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Spring semester guidance issued for SUNY & CUNY campuses 'to safely reopen'


Sat, Jan 1st 2022 12:15 pm

Mandates COVID-19 vaccine booster and mandatory pre-testing for all students planning to regularly access campus

√ Ongoing testing plans required for all campuses

√ Vaccinations for all faculty

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday announced issuance of spring semester reopening guidance for SUNY and CUNY campuses, which includes the continuation of the student vaccine mandate as well as requiring all students regularly accessing campus to receive the COVID-19 booster for the spring semester. Additional requirements for students also include mandatory pre-testing ahead of their semester return, which will apply to all students who plan to regularly access campus.

Each campus will develop and communicate an ongoing testing plan to monitor for positive cases throughout the semester. Campuses will continue to enforce universal indoor masking regardless of vaccination status and social distancing for anyone who is unvaccinated on campus.

"We need to ensure students in New York are able to stay in school and learn in-person throughout the spring semester," Hochul said. "Students deserve to have a safe, and high-quality in-person college experience; and with these new measures, students will be able to stay on campus and in their classes. SUNY and CUNY have already done an extraordinary job at fighting the pandemic, with COVID-19 rates much lower than the general population, and it's time to take the next step to keep everyone safe."

Students who are regularly on campus who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster are now required to receive one for the spring 2022 semester. Campuses must develop a plan and timeframe requirement for students to provide proof of booster vaccination.

SUNY and CUNY campuses must also implement, or continue if they had previously implemented, an ongoing testing program throughout the semester. Campuses will develop a random sampling methodology, which will be communicated to students. Campuses may also implement an exemption process for those who have received a booster. All faculty will be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

SUNY will continue to report real-time results at the COVID-19 case tracker available here. Hochul’s team said, “Since the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, when students began returning for in-person classes, SUNY has administered nearly 3 million tests on campus, with an average positivity rate of about 0.45% – far lower than statewide and surrounding community rates.

“CUNY will continue to report weekly results on its COVID-19 safety tracker available here. Since Aug. 25, CUNY has administered almost 95,000 tests to unvaccinated individuals, with an average cumulative positivity rate of 0.50%.”

In response to Hochul’s announcement, United University Professions President Fred E. Kowal said, “United University Professions has long supported efforts to get the entire SUNY community vaccinated, not only for the health and safety of students, staff and UUP members, but also for the benefit of all New Yorkers, which is why we applaud Gov. Hochul’s latest effort announced today. For this approach to be successful and make our communities safer, this needs to be done right. We’ve successfully worked through this process with the governor when vaccines for our members at the SUNY hospitals were mandated. Our campuses are some of the safest places in New York, in no small part because UUP has been successful at encouraging members to be vaccinated. This can be seen in the high vaccination rate of our members at over 90%. We look forward to working with Gov. Hochul and her staff to discuss this plan and negotiate its implementation to ensure the hard-fought and won due process rights of our members are protected, while also ensuring the health and safety of the communities we serve.”

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