The union that represents public college and university faculty in New York are calling for widespread testing of campus staff and students before the fall semester begins.
United University Professions President Fred Kowal says this massive testing capacity needs to be expanded now to safely start the school year.
"There must be testing, it must be mandatory, in order to get the semester off to as healthy and productive a semester as possible," Kowal said in an interview.
Testing on that scale is potentially massive. As of the Fall 2019 semster, SUNY had 415,572 students at its 64 campuses. About 50,000 to 70,000 tests are conducted daily in New York.
The union wants one-time testing before the semster begins and then social distancing guidelines put in place to limit the spread of any infection as well spot checks. Capacity needs to be ramped up now in order to handle the influx of needed testing, Kowal said.
"The campus becomes more of a regular community, almost like a city. When there are an outbreak, those individuals get contacted and tested," Kowal said.
SUNY campuses were among the first to close in mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in New York. Campuses are now considering how to reopen in the fall with a mix of in-classroom instruction and distancing learning.