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Chancellor’s Letter

Distance Learning


Distance Learning








Sent: August 25, 2021 at 4:42:49 PM EDT
Subject: Still Unvaccinated? Please Read This Now


Dear CUNY Student,

I want to wish you good luck as you embark on the start of the fall semester. I also want to share a critical piece of news about CUNY’s vaccination mandate that, if not followed, could have a detrimental effect on your academic future at CUNY. This memo is expressly directed to students who have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and have registered for in-person or hybrid courses this semester.

As you may have heard, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 23, superseding the emergency-use status of the shot for those 16 and older. 

What Approval Means for You 

The FDA’s decision has triggered a 45-day final deadline for CUNY students who are taking in-person or hybrid classes to get vaccinated and have their vaccination documentation uploaded in CUNYfirst by September 27, so it can be verified and approved by the 45-day deadline, Oct. 7. 

Failure to do so will subject students to potential academic withdrawal from their classes that could also impact their financial aid and make them ineligible for refunds on their courses. (This does not apply to students who have been granted a medical exemption or religious exception.) 

Deadlines to Get the Shots

We obviously don’t want this to happen. We therefore implore you to get vaccinated. To help you meet the 45-day deadline, here are the deadlines for students to get their shots for each of the three COVID-19 vaccines: 

  • Moderna - first shot by TOMORROW, Aug. 26
  • Pfizer - first shot by Thursday, Sept. 2
  • Johnson & Johnson - single shot by Thursday, Sept. 23 

Please keep in mind that although the FDA granted full approval for only the Pfizer vaccine at this time, students still have the option of taking either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a way to satisfy this CUNY requirement.

Don’t Wait 

Students who take either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines in the next week or so, can look forward to having substantial protection against COVID-19 by mid-September, 14 days after the first dose. 

More information about CUNY’s vaccination mandate can be found in this FAQ and official details on this mandate can be found here. For additional pandemic-related health and safety guidance, visit

I can’t overemphasize the urgency of following these guidelines and getting vaccinated today. It is the only sure way we have to safeguard the wellbeing of our community.

I also want to remind you that until you are fully vaccinated and your vaccination documentation has been uploaded and approved you are required to participate in weekly testing at CUNY testing sites and must have a negative test within the past 7 days to take in-person classes.

This fall semester is momentous. It’s an exciting time of year, one that will see CUNY’s campuses fully open for the first time in 17 months. But we cannot expect to successfully resume any degree of in-person academic activity and campus life if we lower our guard. 

If you are among the minority of CUNY students who have not already vaxxed up, I urge you to do so, and I hope to see you on campus soon.