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Chancellor Email to Students about Fall 2021

Dear CUNY student,

I’m writing today with an important update regarding the process to upload proof of COVID-19 vaccination into CUNYfirst and the timeline to complete the process. 

First, you can now upload your proof of vaccination in CUNYfirst (more information below). At the same time, I want to let you know that we are moving the deadline to fulfill this requirement from  August 10 to Tuesday, September 14. The decision to extend the deadline was made in order to give students more time to be fully vaccinated and upload their information. 

As we have previously announced, per CUNY policy, all students taking in-person or hybrid classes on a campus this Fall will be required to be fully vaccinated unless they have been granted a medical exemption or religious exception.

Vaccination Verification

If you are already vaccinated, as most CUNY students are, you can upload your information by signing in to  CUNYfirst and clicking in the Vaccination Verification portal. You will need the dates of your two shots for Pfizer and Moderna or the date of your single Johnson & Johnson shot, the location where you got your vaccine, a scan or photograph of your CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card, 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. International students who have received vaccination outside the United States will also be able to upload in CUNYfirst their verification documentation, as long as the vaccine received was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Requesting an Exemption

You can also submit in CUNYfirst your request and supporting documentation for a medical exemption or religious exception to the vaccine. Students requesting an exemption for medical reasons will be required to submit a  COVID-19 Vaccine Medical Exemption Request Form signed by a healthcare provider. Students requesting an exception for religious reasons will be required to submit a written statement explaining how immunization conflicts with the student’s religious beliefs. The requests will be verified by the campus  Location Vaccine Authority liaison responsible for implementing the COVID-19 Vaccination Program on your campus. Exemptions and exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and are not automatically granted.

More Time to Vax Up

Moving back the deadline to share proof of vaccination gives unvaccinated students more time to get fully vaccinated (defined as two weeks beyond the last vaccination shot). I continue to urge you to be vaccinated, as that is by far the best protection against COVID-19 and the highly transmissible Delta variant. In order to be fully vaccinated by September 14, you will need to get the first Moderna shot by August 3; the first Pfizer shot by August 10; or the single shot of Johnson & Johnson, by August 31. Please visit our  VaxUpCUNY page for additional information on how to get the vaccine.

Unvaccinated students who have on-campus class sessions between August 25 and the September 14 deadline will have to show proof of a negative test taken no more than 7 days before visiting a campus for any reason.

FDA, Dorms and Sports

Please note that until the expected full FDA approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, unvaccinated students will be required to regularly test and show proof of a negative test. This test must be taken no more than seven days prior to attending any on-campus class sessions or visiting a campus for any reason. To avoid constant testing, please take this time to get vaccinated. Further, being fully vaccinated is required to move into a dorm or participate in any sport in the CUNY Athletic Conference; this is regardless of FDA approval.

For a visual step-by-step guide to submitting information to CUNYfirst, please visit  here. For a list of frequently asked questions about the student vaccination policy, please refer to the  policy FAQ or the  Getting Back to Learning on Campus FAQ. If you have a technical problem, please contact your campus  help desk. If you still have questions, please contact your campus student affairs office listed  here

Finally, the symptom tracker feature of Everbridge that has been in use to visit a campus will not be in use in the Fall. 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.

CUNY and campus leaders throughout the University are continuing to work hard to facilitate a safe and smooth return for all our students, faculty and staff. I reiterate our ironclad commitment to protecting the health of all members of our community in a climate that continues to be fluid and rapidly changeable. We look forward to welcoming you back later this month or in September for the colleges that have a later start date; until then, please continue to stay safe.