What to Know About CUNY’s Random COVID-19 Testing Program

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CUNY’s sudden launch of its random COVID-19 testing program has left students confused about its implementation. In response, The Knight News has compiled a list of information that outlines what the process will entail for Queens College students.

Checking Your CUNY Account

Launched on November 15, 2021, the testing protocol is part of CUNY’s larger initiative to have 70 percent of classes offered in-person for students during the Spring 2022 semester.

According to an email sent by the Office of Student Affairs, 10 percent of randomly selected vaccinated individuals will be contacted every Thursday to test for COVID-19. Participants are notified through an email sent to their CUNY account from no-reply@Cleared4work.com.

In a follow-up email sent days later, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Jennifer Jarvis, advised students to check their CUNY email each week in case they have been selected.

Do I Have to Get Tested?

Students and faculty who are selected under the program must get a PCR test for COVID-19 within 7 days upon receiving the email. Testing must be done at one of CUNY’s official sites, which are overseen by Applied DNA Clinical Labs LLC through their safeCircle program.

Results that are submitted from any other testing site will not be accepted.

Since results take 48 hours to become available, participants will still have access to Queens College during that time. If the test comes back positive for COVID-19, students will have their Access Pass revoked and be contacted by William Graffeo, Katie Festa, or Coronavirus Campus Liaison Parmanand Panday.

Individuals who fail to submit a test result within the deadline will have their access to Queens College suspended. Their names will also be re-entered into the random testing pool, where they will then have to reapply through CUNYFirst to regain access to campus.

Students who are not vaccinated and are taking online classes will not be added to the testing pool. Students with an exemption who are taking hybrid or in-person classes are included.

Exposure & Accommodations

Participants who receive a positive test result for COVID-19 must notify Queens College by completing the Coronavirus Exposure Form. Students can also email VPESR@qc.cuny.edu to have their instructors notified about their result to arrange for accommodations. Assistance will not be considered for individuals whose campus access is suspended due to failure to submit a PCR test when selected for the random testing program.

Queens College will also require students and faculty members to submit a negative PCR test result from a non-CUNY facility in order to regain access to campus. CUNY recommends that testing should be done 3-5 days after exposure to COVID-19.

Information on free testing can be accessed on the NYC Health and Hospital website.

Test results and or medical clearance should be emailed to william.graffeo@qc.cuny.edu, katie.festa@qc.cuny.edu, and parmanand.panday@qc.cuny.edu.

Student Reaction

While the majority of Queens College’s student population has not been entered into the testing pool, many find it frustrating that CUNY had implemented the protocol so close to finals.

“I bet it’s been a very big inconvenience, doing this testing at the last month of the semester,” an anonymous Queens College student tells The Knight News. “It makes sense, I get it, but it’s also been poorly implemented. All the emails and sites are so confusing. It’s good that CUNY is doing it, but they went about it in a very weird way.”

As the random COVID-19 testing program will only be communicated through email, many are finding it concerning that CUNY is continuing its habit of not keeping its student body updated in a proficient manner. The issue harkens back to when the vaccine was first mandated for students back in August, which was later delayed into the Fall semester.

Future of the Program

Weekly testing numbers across CUNY have revealed that out of the 87,016 tests conducted on unvaccinated individuals since August 25, 271 have been positive for COVID-19 – a rate of 0.20 percent. Out of the 3,519 tests Queens College has conducted, only 11 students have received a positive result, yielding a rate of 0.30 percent.

Only time will tell how efficiently the random COVID-19 testing program will record the new figures for Spring 2022. For now, however, the protocol seems to only be effective in measuring the patience of students at this point.

For questions about Queens College campus access, email returntocampus2021@gmail.com

Visit CUNY COVID-19 Safety Tracker for testing updates across campuses.

Stavros Anastasiou

Stavros is an editor and writer for The Knight News with a Bachelor's in Classics as well as Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies. Joining the paper back in June 2021, he's covered a wide variety of stories related to CUNY, New York City, and even conducted interviews with fellow Queens College alumni and professors. Working for The Knight News has been a rewarding experience for Stavros and he hopes to continue his involvement in the field of journalism. In his free time, Stavros loves to play basketball, hang out with family and friends, and work on creative projects.

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