ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) boards will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all in-person students beginning this fall.
The governor said he encourages private colleges and universities to do the same.
According to Cuomo, the federal government will have to give the COVID-19 vaccines full approval rather than the current Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the mandate to be put in place. He says he believes the vaccines will receive full approval soon.
NEW: SUNY & CUNY will require vaccinations for all in-person students beginning Fall 2021.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 10, 2021
I encourage all private colleges & universities to require vaccinations as well.
“Since day one of this pandemic, our students, faculty, and staffs’ health and wellbeing have always been top priority. We have taken extraordinary steps to keep our communities safe—from 100 percent weekly mandated testing; to enhanced health and safety protocols; to opening our campuses to serve as vaccination sites for SUNY and the broader community; to advocating for expanded vaccine eligibility for the entire SUNY community; and to a comprehensive public service campaign to get our SUNY community vaccinated. And all of these efforts have paid enormous dividends. SUNY’s 14-day positivity rate is 0.14 percent and our system—the largest comprehensive system in the nation—has done an extraordinary job keeping our campuses running under trying circumstances. Over the past several weeks we have been working with our SUNY community to develop the best plan to make sure we can return to full reopening in the fall and turn the page on COVID. We thank the Governor for providing resources to our many campuses offering vaccines to SUNY and the broader community. The State’s new vaccination requirement—contingent on full FDA approval—will be another step in restoring normal campus activity this fall.”
University at Buffalo said it strongly supports the requirement.
"The University at Buffalo strongly supports Governor Cuomo’s recommendation to require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19, pending final FDA approval of vaccines and approval of the requirement by the SUNY Board of Trustees, in order for students to participate in in-person classes and activities in the fall semester.
Over the next several days and weeks, UB will continue to urge all current and in-coming students to schedule their shots as soon as possible at clinics in Western New York and in their home communities throughout the U.S. where vaccine appointments are readily available. UB international students currently living abroad are also encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible in their home countries.
Since the beginning of April, when Governor Cuomo announced that college-aged students were eligible to receive the vaccination, UB has been leading a campaign encouraging all students to get vaccinated. Currently 4,200 UB students have indicated to the university that they been fully vaccinated, and in a recent UB survey, 88 percent of students said they are vaccinated, in process of getting vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated. UB expects the number of fully vaccinate students will grow considerably over the next few months, leading up to the fall semester when the university will return to a much more prominent in-person experience.
While it is not required that on-campus employees are vaccinated, UB strongly encourages faculty and staff to make vaccination appointments as soon as possible as well."
UB Spokesperson John Della Contrada said about 1,700 faculty and staff said they have been fully vaccinated. He said that's about 77 percent of the faculty and staff that regularly come to campus.
As for the influence the announcement has on private colleges, Medaille College President Dr. Kenneth Macur said the college will now be revisiting the issue this week. He said currently the college is encouraging, but not mandating the vaccine.
“I suspect that this is the kind of momentum that will help my cabinet advisory team move a little bit towards mandating the vaccine for Medaille college students,” Macur said.
Daemen College is not requiring vaccinations. Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Dr. Greg Nayor said today's announcement did not change things.
“It’s a battle as an institution," Nayor said. "As individuals we want to say make everybody get the vaccine and be done with it, as administrators we’re trying to balance peoples concern, peoples fears, and all of the other pieces that go with it.”
He said the college is educating students about the vaccine and holding on campus clinics.
Canisius College said it's still making a decision.
In April, SUNY announced a program to vaccinate residential students before the end of the spring semester.
United University Professions, a union representing SUNY faculty, said it supports the decision. UUP President Frederick E. Kowal said he would've preferred the announcement come from SUNY.