NEW YORK - The fall semester is about to begin for more than 500,000 students across 25 CUNY campuses in New York City. A coalition of educators is still pushing for change, just hours before the doors reopen for in-person learning.
"We are urging CUNY to permit remote instruction until the state guidance can be met and in-person students are fully vaccinated," said James Davis, a faculty member at Brooklyn College.
Soon, all students will have to be inoculated, pursuant to a New York state directive that mandated the COVID-19 vaccine at both CUNY and SUNY schools as soon as the Pfizer shot got full FDA approval on Monday. SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras confirmed on Twitter that the Board of Trustees authorized the policy.
Students across all state- and city-operated campuses will have a 35-day grace period to provide proof of vaccination or submit a request for either a medical or a religious exemption.
In the meantime, PSC CUNY, a union that represents 30,000 staff and faculty members, is calling for unvaccinated students and staffers to be tested every 72 hours, rather than every week, which is the university system's current policy.
Davis, who is president of PSC CUNY, identified ventilation concerns in buildings at five CUNY campuses.
"They are located at Queens College, Hunter College, Baruch College, Medgar Evers College, and Bronx Community College," he said.
"We have conducted a rigorous inspection of ventilation systems and other essential safety features in the classrooms, offices, laboratories, libraries and other spaces that will be in use," a CUNY spokesperson said in a statement to FOX 5 NY.
Those who are fully vaccinated must upload all of their information onto a CUNY app by Sept. 27. Students who do not follow the vaccine mandate will be at risk of academic withdrawal.