirety of the academic term. 

Am I required to get the vaccination?

All new, returning, continuing, and transfer students who plan to attend in-person classes and/or utilize in-person services are required to provide evidence that they have completed the initial course of COVID vaccinations.

Pursuant to SUNY’s policy, students are considered fully vaccinated for the initial course of vaccination (a) two weeks after receiving the second dose in a two-dose series OR (b) two weeks after receiving a single dose COVID-19 vaccine. Students are NOT required to have the booster shots, but are strongly encouraged to do so. Find information to get the vaccine or boosters.

How do I share my vaccination status with the College?

Students may use one of 3 options: 1) Submit their vaccination information to the SUNY Vaccination Verification Application; 2)  bring a copy of their vaccination card or their Excelsior Pass to the Office of Student Affairs, Elston 222 ; 3) email a copy to Returning students who attended SUNY Schenectady in 2021-22 and were fully vaccinated or approved for a medical or religious waiver are not required to disclose their vaccination status again in 2022-23.

Can I be exempt from the vaccination requirement?

Students may apply for a religious or medical vaccination exemption using the religious exemption form or the medical exemption form. The completed forms must be brought to the Office of Student Affairs, Elston 222, or sent via email to no later than Wednesday, February 1, 2023. Students will be notified if approved or if they need to provide more information. 

Is there any specific information that international students who received the vaccination in the U.S. need to know?

International students who obtained a COVID-19 vaccination may provide documentation signed by a healthcare provider duly licensed to practice medicine in the United States or a foreign country, and such documentation must include the dates of vaccination and name of the COVID-19 vaccination given.

Is there any specific information that international students who received the vaccination outside of the U.S. need to know?

International students who have received COVID-19 vaccines not licensed or under an EUAA by the FDA in the United States, or not authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) (e.g., AstraZeneca/Oxford) need to submit their vaccination information to Student Affairs. If this applies to you, please email the Student Affairs Office at or call the Dean of Student Affairs at 518-381-1378.

What if I am not fully vaccinated or received a vaccination that has not been authorized by the FDA or the World Health Organization (WHO)?

Students who are not yet fully vaccinated and international students who received a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized or approved by the FDA or the WHO may apply for a temporary medical accommodation to allow them time to become fully vaccinated.

What if I have a medical condition that prevents me from receiving the vaccination?

Students may be exempt from this vaccine requirement if a duly licensed health care provider certifies in writing that the COVID-19 vaccination may be detrimental to the student’s health. COVID-19 Medical Exemption Request Form.

What if my religious beliefs prevent me from getting the vaccination?

Students who hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to COVID-19 vaccination may be exempt after submitting a written statement to that effect as required by SUNY Schenectady. COVID-19 Religious Exemption Request Form. General philosophical or moral objections to such vaccine shall not suffice as the basis for a religious exemption. Any such requests will be reviewed and granted on a case-by-case basis. 

What happens if I am granted a medical or religious exemption?

Students who are granted a Medical or Religious Exemption and who will be coming to campus without receiving the vaccination must do one of the following: (1) quarantine for at least ten (10) days prior to coming to campus; (2) submit an attestation to the campus that you completed a quarantine for at least ten (10) days prior to coming to campus; or, (3) provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within the (5) days prior to your coming to campus. All students with exemptions will be subject to mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing administered by the campus and will be required to adhere to all other campus COVID health and safety protocols.



Do I still need to isolate if I’m vaccinated?

Any individual testing positive will be instructed to isolate for 5-10 days (5 if not immunocompromised, 10 if immunocompromised) and communicate with the College to report possible symptoms.

When do I need to Isolate?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should isolate yourself in your home and follow directions provided by the Department of Health. Please cooperate with the contact tracer who calls or emails you to find out who you may have been in contact with prior to isolation.


Free Resources, How-To Instructions, and Campus Supports

SUNY Schenectady remains committed to your success. The Student Resource page includes information to help you to be successful as you take your courses.

Student Laptop Loan Program

SUNY Schenectady, through a US Department of Education Title III grant, is able to loan laptops to students to ensure full access to their coursework. To request a laptop, please complete the Laptop Loan Request form. Once a determination has been made you will be notified, and if appropriate, where and when the laptop can be picked up.