Spring 2023 COVID-19 Plan
York College Spring 2023 COVID-19 Plan
Since March, 2020, when York College first responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College has gradually moved closer and closer to a resumption of “business as usual” operations, as the environment has allowed. As we move into the Spring 2023 semester, we are pleased that this strategy has carried our community through the worst of the pandemic, and has allowed the College to return to a largely in-person environment. Nonetheless, one of the lessons of the pandemic has been that the College must remain vigilant, to continue to ensure a safe environment to work and study. It is in that spirit that the College has prepared the following, York College Spring 2023 COVID-19 Plan.
Vaccination and Booster Requirements
All new students coming to campus for the first time in the Spring for in-person and hybrid courses, or any other on-campus activities will be required to submit proof of vaccination, unless a religious or medical exemption has been approved. Students must upload proof of being fully-vaccinated prior to the start of classes for the Spring term. A person is considered fully vaccinated:
- Two weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as Pfizer or Moderna, or;
- Two weeks after a single dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson (J&J),or;
- At the time specified in either in the FDA licensure or World Health Organization (WHO) approval, after the final vaccination of any other vaccines.
Additionally, students are strongly encouraged to receive vaccine boosters, once eligible. 
- Those 18 and older are eligible for a booster shot at 5 months after the completion of two dose regimen of Pfizer, 5 months after the completion of two dose regimen of Moderna, or 2 months after the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) shot. The Pfizer or Moderna booster is preferred in most situations;
- Those 12-17 year olds who initially received the Pfizer two dose regimen are eligible for a Pfizer booster 5 months after completing the regimen;
- Those 12 and older, 5 months after the completion of a WHO-approved vaccine that is not authorized by the FDA, or 5 months after completion of a mix and match series of WHO-approved and FDA approved/authorized vaccines.
The University has asked all of the Colleges in the CUNY system to work towards as large an in-person academic schedule as possible in the Spring 2023 semester, and the College has worked towards this target. As a result, the majority of classes in the Spring are in-person or Hyflex.
The York College Office of Information Technology has deployed and retrofitted 83 technology-equipped rooms to adopt the minimum technological standards for Hyflex. One auto-tracking instructor camera is placed at the back of the room. This first camera is capable of zooming in and auto-tracking the professor’s movement around the classroom, and capturing the professor’s interaction with the student(s) on-premises. Depending on the classroom configuration and size, a second camera is installed in the center of the room, allowing the professor to show a 360 view of the classroom to those participating remotely. Further, a display or projector is installed in the front of the class so on-premises students can see the remote students as well. Additional TV displays are installed in the rear or the side of the classroom so the instructor can see the remote students. Microphone array technology allows both the instructor and on-premises student(s) to be heard by remote students, and sound technology allows both in-person and remote students to participate in classroom discussions effectively. Document cameras are also installed in some science labs. In addition, to address issues with technology and safety concerns, telephones with direct access to the IT Help Desk and Public Safety are installed in these rooms.
For those students who continue to receive instruction in a remote format, the Office of Information Technology will also continue to make available technology resources, by providing loaner mobile devices to support remote learning in hybrid and/or online modality.
The College will provide training to students regarding proper hand and respiratory hygiene, social distancing protocols, and personal protective equipment. In addition, faculty are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to move instruction to outdoor space, wherever possible.
Students who self-identify as vulnerable in light of the COVID-19 pandemic will receive academic guidance for course selection to ensure all courses are taken online; students registered with the Office of Disabilities will receive guidance and assistance through that office.
During the pandemic, the College has provided support to its students in a variety of areas, providing services remotely in areas including financial support, advising, medical and mental health support; see the Resources For Students webpage for additional details. The College will continue to provide these supports in both remote and in-person (by appointment) format in Spring 2023.
All College administrative offices will continue to implement a schedule to establish a minimum 70% in-person presence on campus (i.e., at least three days in-person one week, and four days in-person the next), in Spring 2023; this provision is intended to be inclusive of all employees of the College other than faculty. Administrators have been asked to assess the operational needs of their offices to identify duties which must be prioritized for in-person work, such that schedules and assignments may be adjusted to ensure that all operational needs will be satisfactorily addressed. In so doing, Administrators must also consider the challenges created by the creation of “hybrid teams,” and should consider how best to approach grouping and scheduling to maximize office efficiency; notwithstanding this, it is presumed that most group meetings will continue to be conducted remotely to maximize social distancing, even when individuals are working on site. Administrators are authorized to consider adjustments to schedules, including staggered shifts, modified office layouts, extended hours, use of outdoor space, and other adaptations in accord with the CUNY Flexible Work Guidelines to minimize office density while implementing a 70% in-person presence.
Employees who may be at heightened risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19 may be eligible for a reasonable accommodation (e.g., to work a flexible schedule or remotely). Employees who have concerns about returning to work onsite for other non-disability reasons (e.g., childcare, health of others in their household) may be eligible for other options (e.g., FMLA, leaves of absence, use of annual leave). Such non-disability accommodation requests are also known as “general accommodation” requests. Current employees seeking an accommodation, general or medical, should contact the Office of Human Resources, which will carefully review all requests on a case-by-case basis in accordance with applicable Federal, state and local law.
Employees are also strongly recommended to reach out to the University’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider, CCA Inc., to seek assistance with any personal difficulties they are facing related to their return to in-person work. Information about CCA Inc. may be found in the CUNY Work/Life Program Brochure.
The College will maintain many approaches to limit the spread of communicable diseases in general, including COVID-19. These include regular and enhanced cleaning where appropriate, safe disinfection when necessary, improved ventilation, and maintaining healthy facilities.
Testing and Vaccination
CUNY and York College will continue their robust testing program using various testing models for the safety and convenience of the CUNY community.
- All students are encouraged to test before returning to campus.
- Weekly testing will continue for those who are unvaccinated.
- Overall random testing of 5% of the on-campus population. Participation in the random surveillance testing is mandatory and failure to participate will result in the removal of the individual’s Cleared4 access pass to CUNY spaces.
To facilitate testing for required medical clearance to return to campus, tests will continue to be
accepted from non-CUNY testing providers as well as from CUNY safeCircle test sites. Testing to
return to campus should only be done at CUNY safeCircle test sites when you are symptom-free to protect you and others in the CUNY community. If you are recovering from COVID-19, you should not get tested until you have completed your isolation requirements and are symptom-free. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, we encourage you to visit a public testing site near your home or use an at-home test kit.
Rapid tests will be available for approved screening circumstances when unanticipated entry to campus is required. The rapid tests will be distributed to CUNY testing sites and to selected locations on campus and will be tracked through the testing system for inventory and usage management.
For more information about CUNY’s COVID-19 testing program, please see the Testing FAQ. For general frequently asked questions, please refer to the Getting Back to Working in Person FAQ. If you still have questions, please contact the College HR office.
Before coming to campus, each member of the community is expected to monitor your symptoms, stay away from others if you feel sick, and get tested at a public testing site if you have any symptoms. CUNY safeCircle testing sites should not be used if you have symptoms.
Individuals identified as COVID-19-positive on campus will be isolated in the Health Services Office, located at Room AC-1F01 of the Academic Core Building, and appropriate medical professionals will be consulted to determine next steps. Upon learning of a positive COVID-19 case on campus, the Campus Coronavirus Coordinator will ensure that the State and local health departments are informed, and will consult with CUNY to determine appropriate next steps for the College, including, where appropriate, timely reporting to the City and State, notice to close contacts, and contact tracing in accord with CDC and NYS standards.
For unvaccinated individuals, continued access to on-campus activities will be contingent on regular submission of a negative test. Testing may include testing for cause in response to exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 infection, or random or group testing (including of those vaccinated) in response to elevated COVID-19 rates in the community. CUNY has implemented a random testing program for vaccinated individuals, and cooperation with the program is mandatory. Procurement will be through a CUNY-approved vendor, and notice of test results will be coordinated by the College COVID liaison and/or coordinator.
- If You Test Positive for COVID-19 (Isolate) Everyone, regardless of vaccination status:Stay home for 5 days (day 0 is your first day of symptoms, or the day of your first positive test if you do not develop symptoms).Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.Use a separate bathroom, if possible.Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.Wear a well-fitting mask when you need to be around other people.If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your houseIn order to return to CUNY after isolation, you must receive a negative PCR or Antigen test (we strongly recommend an Antigen test, if available).Collect the test sample only if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have resolved.If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. Following day 10 you must receive a negative PCR or Antigen test before returning to CUNY.In lieu of a negative test, individuals may provide a doctor’s certification that they have recovered from COVID-19.Continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days; if you cannot wear a mask, continue to isolate for 5 days.If you have a fever, continue isolation until you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.If you were severely ill with COVID-19, you should isolate for at least 10 days. Consult your doctor before ending isolation.
- If You Were Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine): Everyone, regardless of vaccination status:You do not need to quarantine.Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days.Get tested at least 5 days after your close contact (the date of your exposure is considered day 0); if you test positive, stay home and isolate per guidelines above.If your exposure is from someone you live with, you must reach out to your Campus Coronavirus Liaison.If you develop symptoms, get a test, stay home and follow the isolation guidelines above.
All individuals should follow the CDC domestic travel recommendations and international travel recommendations before reporting to work or campus and notify their manager in advance of the travel dates and should quarantine be required. Any students, faculty or staff engaging in official travel on behalf of CUNY must follow the latest approval requirements for domestic and international travel.
The College strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated prior to resuming in-person presence on campus. The College will utilize its various avenues for communication with the College Community to strongly encourage eligible members of the community to get vaccinated as a key component for accelerating the return to in-person campus activities.
Effective March 7, 2022, masks are optional on campus, except as provided above under “Testing and Vaccination.” Anyone who would like to continue wearing masks in any setting is welcome to do so, at any time. As a reminder, due to the increased rates of COVID-19, seasonal flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), the NYC Health Department strongly recommends the use of masks. The College will maintain a supply of face coverings to provide to students, faculty and staff as needed, although individuals will be allowed to use their own, appropriate face coverings as well. Individuals wearing masks should continue to follow CDC guidance on acceptable face coverings.
Note, the College may still require employees to wear protective PPE masks due to the nature of their work, in compliance with all applicable OSHA standards.
The York College Child Care Center
The York College Child Care Center remains subject to guidance and requirements from the New York City Department of Education and the New York City Department of Health, which supersedes the terms of this plan; as of the date of this plan, the guidance provides for full in-person operation.
A separate Reopening Plan for Athletics has been submitted by York College and approved by the University.
Metrics and Early Warning
The College will continue to monitor NYS COVID-19 infection rate metrics and local testing metrics that will determine the need to reintroduce more stringent health precautions, or scale back or shut down campus operations. Criteria to be monitored will include:
- Spread of infection on campus;
- Federal, New York State, and New York City regulatory guidelines and mandates;
- Infection/health system status at the local, state, regional and nation-wide level;
- Status of resources and infrastructure to combat contagion, on campus and in the greater community (e.g., PPE, health system capacity, testing and tracing);
- Compliance of the greater public with COVID-19 protocols (e.g., group gatherings, social distancing);
- Reclosing status of neighboring universities.
If appropriate, the College will consult with the University to determine the best course of action for scaling back campus activity. Final decisions on shutting down part or all of the College will be made by the Chancellery/COO’s Office in consultation with local/State authorities.
For additional details, see the York College Reopening Plan (Rev. September 2020), pp. 23-25.
Communication with The College Community
The College will continue to communicate policy and protocol updates to the College Community through a variety of avenues, coordinated by the President’s Office. Included in this outreach will be regular messages encouraging unvaccinated members of our community to become vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
York College Coronavirus Officers
York College Coronavirus Campus Liaison: Dana Trimboli
York College Coronavirus Campus Coordinator: Claudio Lindow