Some colleges will require students to test for COVID when they return


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — During winter break, many residential college students leave the area, head home, and gather for the holidays. With COVID cases climbing, some colleges and universities here are requiring students to get tested prior to their return next year. 

SUNY Brockport and St. John Fisher said all students will engage in return testing in January, obtaining test results before they start the spring semester; and the Rochester Institute of Technology is strongly recommending students get tested. 

Chase Franz goes the Nazareth. The college told News 8 Monday they don’t have any testing plans. Either way, Franz is ready. 

“So we might have to get a test, but I’m pretty sure we’re not going to have to get a test…as long as we submit our vaccines because I go to Nazareth,” Franz said. “Nazareth, in particular, has a high vaccination rate, over 90% which is fantastic.”

Jet Barcques goes to SUNY Brockport and feels that this kind of testing should be done after every vacation period. “I think we should because it keeps everyone safe,” he said.

And what are some colleges outside New York doing? Native to the area, Margareta is in town from Texas where she attends college. When she gets back, there’s no testing requirement. 

“All our classes are in-person. Vaccination rates for the students is about 80%, all the faculty are vaccinated,” Margareta said.

Sathe Hitchner goes to Penn State, he says testing there is frequent anyway. “I test weekly when I go down there. They have walk-in testing for everybody as well,” Hitchner said.

When it comes to schools with international students, places like The University of Rochester strongly advised foreign students not to leave the US. And UR, like Nazareth, is still working on what might be required for COVID testing when students return. 

The spring semester for many local colleges starts in early January.


“Classes ended on December 6 for our students. Prior to students leaving, we strongly encouraged them to get a COVID-19 test before their return. You can read the communication here we sent to students. We continue to monitor the spread with counsel from local, state and national health officials. Many international students remain on campus over the break. For those that may have gone home, they follow guidelines for their return.”


“Nazareth doesn’t have plans at this point for a COVID test” adding, “Here is our statement regarding boosters: Nazareth College does not currently require a booster for our community. However, we strongly encourage our community to get a booster vaccination. We are closely following COVID news and updates related to the Omicron variant. Our current policies and procedures are in line with those recommended by the county executive and public health commissioner, Dr. Michael Mendoza. We will keep our community informed and up to date with any new information as it becomes available and we will continue to base our decisions on protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.”

University of Rochester

“All international travel for students over winter break was strongly advised against. And we are in the process of evaluating the plans for returning to campus for the spring semester. When finalized they will be broadly communicated.”

SUNY Brockport

“…all will be required to either be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to campus or (for those eligible) upload proof of having received a COVID-19 booster vaccine or upload proof that they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days.”

St. John Fisher College

“At this time, all residential students and student-athletes will engage in return testing at the College in January. Additionally, Fisher is strongly encouraging all students to obtain a test prior to their arrival on campus to ensure they do not have COVID before returning for the spring semester. The College also continues to educate members of the campus community, including faculty, staff, and students, about the importance of receiving a booster of the vaccine and provide information on where appointments can be obtained. Fisher will host a booster clinic for students when they return in January.”

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