In March, 2020, York College, in conjunction with The City University of New York, moved nearly all of its operations to a remote format in response to the quickly-growing COVID-19 pandemic, in the interests of the health and safety of its students, faculty and staff. In Fall, 2020, the College was able to move a small number of classes to in-person format, where the move was absolutely necessary to the nature of the class, and only after implementing extensive precautions to minimize the risk posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the College published its Reopening Plan, preparing for the end of the pandemic and the eventual return to in-person operations, with the most recent version having been issued in September, 2020 (“Reopening Plan,” attached hereto.) Since then, the College has been able to gradually increase its on-campus presence, responding to decreases in the numbers of positive cases and serious illness among those infected, as well as the increasing number of individuals vaccinated against the virus; in each semester, the College has published amendments to the Reopening Plan to reflect this gradual relaxing of restrictions during the pandemic. Going into Fall 2022, we are pleased that the current environment allows us to continue this trend, moving closer to our pre-pandemic operations model in a safe manner, such that we can continually improve the service we provide to our students.
In Fall, 2021, the College was able to advance directly to Phase 3 of the York College Reopening Plan. In Fall 2022, following an extended period in which COVID-19 numbers have remained controlled, the College can now safely operate in Phase 4, providing for normal building operations except as provided for herein. During Fall 2022, Library Access will continue to be limited to front desk services, without student access to stacks; group study areas outside of the area of the stacks are available for student use. Dining Facilities remain closed at this time, with the exception of the 2nd Floor café, which provides “grab and go” service.
Vaccination and Booster Requirements
All new students coming to campus for the first time in the Fall 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 Fall 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.
All full- and part-time faculty, non-teaching instructional staff (which includes, among others, NTAs, CLTs, and those in the HEO series) and ECPs are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to upload proof of vaccination into CUNYFirst by no later than April 1, 2022. At this time, for the purposes of these titles only, “fully vaccinated” is defined as the two shots of Moderna or Pfizer, or the single shot of Johnson & Johnson, without boosters.
Except where otherwise indicated, the College will continue to adhere to the September, 2020, York College Reopening Plan.
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 Fall 2022 semester, and the College has worked towards this target. As a result, a much larger proportion of its classes in the Fall 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 (See Reopening Plan, pp. 14-15; 36-37).
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 https://www.york.cuny.edu/student for additional details. The College will continue to provide these supports in both remote and in person (by appointment) format in Fall 2022.
All College administrative offices will 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), effective Monday, August 15, 2022; 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.
The College will continue to provide training to employees regarding proper hand and respiratory hygiene, social distancing protocols, and personal protective equipment (See Reopening Plan, p. 9). Signage will be posted, consistent with NYS Department of Health guidance, to remind employees about social distancing, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, and cleaning guidelines (See Reopening Plan, p. 5).
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. (See Reopening Plan, p. 14).
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 here.
The College will maintain many approaches to limit the spread of communicable disease in general, including COVID-19. These include regular and enhanced cleaning where appropriate, safe disinfection when necessary, improved ventilation and maintaining healthy facilities.
The Buildings & Grounds department has replaced air filters at air handling units to MERV 13 where possible, with increased outside air mix. In addition, the College has installed UV lights at air handlers to purify the air. Enhanced cleaning protocols will also be implemented, utilizing state of the art, electrostatic cleaning machines, to sanitize areas where an exposure is known to have taken place.
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 expected to test before returning to campus.
- Student athletes will be required to submit a negative PCR test before returning to campus.
- Weekly testing will continue for those who are unvaccinated.
- Overall random testing of 10% 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 a list of testing locations, visit here. 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.
All College points of entry are staffed by Public Safety officers, who are stationed behind plexiglass shields. All persons entering campus are required to have completed the COVID-19 Safety Training before entering campus.
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 (See Reopening Plan, pp. 21-22, 29-31). 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 (See Reopening Plan, pp. 29-31), 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 house
- In 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.
A visitor to a University campus is someone who is not a CUNY student, faculty or staff member. Examples of visitors include, but are not limited to:
- vendors and other individuals coming to campus to perform activities related to a contract with or in support of the University;
- employees of related entities of CUNY including without limitation auxiliary enterprise corporations, colleges associations, and child care centers;
- unpaid college interns;
- community members and other individuals coming to a campus to use University facilities such as pools and gyms, or to attend activities on campus; and
- family members or friends of CUNY students, faculty, or staff.
Every visitor to a CUNY campus, whether accessing indoor or outdoor spaces, must provide proof to CUNY that they (i) are fully vaccinated or (ii) have had a negative COVID-19 molecular (PCR) test performed by an accredited lab no more than 7 days prior to the visit. Visitors who are on campus for 30 minutes or less per visit do not have to comply with any COVID-19 vaccination or surveillance testing requirements applicable to CUNY staff unless the visitor expects during that time to be less than 6 feet distant of another person for a total of 15 minutes of more. For visitors under the age of 5:
Types of Under 5 Groups
1. Accompanying a visitor
Children accompanying a visitor who have business to tend to on campus for a limited time.
- Exempt from testing
- Recommend masking for children 2-5 years of age who are not yet vaccinated.
2. Attending events
Children attending an event, performance, or assembly where a large group will congregate for an extended period.
- Exempt from testing
- Limit access on campus
- Recommend masking for children 2-5 years of age who are not yet vaccinated.
3. Enrolled in programs
Children who routinely come to CUNY facilities to participate in a program.
- Require Weekly Testing
- Recommend masking for children 2-5 years of age who are not yet vaccinated.
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 (See Reopening Plan, pp. 22-23).
Social Distancing and Public Health Compliance
Beginning August 16, 2021, only unvaccinated persons on site must adhere to public health precautions regarding social distancing (See Reopening Plan, pp. 4-6). Until otherwise provided, a six-foot social distancing requirement will be enforced in all areas for unvaccinated individuals. Should the University adopt further relaxed social distancing standards, the College will amend its practice in accord with the University.
Non-essential gatherings will continue to be restricted, and may only take place with Administration approval on a case-by-case basis and with appropriate COVID-19-related precautions in place.
The College will continue to require that all persons on site must adhere to public health precautions regarding hygiene, except as otherwise provided herein (See Reopening Plan, pp. 7-10).
Effective March 7, 2022, masks will be optional on campus, except as provided above under “Testing and Vaccination.” 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.
Shared food and beverages (e.g., “buffet-style” meals) continue to be prohibited. (See Reopening Plan, p. 16)
Hand hygiene stations will be provided throughout the College, and maintained with soap, warm water, and paper towels. (See Reopening Plan, p. 12)
Hand sanitizer stations will be provided at all points of entry to the College and throughout the College on wall mounts and/or on freestanding poles. (See Reopening Plan, p. 18)
The College will utilize cleaning products identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as effective against COVID-19. (See Reopening Plan, p. 13)
The College will adhere to hygiene, cleaning and disinfection requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and New York State Department of Health, and maintain logs of cleaning and disinfection, including date, time and scope of cleaning. (See Reopening Plan, p. 15)
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.
During the Fall 2022 semester, the College will continue to prioritize in-person instructional activities over all other activities, given the space constraints associated with social distancing. Based on our experience to date, we will be able to expand opportunities for in-person extracurricular activities, but this remains subject to instructional needs and the current COVID environment. Groups that wish to hold in-person activities on campus are required to submit a request to the Department of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs for approval; such requests are required to include provisions to ensure compliance with then-current University standards, and that they are organized to minimize close contact between participants to the extent possible. Groups approved for in-person assembly are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to use outdoor space where possible.
A separate Reopening Plan for Athletics has been submitted by York College and approved by the University.
Contingency Plan for Shutdown
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 (See Reopening Plan, pp. 22-23). Included in this outreach will be regular messages encouraging unvaccinated members of our community to become vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
A copy of the York College Reopening Plan is currently posted conspicuously on the College’s web site, and a copy of this Fall 2022 COVID-19 Plan will likewise be posted on that site. Copies of each will also be made available to students, faculty and staff at the College.
York College Coronavirus Officers
York College Coronavirus Campus Liaison: Dana Trimboli
York College Coronavirus Campus Coordinator: Claudio Lindow