The City University of New York will end its COVID-19 vaccine mandate at the end of the spring semester.
Twenty-two CUNY colleges will lift the mandate for students, faculty and staff members on May 23, the last day of the spring semester, the public university said in a news release.
Kingsborough, LaGuardia and Gutman community colleges, which operate on a different schedule, will end the requirement on June 16, according to the release.
The decision to end the mandate was made in consideration with city and state health officials, the release said. The announcement came a day after the Biden administration ended the U.S. national emergency for COVID-19.
CUNY will also eliminate random COVID-19 testing, close testing sites on campuses by the end of June and grant campus access without health verification, the release said.
“We are confident that this is the appropriate time for CUNY to lift the COVID vaccine requirement as a condition of enrollment or employment, though we continue to encourage all students, faculty and staff to stay up to date with vaccinations,” CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez said in a statement.
“We will continue to consult with public health experts, closely monitor data and adhere to all pertinent federal, state and city guidance should policies need to be modified moving forward,” he added.
The mandate was initially implemented in the fall of 2021, the release said. Students were required to submit proof of vaccination for in-person or hybrid classes, and those who received a religious or medical exemption had to submit to weekly testing on campuses, according to the release.
In the release, CUNY said it has seen “sustained low levels of positive test results that mirror the city and state’s declining rates of infection.”
During the week ending April 9, CUNY tested 15,886 people for COVID-19, which resulted in a 0.8% positivity rate, the release said.
“While the pandemic is not over, it is reassuring to see the progress we’ve made,” the state’s acting health commissioner, Dr. James McDonald, said in a statement. “The [health department] will continue to consult with CUNY administrators as we monitor the data and align recommendations with those issued by the CDC as we transition out of the Public Health Emergency.”
The State University of New York on Tuesday also announced that it would end its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students entering the summer session.