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Chancellor’s Letter

Distance Learning

Last updated  August  12 2021  4:13 pm

Distance Learning



Sent: Monday, August 16, 2021 3:55 PM
Subject: Clarity on New Mask Mandate 


Dear CUNY Staff and Faculty,

To those of you in offices across our 25 campuses and Central buildings today, welcome. I hope you are settling in and enjoying reconnecting with your colleagues. I write to add clarity to the new temporary mask mandate we issued Thursday following some feedback we have received.

Temporary New Mask Mandate - Updates

For the time being, everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must:

  • Wear a face mask inside all CUNY campuses and office buildings. This includes while working in a non-enclosed space such as a cubicle or other open seating, regardless of physical distance from others.
  • Wear a mask outdoors on campus when unable to maintain physical distance from others.

The only exceptions to wearing a mask inside are:

  • If a fully vaccinated person is alone in an enclosed space such as an office, conference room, or dorm room.
  • In a classroom, if a vaccinated professor is teaching a class and is able to keep social distance from everyone else in the class, he or she may choose not to wear a mask.
  • Briefly while eating or drinking, provided social distancing is maintained.

To be clear, anyone who is not fully vaccinated must wear a mask indoors and outdoors at all times while on campus, including in enclosed spaces, except briefly when eating or drinking (in which case they must maintain strict social distancing from other individuals). When classes begin, students who are not vaccinated will be further required to maintain social distancing between themselves and all others in a classroom.

We continue to work closely with State and City health officials to monitor the impact of the Delta and other variants on COVID-19 transmission rates and will modify this temporary mask mandate and other guidance as needed.

Other important reminders:

  • Vaccinate or Test - As of today, anyone entering a CUNY facility for any reason will need to be fully vaccinated (defined as 14 days beyond the last vaccination shot) or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken at a CUNY testing site within the past seven days.
  • Proof of Vaccination - Vaccinated employees can upload their vaccination verification documents to CUNYfirst. These voluntary submissions will facilitate your access to a campus or office throughout the Fall, and will also exempt you from the need to participate in CUNY’s weekly testing program. For a guide to submitting your information to CUNYfirst, please visit here or watch this video.
  • Everbridge VaxPass - The symptom tracker feature of the Everbridge app is no longer in use; instead, the app now displays a CUNY VaxPass for those whose vaccine information has been submitted and verified in CUNYfirst. The VaxPass was designed as an additional tool to speed entry into CUNY campuses and offices. For simple, one-time setup instructions, please check the VaxPass User Setup Guide.
  • Testing Program - All faculty and staff members who have not provided proof of vaccination in CUNYfirst or who chose not to disclose their vaccination status need to enroll in CUNY’s testing program and should have received an email with a link to enroll. Testing sites will operate at 18 colleges and at two Central locations. For more details of CUNY’s testing program read my recent letter or the Testing FAQ.

I understand that it can be challenging for all of us to follow health and safety guidelines that are necessarily continuously evolving. As I have said, our overarching priority is to protect the health and safety of every member of the CUNY community while moving ahead in our pursuit of a more in-person Fall. I thank you for your continued diligence, prudence and cooperation.