Dear Members of the City College Community,
I'm writing as an urgent reminder of our student vaccine mandate for in-person instruction, to outline the consequences of students not being vaccinated, and to urge unvaccinated students who have either in-person or hybrid classes to take immediate action in one or another direction. I include faculty and staff on this note, asking that you'll carry this message forward in your interactions with students.
As we have announced, the vaccine mandate for students enrolled in hybrid or in-person classes took full effect when the Pfizer vaccine received final FDA approval. This means that all students taking in person or hybrid courses must all be fully vaccinated with their information uploaded to CUNYFirst by September 27th, or they will be deregistered. There will be no exceptions to this policy—including students who are in a hybrid class that only periodically meets in person.
Immediately, this means several crucial things for students enrolled in hybrid or in-person classes. This Thursday (September 2nd) is the final day to get your first Pfizer shot, in order to be fully vaccinated before the deadline. The last day you can get a Johnson and Johnson shot and remain in class is September 23rd, and all vaccination information needs to be uploaded to your CUNYFirst account by September 27th. The Moderna deadline has already passed.
A student who is unvaccinated after our deadline will be dropped from their hybrid and in-person classes. This will take place after the point in the semester when you would be eligible for a refund so you would lose tuition monies. If being dropped from a class puts you below 12 credits, you would probably lose financial aid and might lose whatever scholarships you may have, if they require full time attendance.
We will not have flexibility around these consequences. In large part, these policies represent our effort to keep our community safe by establishing conditions where our campus is more fully populated with people who have protected themselves, others, and society by getting vaccinated. We cannot make you take the vaccination, but neither can we long allow students who have chosen not to be vaccinated to be on campus in close classroom quarters.
So, if you are enrolled in an in-person or hybrid class and you are committed to not being vaccinated, you should either transfer to a fully online class, drop the class while you can still receive at least a partial refund, or—and this is my very strongest recommendation—change your mind and get vaccinated. If you do not, you will both be exposing yourself to the consequences I've outlined in the above, and—more importantly—exposing yourself to the dangers of the Coronavirus.
Despite the dangers posed by the delta variant, we have the capacity to crush this pandemic and return to a more normal college experience, without sacrificing your safety. To get there, we must all recognize that many measures we undertook at the start of the pandemic— deep cleaning, erecting plexiglass shields—are far weaker than the protection afforded to individuals who vaccinate themselves. Even masking and social distancing, which do help control the spread, take a back seat in a community of vaccinated people. We need to get there. I urge those of you who are not vaccinated to get the vaccine as soon as possible. I promise our community that we will inexorably be moving toward a more normal college posture and that will require a more thoroughly vaccinated population.
At the risk of belaboring the point allow me to say this; these consequences are not negotiable. You have time, in the next few days, to avoid them by starting a Pfizer vaccination regime, getting the oneshot Johnson and Johnson vaccination, or removing yourself from in-person or hybrid classes. There are extremely limited exceptions to this policy for students with a verified exemption for health or religious reasons, but by and large and absent those exceptions, these rules will be enforced absolutely and without any chance of reconsideration or (in the event that your decision occasions financial consequences) compensation.