Announcing COVID-19 Surveillance Testing

Published September 10, 2020


As part of the university’s ongoing and evolving efforts to help protect students, faculty and staff from the spread of the coronavirus, UB is now beginning randomized COVID-19 surveillance testing of students, faculty and staff. By testing large numbers of people on campus who do not have COVID-19 symptoms, we expect to gain valuable insight into how many people have the infection asymptomatically, which will help us reduce transmission of COVID-19 within the UB community.

Approved by the New York State Department of Health for use by all SUNY institutions, this simple and non-invasive testing procedure checks for the presence of the virus using saliva samples pooled in batches. The Screening, Testing, and Contact Tracing Protocol Committee has recommended use of this approach at the present time.  Surveillance testing will focus on three groups:

  • Students residing in campus housing.
  • Students in nearby privately owned, multi-resident apartment complexes, as well as students in the Buffalo area taking in-person classes during the fall semester.
  • Faculty and staff.

Individuals who do not have on-campus, in-person interactions during the fall semester will be excluded from testing.

Starting immediately, rounds of testing will take place at regular intervals at sites being set up on the university’s North, South and Downtown campuses. Those randomly selected for testing will receive notification and instructions by email. Further information is available on the COVID-19: UB Planning and Response website.

While surveillance testing is voluntary, we strongly encourage anyone with on-campus, in-person interactions during the fall semester to participate if selected. We urge you to consider the active role we each play in keeping the UB community strong and safe and how this effort is an important part of achieving that goal.

— A. Scott Weber, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

— Michael E. Cain, MD, Chair, Screening, Testing, Contact Tracing Protocol Committee; Vice President for Health Sciences; Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences