COVID-19 booster shot mandate instated for CUNY and SUNY students


Devpolicy Blog

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a new COVID19 booster shot mandate for all CUNY and SUNY students during a press conference on Dec. 31.

“We are asking all schools to ensure that students, before they return, are boosted,” Hochul said. “They are required to be vaccinated, now we’re putting on an additional requirement. In order to return to your college campus, you have to be boosted.”

This new mandate will go into effect on Jan. 15, during the winter session for CUNY, and overrides the previous vaccination mandate that required students to be fully vaccinated with two doses from Pfizer or Moderna, or the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Now, to return to campus for the spring 2022 semester, students must receive a booster shot.

Non-immunocompromised individuals are eligible for a booster shot five months after receiving their second shot. If a student is not yet eligible for the booster shot by the beginning of the spring semester, he may enter campus until the day he becomes eligible. At this point, students are no longer allowed on campus without the third dose.

Previously, there was no mandate for faculty and staff of CUNY and SUNY campuses, but now they need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 too.

Hochul also mandated that students, faculty and staff wear masks while indoors to reduce the spread of the COVID-19, especially the omicron variant.

There will also be regular COVID-19 testing for students unable to receive a third dose.

“This is how we’re going to ensure that these campuses stay open,” Hochul said. “When a community college shuts down, or a SUNY school or a private school shuts down, that is devastating to the local economy. We can avoid this, because last time we didn’t have vaccinations, we didn’t have boosters, we didn’t have the rapid testing available.”

The Professional Staff Congress, the union for CUNY faculty and staff, said in a press release that it supports the vaccine mandate for its members.

“As the number of COVID cases in the city and the region surge to unprecedented levels, and increasing hospitalizations burden our health care facilities and their overstretched staff, this is a welcome announcement,” the statement reads.

“We expect the new policy to apply to all faculty and staff and support it as a critical layer of protection in our workplace, and an extension of the existing policy for students. We know, however, that vaccination is not enough, and CUNY must take additional measures so that each campus can ensure the safety of our members and students,” Hochul said.