Pooled Surveillance Testing

Posted Sept. 21, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

As part of our ongoing and proactive efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in our community, we will begin conducting pooled surveillance testing later this month. Testing is scheduled to begin on Thursday, Sept. 24.

What is Pooled Surveillance Testing?

In August, the SUNY system was approved by the New York State Department of Health to undertake pooled surveillance testing for COVID-19. Since then, Chancellor Malatras has encouraged all 64 SUNY campuses to develop a structured testing plan to help curb further outbreaks.

Pooled surveillance testing allows numerous samples to be grouped together and run as part of one test. It uses multiple saliva samples, allowing for between 10-25 people to be screened in one test.

The testing is done using saliva swabs rather than by the more invasive swabs inserted in a person's nose. Individuals can administer the tests themselves, swabbing their mouths for 10 or 15 seconds each, and provide the saliva samples to staff to be sent for testing. Their samples are combined into one, which is tested for SARS-CoV-2 virus. A negative test means that all 10-25 people in a group are presumed at the time to be coronavirus-free. A positive test for the pool would mean each individual saliva sample within the pool would need to be tested again individually to pinpoint exact positive cases.

Who will be tested?

Although certain categories of students – athletes and those in programs where it’s difficult to maintain social distance - will be specifically targeted for testing, we also plan to randomly select students who have filled out the daily pre-screening health assessment necessary to be on campus each day. A small percentage of those students also will be randomly selected for surveillance testing. If you are a student taking remote or online courses exclusively and you have not come to campus, you will not be selected for surveillance testing.

Surveillance testing will be voluntary for on-campus faculty and staff, but since this testing is a way to proactively make our campus and community safer, we encourage employees with on-campus, in-person interactions during the fall semester to participate. Pooled surveillance testing will help us identify asymptomatic carriers of the virus who otherwise may not have known to get tested, thereby allowing us to contain the virus quickly.

Surveillance testing is key to ensuring the health and safety of everyone in our campus community. I appreciate your cooperation and participation as we implement this important safeguard.

More information will be coming soon about testing dates, times and other logistics, but we wanted you to know that this important element will soon be added to keep the campus safe.

Thank you.


Claudine Potvin-Giordano
Director of Health Services
Hudson Valley Community College