Columbia-Greene Community College COVID-19 Testing Plan – CGCC

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Columbia-Greene Community College COVID-19 Testing Plan

Columbia-Greene Community College COVID-19 Testing Plan

Methodology / Logistics

  • Columbia-Greene will be using Group Saliva Surveillance developed by Upstate Medical University and the University of Albany.
  • Testing will be conducted in the Student Dining Hall in the Main Building, to accommodate the six-foot distancing protocol for employees and students waiting to be tested. Decals will be placed on the floor at six feet intervals in the room and in the outside corridor.
  • The room will be arranged according to the diagram provided in SUNY’s Group Saliva Surveillance Standard Operating Procedure:
    • Two tables (one for distributing the test kits and one for pooling)
    • Two hand sanitizer stations in front of the first table
    • Containers of disinfecting lab wipes
    • Two large trash receptacles with bags and ties
  • Two staff members from Buildings and Grounds will be responsible for setting up the test site and distributing PPE.
  • Two employees from the Columbia County Department of Health will serve as the Test Distributer / Trainer and the Pooler. A Columbia-Greene Community College nursing faculty member will collect and place the tests in a rack for the Pooler. The Pooler will remove the filled racks and complete the collection process described below under
  • The College’s Nurse will greet and screen students and employees as they arrive to verify adherence to not having consumed prohibited food, drink, and substances; to check IDs; and to confirm the registration on the mobile device as detailed under Procedure (Note: students and employees entering any campus building already will have been screened for COVID-19 symptoms).
  • All personnel in the collection station area will be wearing PPE, including gloves, and closed-toe footwear. The Pooler will wear eye protection and a face shield. As noted above, hand sanitizer will be available, as well as disinfecting wipes.


  • The collection days will be planned ahead of time, based on the SUNY processing lab reservation.
  • Students enrolled in face-to-face classes will be assigned a specific time to be tested.
  • The College will strongly encourage employees to participate; employees who agree will be assigned a specific time to be tested.
  • Students and employees will be directed to watch an instructional video on “Swabbing Technique” (
  • Students and employees who complete the test will receive a three-inch lapel sticker that reads, “I’ve been tested to help protect our community.”
  • The day before the test, students and employees will be instructed to create a COVID-19 Surveillance Account and register on line through the SUNY portal ( Those arriving for the test who have not pre-registered will be required to register before entering the collection area.
  • Students and employees must bring their C-GCC official ID card, along with their personal mobile device, to the collection station.
  • Students and employees will receive instructions to avoid eating or drinking anything (including chewing gum, mints, or lozenges) and abstaining from smoking, vaping, and/or using smokeless tobacco products 30 minutes prior to the test. Other advisories include not brushing teeth or using mouthwash three hours prior to the test. Those not complying with these guidelines will be asked to leave and return at a later time.
  • When cleared by the greeter, students and employees will approach the collection station, use hand sanitizer, launch the COVID-19 Surveillance Account described above, and without opening the collection device, scan and enter the saliva collection kit barcode.
  • The first attendant will verify that the barcode has been entered correctly by having the individual read the barcode from the mobile device. If incorrect, the individual must re-enter the barcode.
  • The first attendant will direct the individual to move to the second attendant with the collection swab, and the individual will proceed to collect saliva from the mouth for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • When finished, the individual will tightly close the tube, shake the tube vigorously 10 times to mix the stabilizing reagent, hand to the attendant, and finalize the registration.
  • The second attendant will add the collection tube to the rack provided. Once 12 samples are in the rack, the Pooler retrieves the rack for transfer to the pooling table.
  • For each of the 12 samples in the collection rack, the Pooler twists open the lid, squeegees the liquid from the swab by twisting against the inside of the collection tube, and transfers the entire liquid contents from the collection tube to a secondary barcoded pool tube. The Pooler then tightly closes each original sample tube and adds to a labeled common pool collection bag.
  • The common pool tube stays in the collection rack until samples are received from 12 individuals. When 12 samples have been collected, the Pooler seals the pool tube tightly, and wipes the exterior of the tube with a disinfectant wipe.
  • The Pooler verifies that the common pool tube and pool collection bag, containing 12 empty collection tubes, have the same label and places the common pool tube in the pooled rack. The pool collection bag containing the 12 empty individual collection tubes is set aside for transport to SUNY upstate.
  • After each pool collection is complete, the Pooler changes gloves or uses a disinfecting wipe to vigorously clean the gloves before handling the next set of pool tubes.
  • When pools are complete, the tubes and collection bags containing the 12 empty saliva collection vials will be delivered to the SUNY Upstate processing lab. Samples must arrive at SUNY Upstate by 3 p.m. for results to be generated the next day. Otherwise, data will be available within two days.
  • Pool sample tubes must be kept out of direct sunlight and be held at room temperature.

Frequency of Testing

Columbia-Greene Community College will test all staff, faculty, and students who are taking classes and/or working on campus twice a month.

Campus Demographics

For the fall 2020 semester, students enrolled in face-to-face classes number 182. Columbia-Greene does not have residence halls; most students (78 percent) reside in Columbia and Greene Counties.
Employees working on campus following a staggered schedule to reduce building density number 98.
The total on-campus population is 180; five percent of that number equals 14.

Other Types of Testing

Without residence halls, the College believes the Pool Testing will be sufficient for the population of the campus and will not be conducting wastewater or individual tests at this time.

Plan Data Management

The main contact for testing data management is the College’s Nurse. Before the testing begins, she will identify and implement the best method(s) for keeping track of the population sampled.

Protocol for Positive COVID-19 Tests

  • Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 must begin an immediate quarantine in their home and contact their healthcare provider for assessment, further testing, and guidance.
  • The College will alert the Departments of Health in Columbia and Greene Counties. Should the individual live in another county, that Department of Health will be advised.
  • A student testing positive will quarantine at home for two weeks (14 days) and follow doctor’s orders. The affected classroom will be closed for 48 hours so that Buildings and Grounds staff members can deep clean and sanitize the space.
  • A staff member who tests positive will quarantine at home for two weeks (14 days) and follow doctor’s orders. The individual’s office area will be off-limits for 48 hours for deep cleaning and sanitizing.
  • A cluster of cases identified from the pool test will require SUNY Upstate Medical to administer the reflex test.
  • If positive cases comprise five percent or more of the on-campus population, the College will close in-person operations and await guidance from the Departments of Health in Columbia and Greene Counties.
  • The College’s Marketing Department will keep the public informed about an outbreak of the virus and/or the need to shut down operations via news releases and postings on social media and the web site.

Logistical Responsibilities

Buildings and Grounds: Setting up site, distributing PPE as needed
Contact: Alison Murphy, Director,
Health Services: Training, overseeing chain of custody of tests, completing SUNY Daily Health Status report
Contact: Laura Sangi, College Nurse,
Departments of Health: (Columbia and Greene Counties) Distributing tests, collecting tests, pooling

Contacts: Chuck Kaiser,
Penny Martinez,

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