SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Office of Communications & Marketing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Holly Liapis | Holly.Liapis@suny.edu | (518) 320-1311
Chancellor Malatras and PEF President Spence Announce Free, Mandatory COVID-19 Testing Agreement of PEF-Represented Employees at SUNY Campuses
Agreement Follows Arrangements to Conduct Mandatory Testing of UUP-Represented Faculty and Professional Members and CSEA-Represented Employees
Expanded Employee Testing Done at State-Operated Colleges, Universities, and Hospitals
in Concert with Aggressive Pooled Surveillance Testing of Students
Albany, NY – State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras and The New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) President Wayne Spence today announced an agreement to conduct free, mandatory testing for PEF-represented employees at SUNY state-operated colleges, universities, and hospitals. The agreement follows similar arrangements announced recently with United University Professions (UUP) faculty and professional members, and Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) employees.
“At SUNY, our approach to containing COVID-19 depends on pinpointing any possible positive cases and that is why testing is a central part of our response efforts. I want to thank President Wayne Spence and his entire organization for this important agreement to include PEF employees—many of our frontline heroes during the crisis—in our regular testing program.” said Chancellor Malatras. “This important agreement shows that by working together we can control the virus and keep our campuses and programs open and running safely.”
New York State Public Employees Federation President Spence said, “From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, PEF has fought tirelessly to protect our members. This testing agreement between SUNY and PEF will help safeguard the health of state employees as they return to work.”
Effective immediately and continuing through December 31, 2020, all state-operated colleges, universities, and hospitals shall conduct testing of Professional, Scientific and Technical Services Unit (PS&T) employees who are required to report in person to campus to conduct some or all of their work obligation. Testing will be free of cost and conducted during regular work hours. Campuses will work with their local PEF council representatives in development of the testing protocol of the PS&T. Testing will be done at the same frequency as with students, faculty, and staff.
SUNY has benefitted greatly from the pooled surveillance testing advancements at Upstate Medical University. 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.
About The New York State Public Employees Federation
The Public Employees Federation (PEF) represents nearly 52,000 public sector employees in with respect to all terms and conditions of employment in New York State. PEF supports and defends the concepts of individual merit and ethical performance as criteria for public service employees in order to best promote efficient delivery of services to New Yorkers.
About The State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. As of Fall 2019, more than 415,500 students were enrolled in a degree-granting program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide exceeded $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2019, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.
About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City, and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.
A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to UHB, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit www.downstate.edu or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.