By: Meghan Brink | August 23, 2021, Updated August 26, 2021
UAlbany is requiring all students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 within the next 11 days following the Federal Drug Administration’s announcement of a final approval of the Pfizer vaccine today.
All students must receive either the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine by Aug. 31, and their second dose by Oct. 1. Students must submit documentation that they have received their first dose via the Student Health Portal by Sept. 3, according to an announcement made by the university.
Any student who is still unvaccinated by the deadlines will not be allowed on campus and will be deregistered from their classes. The university will not be offering tuition refunds for any student who wishes to not comply with the vaccine mandate, as defined by the SUNY tuition and refund policy.
In May, Governor Cuomo announced that all SUNY and CUNY schools must require students and faculty to be vaccinated once final approval of one of the three vaccines was granted by the FDA.
Prior to today’s FDA approval, all residential students were required to submit proof of at least one dose of the COVID vaccine before move-in. Residential students who are partially vaccinated are required to participate in UAlbany’s weekly pooled surveillance testing system until two weeks after receiving their second dose.
According to university communications specialist Kelsey Butz, 90% of students are currently either vaccinated or fully vaccinated.
“It’s clear that a majority of UAlbany students have been eager to get vaccinated and help keep campus safe,” said Butz.
Any student with a religious or medical exemption must submit a request to the university by Aug. 30 to either be approved to be exempted from the vaccine or to live off campus and take their classes fully remotely. If a student is denied an exemption, they will have five days to receive and upload documentation of their first vaccination dose.
The university will not be offering fully online class options for those who wish to remain unvaccinated outside of the courses that are already being offered fully remotely. According to the announcement, students are not allowed to request faculty for a change in course modality and faculty have been instructed to not make any accommodations for students who make a request for such accommodations.
Faculty and staff will not be included in the vaccine mandate, although according to Butz, "we are strongly encouraging all faculty and staff to get vaccinated and so far, a vast majority are."
Butz said that a vaccine mandate among faculty and staff would have to be collectively bargained with the United Univeristy Professions Union, which make negotiations at the state level, not the campus level.
For students who still need to be vaccinated, the university is partnering with Lincoln Pharmacy to provide a vaccine clinic on Aug. 25 from 1-3p.m. in Campus Center 116. Students can register for this clinic free of charge via Lincoln Pharmacy’s intake form.
Other locations in the Albany area to receive a COVID vaccine can be found on the Albany County Department of Health’s website or New York State’s COVID-19 vaccine appointment database.