United University Professions call for stricter COVID-19 protocols for SUNY schools

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ALBANY, NY – As college students begin to make their way back to campus for the fall semester, some members of the SUNY community have concerns about safety.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has more on what has the nation’s largest higher education union speaking out.

United University Professions held a virtual rally with hundreds of staff, students and lawmakers calling for more safety precautions at SUNY campuses, especially when it comes to testing.

((Fred Kowal, UUP President)) Today what we are calling for is to make each other, especially those who carry the heaviest burdens due to generations of racism and injustice safe from further ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some SUNY campuses like UAlbany are requiring all students coming for the fall semester to show proof a negative coronavirus test before their arrival.

Syracuse University, which is a private institution is mandating that for its students as well.

But, not all campuses are the same when it comes to testing.

Some SUNY Fredonia students have taken up their concerns with the administration through a letter asking for testing requirements that has garnered about 900 signatures.

((Brad Brown, SUNY Fredonia Student)) Our asks are to test all students, faculty and staff for COVID-19 prior to their arrival and undergo pooled and individual testing for residential students both at the beginning of the semester and periodically throughout the semester.

((Elizabeth Hahn, SUNY Fredonia Student)) We know that the currently available guidance and evidence shows that allowing untested individuals from across the state and the country to condense on campus will pose a great potential harm to the Fredonia community.

Hahn says that testing would reduce the chance of students having to go back to total distance learning or return back home before the semester ends due to COVID spread.

We reached out to SUNY about UUP’s concerns. In a statement a SUNY spokesperson said: “The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our highest priority, and our campuses are prepared for fall reopening in the coming weeks with plans that align with strict New York State guidance. And, like we did during the spring semester, we will be ready to make adjustments or otherwise escalate our plans further to maintain that high level of safety and wellness that the SUNY community deserves.”

UUP is also asking for SUNY to require stricter mask requirements on campus.

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