ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) – State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras and Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) President Mary E. Sullivan announced Thursday an agreement to conduct free, mandatory testing for CSEA-represented employees at SUNY state-operated colleges, universities, and hospitals.
The agreement comes on the heels of a similar deal struck last week that requires mandatory COVID-19 testing for all employees represented by United University Professions (UUP).
Effective immediately and continuing through December 31, 2020, all CSEA employees at state-operated universities, colleges, and hospitals working in-person on campus will be tested regularly for coronavirus. Testing will be free of cost and conducted during regular work hours.
Chancellor Malatras says that campuses will work with local CSEA representatives to develop their respective employee testing protocols, and that CSEA employee testing will be done at the same frequency as student testing.
“Testing employees is crucial to protecting the health and safety of our campus communities and avoiding major outbreaks,” said Chancellor Malatras. “SUNY’s CSEA workforce have been on the frontlines of the COVID crisis from the very beginning, doing everything from keeping our facilities clean to getting students their meals safely—work that is fundamental to keeping our campuses open during this challenging time. They deserve access to the same testing being offered to students and faculty members. I want to thank President Sullivan and the entire CSEA membership for all that they do. Thanks to groundbreaking advancements at Upstate Medical—and a close partnership with CSEA—SUNY can now provide employees the regular testing they deserve.”
Civil Service Employee Union President Sullivan said, “We want to ensure safe operations are maintained at all SUNY campuses, not only for the workers but the entire campus community. This agreement prioritizes testing to protect the workers we represent, and we hope it will have the additional benefit of keeping campuses open and people working.”
SUNY currently has the capacity to process 120,000 test samples per week thanks to major testing breakthroughs at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Their now FDA-approved individual saliva test, done in tandem with aggressive pooled surveillance testing, allows colleges to quickly and accurately pinpoint and contain the virus and prevent outbreaks.