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An Update from the President: Return to Campus


The start of the Fall 2021 semester is fast approaching, with one month to go before the first day, August 25. We know that this is a confusing and difficult time for many as we continue to receive information about the pandemic from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), New York State, and CUNY. There is still time for you to do what you can to help prepare for a strong and successful fall semester. How do you do that? Here are a few suggestions:

  • VaxUp! Right now, the best way to fight the virus is the vaccine. Please visit York’s website for more information on what you need to do to be ready to meet the state mandate for vaccinations.
  • If you have not already done so, please register now for Fall 2021. The College is offering classes in a variety of modalities so select your classes now, before they fill. For more information on registration, please visit the York website.
  • The College held a Town Hall on Tuesday, July 20 th and many students attended and asked questions. We encourage you to listen to the recording and consider attending the next Town Hall on August 17 at Noon.
  • Stay informed! Monitor the College’s website, social media, and Cardinal App for important information.

If you have specific questions or concerns about preparing for the fall semester – advising, registration, or financial aid – please visit the York website for information on how to contact the appropriate office.

I can’t wait to see you this fall!


I want to take this opportunity to both express my appreciation to you as well as to update you on the reopening for fall 2021. As you know, changes are occurring rapidly and we want to share with you the most current information. As per the Chancellor’s most recent email dated July 26, staff will return in-person on August 16. The first day of the Fall 2021 semester is August 25.

CUNY has approved the College’s Reopening Plan and it appears on the College’s website. Please familiarize yourself with the plan, but here are a few takeaways:

  • When staff return on August 16, they will work three days in-person and two days remotely. We must continue to meet the operational needs of the College, ensuring that there will be an in-person presence five days a week. We will rely on Directors and Managers to coordinate schedules for their offices and to speak with their respective Vice Presidents if they have questions. All staff must submit a fully signed telework agreement to Human Resources. If they have concerns or wish to request an accommodation, they should reach out to . Please visit the CUNY website for additional information related to Reasonable Accommodations.
  • All employees can start uploading their information today by signing in to CUNYfirst and clicking on the Vaccine Verification link. To complete your vaccination information, you will need the date of your second shot for Pfizer and Moderna or the date of your single shot for Johnson & Johnson; a scan or photograph of your CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card (or an equivalent document if you received your vaccination outside the U.S.), and, if you have the  NY State Excelsior Pass app, a scan or photograph of your pass on your mobile device. We are working with NYS Excelsior to link the pass to CUNY for validation purposes.  Please note that employees returning the week of August 16 will need to upload their vaccination verification documents by Friday, August 6, showing they will be fully vaccinated by the 16th. For those starting later than August 16, the deadlines for uploading are 10 days before the first week you are due back. For instance, if you are starting the week of August 23, the deadline is August 13. These voluntary submissions will facilitate your access to a campus or office in August and throughout the fall semester.If you are not fully vaccinated or do not wish to disclose your status, you will be able to opt out of testing if you have an approved request for a fully remote accommodation. Approved or pending requests need to be indicated on the Vaccine Information Page in CUNYfirst and will be verified by campus Human Resources offices after they are submitted. For a visual guide to submitting information to CUNYfirst, please visit here. For general information on getting back to working in person, please refer to this FAQ. If you still have questions, please consult HR .If you have a technical problem, please contact your campus or office help desk for assistance. All CUNY employees — vaccinated, unvaccinated or undisclosed — are required to follow the University’s Guidelines for CUNY Fall 2021 Reopening Where Not Everyone is Fully Vaccinated.
  • Finally, please note that the symptom tracker feature of Everbridge will no longer be in use after the return to workplaces on August 16. We will transition to a new feature in Everbridge that will display a CUNY VAX pass for those who have verified their vaccination information in CUNYfirst.
  • Unvaccinated individuals will be required to participate in random testing. More information on testing protocols will be forthcoming from CUNY over the next two weeks. Unvaccinated individuals are required to maintain a six-foot social distance and wear a mask in public places. As per CDC guidelines, vaccinated individuals are not required to do so, but can if they feel it is appropriate for them to do so. Please visit the CDC website for the latest information.
  • As per CUNY guidelines, individuals who travel internationally are required to quarantine. Everyone is encouraged to review the CUNY guidelines for international travel, which includes certain US territories.
  • Escalated cleaning protocols are in place and will continue.
  • A recording of York’s Town Hall meeting from last week is available on the web. The next Town Hall is August 17 th at Noon.

I realize this is a very stressful time for many but I encourage everyone to demonstrate patience and care with one another. We will continue to update you as new information becomes available via email, social media, and the website. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your supervisor or respective Vice President. For more information about returning to work, please visit the CUNY FAQ page.

I look forward to seeing you on campus.