Students who want to go back to in-person classes at State University of New York and City University of New York colleges this fall will need to get a COVID-19 vaccination first.
That was the announcement New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made on Monday. It comes as the state is looking to boost its vaccination rate.
As of Monday, 60.2 percent of the state’s adult population, aged 18 and older, have received at least one dose. Nearly half, or 48.2 percent, are considered completely vaccinated.
However, Cuomo noted that the vaccine rate falls precipitously in younger demographic categories. For those between ages 16 and 25, the vaccination rate is just 24 percent.
That led to Cuomo’s saying the board for both university systems will require the vaccines for students who want to go back to their campuses later this year.
With more than 600,000 students, SUNY represents the largest state-run college system in the U.S. CUNY, with 274,000 students, is the largest urban college system in the country.
“I also encourage private schools to do the same thing,” he said. “Let’s make a global statement: You cannot go back to school in person in September, unless you have a vaccine that will be a major motivation for people to get the vaccine.”
In a statement, CUNY Chancellor Felix V. Matos Rodriguez said the system’s priority throughout the pandemic has been to ensure the safety of its students, faculty and staff.
In addition, Matos Rodriguez said CUNY has also worked with state and local officials to vaccinate some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.
“We will continue our campaign to educate the public about the critical need to get as many New Yorkers as possible vaccinated, both for the well-being of the CUNY community and New York City at large,” the chancellor said. “We thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and look forward to the healthy and safe Fall 2021 semester that the vaccination requirement will help to ensure.”
Cuomo also announced with leaders from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that eight stops in the network across the city and Long Island and Mid-Hudson regions will host pop-up clinics starting on Wednesday and running through Sunday.
The clinics will administer the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and each will serve up to 300 people per day.
Those who get a vaccine will either receive a seven-day subway pass or a free round trip on the Long Island Railroad or Metro North system.
The MTA announced it had more than 2.2 million riders in the system last Friday. That’s the highest total since the pandemic began more than a year ago.
“If the region is really going to recover, we need as many people as possible to get the vaccine,” New York City Transit Authority Interim President Sarah Feinberg said. “Safety from COVID and safety from crime and harassment are what we need to get people back on mass transit. And while we continue to work with our city partners on the second issue, we have a golden opportunity here to tackle the first.”
This article was originally posted on New York to require college students to be vaccinated at city colleges, state-run universities