The Rensselaer COVID-19 Testing Initiative epitomizes the goal of keeping our students, faculty and staff safe by providing those on campus with seamless access to broad and frequent testing. To minimize the risk of outbreak on campus, Rensselaer designed a detailed Testing, Tracing, Tracking, Surveillance, and Quarantine/Isolation (T3SQsm) protocol.  The protocol requires all members of the community to first be tested on their return, and then on a recurrent basis dependent on their risk-based activities.  The process includes the identification and eventual isolation of infected individuals, with the ultimate goal of keeping our community safe.

Your gift to the Rensselaer COVID-19 Testing Center Initiative Fund will support efforts to keep our community safe and will contribute toward an unprecedented effort in the history of Rensselaer.


With the thorough T3SQsm health protocol, Rensselaer will continue to monitor the presence of disease among our community by running 1,800 to 2,000 tests each day, with a 24-hour turnaround time for results.  Maintaining a high pace and volume while adhering to the strictest standards is essential to mitigating the risk of an outbreak in a close community like Rensselaer.  No testing centers in the immediate vicinity of the campus were determined to be capable of properly overseeing a task of this magnitude and importance.  Indeed, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has indicated that they do not want universities to send samples to commercial testing laboratories to ensure sufficient testing capacity exists in local communities.

It quickly became evident that the most logical solution would be to have Rensselaer establish a testing center of its own.  By controlling the process, Rensselaer can manage the breadth of its own need, and monitor the speed required for accurate and successful testing.  Moreover, infectious disease is at the forefront of our nation’s public health.  Having established the Center to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, Rensselaer is currently pursuing Overflow Laboratory designation under the guidance of a CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments)– certified laboratory and an “Emergency Use” authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Initiative Leadership


Dr. Leslie Lawrence, executive director, Student Health Services, and Dr. Jonathan Dordick, Howard P. Isermann Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and the Senior Advisor to the President for Strategic Initiatives, provide leadership for the initiative and oversee daily operations.


Significant resources are needed for the testing of our community members over the course of the semester. Your gift to the COVID-19 Testing Initiative will help support this unprecedented effort in the history of Rensselaer through the following areas:


It costs approximately $700 to ensure that testing is available twice per week during the semester for our on-campus students. A gift of $2,500 would provide testing services for approximately 4 students, and a gift of $10,000 would cover approximately 14 students. Please consider supporting this initiative today.

testing for 1 Student twice per week during the semester

testing for 4 Students twice per week during the semester

testing for 14 Students twice per week during the semester

Transformative Supporters

We thank the following generous members of the Rensselaer community for their transformative gifts supporting the Rensselaer COVID-19 Testing Initiative Fund:

Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan

The Capek Family Foundation