By: Marcus Cottrell
As colleges and universities continue to navigate around the COVID-19 pandemic, many have had to alter the way they do things in order to accommodate their students and faculty. At SUNY Brockport, the college relies on weekly monthly pool testing, face coverings, social distancing, quarantining and vaccinations. Although these precautions show steady progress, these measures are subject to change.
As of Sept. 27, all SUNY Brockport students are required to be fully vaccinated if they plan on attending face-to-face classes this semester. Students who were not vaccinated at the start of classes, were given the opportunity to receive the vaccine on campus at The Hazen Center for Integrated Health. On Sept. 28, Heidi Macpherson, President of SUNY Brockport released a statement claiming 96% of students were fully vaccinated and the other 4% were granted medical or religious exemption.
Last year, the college introduced the first type of pool test as “Non-invasive.” Students were given a test tube with a cotton swab inside of it and were directed to swab each side of their mouth 10 times and then screw the cap on and turn in their test tube. Late last semester the testing procedure changed. Now students provide saliva samples in a test tube up to the fill line.
Students are required to be weekly tested until they have received the full vaccine. Upon being fully vaccinated, students are still required to test monthly. SUNY Brockport has also changed where the testing will be taking place this year. Students are not being tested in the Special Events Recreation Center (SERC) this year. Brockport decided to close one of its dining halls, Brockway to administer the tests. The college has also changed the days students are offered testing. It is now Monday-Wednesday.
“At first I was like why are we still being tested monthly if we have the vaccine. There was so many changes and unknown so I didn’t know what to expect this semester,” said Brockport senior Ryan Forzano. “Having Brockway shut down and getting tested in there is a whole new issue in itself. The line to be tested was almost outside of the door because there’s only three days to be tested.”
Despite being tested less frequently, students are faced with new challenges of pool testing offering less time to get tested.
“But I guess I get it now, in the long run its worth it. For a lot of us being hybrid and having to do so much work from home last semester was terrible. I didn’t even realize how badly being hybrid effected me last semester until my face-to-face classes began this semester. So in order to have an ordinary senior year, then I guess this is what I will have to do,” said Forzano.
SUNY Brockport has staff and community volunteers to help administer the test. On campus, the volunteers who administer the COVID-19 tests to the students are also responsible for being tested weekly. The volunteers are required to wear face coverings throughout the campus and anyone that has or will be interacting with a used test tube is required to wear gloves.
“We want people from the community to also have a contribution to making sure our campus is safe for our students and faculty,” said Director of Hazen Center Cheryl Van Lare. According to Van Lare, when pool testing started last September, only 500 students were tested. By the end of the school year every student had to be tested. Van Lare states “pool testing is a good way to get asymptomatic students tested and look for campus trends.”
With students being tested monthly, SUNY Brockport hopes to keep their COVID-19 numbers controlled by following their precaution system. Van Lare states “We have very responsible students on campus. They know the safety precautions that need to take place in order to keep everyone safe on campus. They don’t want to go back home and we don’t want to send them.”While students continue to show obedience to the colleges guidelines and restrictions, the college has since saw a decrease in COVID-19 cases.