CICU Announces COVID-19 Testing Data for New York’s Private, Not-for-Profit Colleges and Universities

News Date: 10/29/2020

Independent higher ed sector maintains a 0.16% positivity rate statewide, keeping campuses safe for in-person learning


ALBANY, NY – The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) today released COVID-19 testing data for 100+ private, not-for-profit colleges and universities across New York State. From August 1 through October 27, New York’s private, not-for-profit colleges and universities conducted more than 854,000 tests, with only 1,354 positive results, and a positivity rate of 0.16%. The data reaffirms the Independent higher education sector’s commitment to strong testing, innovative surveillance practices, student cooperation and vigilant enforcement. The data was reported to New York State's School COVID-19 Report Card.  

“The meticulous planning and diligent protocols that New York’s Independent colleges and universities put in place at the beginning of this fall semester – a time when many questioned whether colleges could reopen at all – continues to pay off, as is evidenced by this data,” said Mary Beth Labate, President of CICU. “As other colleges across the country have struggled to safely maintain in-person learning models, CICU institutions continue to be driven by data and science and focused on putting the health and safety of their students, faculty, staff, and local communities first.”

Prior to the beginning of the fall semester, CICU convened a task force and published a detailed report with recommendations and guidelines for safely reopening higher education in New York State. Many private, not-for-profit colleges and universities required a negative COVID-19 test before a student could return to campus, offered robust testing programs on campus, and strictly enforced the State’s quarantine order for out-of-state students. 

Independent colleges and universities collaborated regionally and statewide to find best practices to identify positive cases and mitigate campus spread. Throughout the semester, Independent colleges and universities have implemented innovative and proactive testing procedures such as wastewater monitoring programs and group testing initiatives to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in local communities.  

Independent colleges and universities also worked alongside local and county health departments to ensure the health and safety of the surrounding communities. 

“We knew from the beginning how difficult it would be to reopen our campuses in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Dr. Christine Riordan, President of Adelphi University and Chair of CICU’s Board of Trustees. “New York’s Independent higher education sector has maintained its promise of a world-class education to its students by carefully implementing safety and contingency plans to help keep campuses, and the towns and cities they are a part of, safe and healthy.”