COVID-19 Information and Safe Campus Reopening

The Graduate Center is committed to providing a safe and healthy campus for all members of our community. Our faculty, staff, and students are our most important assets. Our priority is to enable all to work, research, and learn in the safest place possible, knowing that may vary depending on each individual’s responsibilities and situation. We recognize that the threat from COVID-19 is not over, and it continues to affect our community in different ways, including how, when, and where many of us are able to conduct our work, engage in research, and come together. Getting the coronavirus vaccine is the single most important step one can take to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19.
 

Current Updates

Last updated January 6, 2022

For the Spring 2022 term, CUNY has set the goal for at least 70 percent fully in-person courses on every campus as announced on December 15, 2021.

Students taking in-person or hybrid courses this spring must be fully vaccinated and upload proof of vaccination documents to CUNYfirst by January 18, or they will be de-registered from any in-person or hybrid classes for non-compliance with the vaccination mandate. If they subsequently upload proof, they may register for courses up to the end of the add/drop period on February 3. Students returning to dorms will be required to be tested before moving in. To be sure that your documentation is approved in time, upload to CUNYfirst as soon as you are fully vaccinated. The only exception to this rule is the few students who apply and are granted medical exemptions or religious exceptions. Medical and religious exemptions must be submitted 30 days before the start of classes.
 
The Graduate Center joins Chancellor Matos Rodríguez in encouraging not only students but all members of our community to get the booster shot, which has been shown to provide further protection against COVID-19 and its variants.
 
All vaccination sites in New York City now allow walk-ins. For more information about the vaccine and where to get it, visit the NYS Vaccine Finder and NYC Vaccine Finder.

Deadlines for Vaccination:

  • 12/17/21 Deadline for first dose of Moderna vaccine
  • 12/24/21 Deadline for first dose of Pfizer vaccine
  • 1/14/22 Deadline for single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine
  • 1/18/22 Deadline to upload proof of vaccination documents to CUNYfirst
  • 1/28/22 Start of Spring 2022 classes


For the Spring 2022 term, all faculty will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, ensuring that everyone in a classroom is vaccinated, except the few with approved exemptions or exceptions. We are grateful that most of our faculty are already vaccinated and ask that faculty upload proof of vaccination in CUNYfirst. If you are among the few who are not vaccinated, please take immediate steps to do so. In the weeks ahead, we will outline details of the faculty mandate policy, which requires approval by the CUNY Board of Trustees.
 
Due to the need for testing during the Omicron surge, PCR tests are available to all students and employees at no cost at all CUNY testing sites. In addition to the site located at the Graduate Center on the first floor, there are 19 other testing sites at locations across CUNY. Any CUNY student or employee who needs to be tested for any reason may walk into a site, show their CUNY ID, register in the system and get tested. Results will be available as usual within 24 to 48 hours. 
 
CUNY’s random COVID-19 testing program of vaccinated students and employees ramped up in the last week of November, and will be expanded for the Spring to include more people and increase the frequency of testing. Please be on the lookout in case you are randomly selected to be tested as you are required to comply. For a general FAQ on the testing program, visit here.

Per the Chancellor’s message on January 5, CUNY will begin following CDC’s recently issued guidance that adjusted the recommended quarantine and isolation times for people in close contact with someone who is positive or those who test positive:

  • CUNY employees and students who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should base their approach to quarantine – if it is needed, when to end it, and when to test – depending on whether they are boosted, fully vaccinated and when, or unvaccinated. Please follow CDC’s guidance on quarantine spelled here.
      
  • Employees and students who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for at least 5 days. When to end isolation, test and return to in-person work or class varies depending on whether or not a person develops symptoms or is severely ill. Please follow CDC’s guidance on isolation spelled here.
      
  • For a detailed description on CDC’s guidelines on quarantine and isolation visit here.
      
  • Employees who are able to work remotely during quarantine and isolation should do so.

In accordance with existing CUNY campus plans, CUNY offices will continue to operate at the 50% in-person capacity guidelines that have been in place since August now through February 25. Starting on Monday, February 28, staff members will work 70% of the time in person. Please start to make any needed preparations to be ready for this transition.

During the current Omicron surge, supervisors are encouraged to work with Human Resources to address individual situations where short-term fully remote work arrangements may be particularly aligned with our commitment to mitigate the potential spread of infection. We urge employees who are not feeling well to stay home.

A reminder that any staff member returning to work this spring for the first time in-person will need to be fully vaccinated, and their proof-of-vaccination documents uploaded and approved in CUNYfirst, or they will need to participate in CUNY’s Cleared4 testing program. Please don’t wait to upload your proof of vaccination or get set up for testing.

For all health & safety guidance, visit CUNY’s #VaxUpCUNY webpage

Vaccination mandate

Students taking in-person or hybrid courses this spring must be fully vaccinated and upload proof of vaccination documents to CUNYfirst by January 18, or they will be de-registered from any in-person or hybrid classes for non-compliance with the vaccination mandate. If they subsequently upload proof, they may register for courses up to the end of the add/drop period on February 3. Students returning to dorms will be required to be tested before moving in. To be sure that your documentation is approved in time, upload to CUNYfirst as soon as you are fully vaccinated. The only exception to this rule is the few students who apply and are granted medical exemptions or religious exceptions. Medical and religious exemptions must be submitted 30 days before the start of classes.

For the Spring 2022 term, all faculty will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, ensuring that everyone in a classroom is vaccinated, except the few with approved exemptions or exceptions. We are grateful that most of our faculty are already vaccinated and ask that faculty upload proof of vaccination in CUNYfirst. If you are among the few who are not vaccinated, please take immediate steps to do so. In the weeks ahead, we will outline details of the faculty mandate policy, which requires approval by the CUNY Board of Trustees.

A reminder that any staff member returning to work this spring for the first time in-person will need to be fully vaccinated, and their proof-of-vaccination documents uploaded and approved in CUNYfirst, or they will need to participate in CUNY’s Cleared4 testing program. Please don’t wait to upload your proof of vaccination or get set up for testing.
 
Temporary mask mandate
 
Due to the current rate of the coronavirus transmission, the CUNY Chancellor has mandated that everyone on a CUNY campus, regardless of vaccination status, must:

  • Wear a face mask inside all CUNY campuses and office buildings.

  • Wear a mask outdoors on campus when unable to maintain physical distance from others (for example, while attending a CUNY gathering or sporting event).

The latest Guidance for Implementing COVID-19 Prevention Strategies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends indoor mask-wearing for unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals in areas with substantial or high rates of COVID transmission. New York City is one of those areas. As a result, the Graduate Center continues to require that masks be worn in all indoor public spaces (hallways, restrooms, lounges, etc.) and in any office spaces with more than one occupant. This requirement applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

Per CUNY’s universal masking mandate, the only exceptions to wearing a mask inside are:

  • If a fully vaccinated person is alone in an enclosed space such as an office, conference room, or dorm room.
  • In a classroom, if a vaccinated professor with a Cleared4 CUNY Access Pass is teaching a class and is able to keep social distance from everyone else in the class, he or she may choose not to wear a mask.
  • Briefly while eating or drinking, provided social distancing is maintained.

This is a community effort that is founded in mutual respect for each other to foster an environment for safe learning and working together.
 
CUNY Testing Program

CUNY will continue to monitor campus and university-wide positivity rates through our on campus testing programs with Applied DNA Clinical Labs LLC (ADCL). Since August 25, CUNY has administered 97,640 tests to unvaccinated individuals. You can check the latest numbers in our COVID-19 Safety Tracker available here.

If you have not submitted vaccination documentation through CUNYfirst, you will be enrolled in the mandatory testing program and will receive an email from the Cleared4 system inviting you to the “safeCircle” testing program. Please check all email addresses included in your CUNYfirst profile and your spam folders. The message comes from a “no-reply” email address with the subject line: “Welcome to safeCircle at CUNY.” This email contains your personal invitation link to make a testing appointment at any of the 20 CUNY testing sites, including the Graduate Center or another site that is convenient for you. Appointment scheduling, test results, and other communications will flow through the Cleared4 platform. ADCL uses a PCR test with a nasal swab that is less invasive than the longer-stemmed swabs used elsewhere, but that is still highly sensitive and designed to detect the virus before a person becomes symptomatic and can begin spreading it.

Test results are processed within 24 hours (48-72 hours on weekends). Test results are sent via email and by personal link. We recommend that you schedule your subsequent test for the fifth day after the previous test so as to avoid any gaps, considering the weekend schedule in results. Remember to schedule your test on a regular basis for seamless campus access, and follow up with your home campus with questions related to your test.

If you have not received the welcome registration email from Cleared4.org, go to adnas.com/CUNYhelp and click on the blue button that says “CLICK HERE FOR CUSTOMER SUPPORT DESK” to submit a ticket. A phone number must be included in the ticket.

Students who need to verify the email account where cleared4.org sent their individualized link, or need to verify their EMPLID should visit their CUNYfirst Student Center. Click here for a visual guide on how to access your student center.

For more details of CUNY’s testing program, review the Testing FAQ. There is further information on the vendor’s website including a link to contact the support desk for technical questions.

The results of the weekly testing program of unvaccinated individuals can be reviewed in the CUNY COVID-19 Safety Tracker.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I enter the Graduate Center building?
How do I get a Graduate Center ID?
How do I view and present my Cleared4 CUNY Access Pass?
Who can I contact with questions about the student vaccination policy?
Who can I contact with questions regarding the employee vaccination policy?
How do I report a positive COVID-19 case?
What is the COVID-19 investigation protocol?
Does the Graduate Center’s ventilation system meet recommended requirements?
Who do I contact with a question about…

 

Information For

STUDENTS

FACULTY

STAFF

  

General Information


The Graduate Center is working in close collaboration with CUNY leadership to monitor developments related to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and we are following the latest guidance from local, state, and federal agencies. Find more information below. 

Building Access

Anyone entering a CUNY facility for any reason will need to show the CUNY Access Pass in Cleared4 as proof they are fully vaccinated (defined as 14 days beyond the last vaccination shot) or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken at a CUNY testing site within the past seven days.

Please refer to the Building Entry Policy for more details. 

All visitors must be approved prior to accessing campus. Request visitor access at least seven days prior to the visit by submitting the Request Cleared4 CUNY Access Pass for Visitors form.

Faculty, staff, and students who are based at the Advanced Science Research Center will find the ASRC’s detailed ramp-up to in-person research plan here.

Remote Technology

To facilitate remote work, CUNY and The Graduate Center have made a variety of online collaboration tools available to faculty, staff, and students. These include:

Additionally, the GC Portal remains a hub to connect to your GC email, Blackboard, CUNYfirst, and other collaboration tools; and Information Technology can be contacted for support by the GC community.  

Travel

All non-essential university-related international and domestic travel is suspended until further notice. Travel permission can be obtained during these times by submitting the Petition for Domestic or International Travel Form to Rachel Sponzo, RSponzo@gc.cuny.edu for internal review, before submission to CUNY Central.
 
When planning international travel, students, employees and visitors should anticipate a 10 day period upon return when they will be subject to CUNY’s “building quarantine.” Individuals should plan international travel to ensure that if they have class, work, or meetings scheduled during the 10 days after travel, that they can participate in these activities remotely, including authorization from their supervisor or instructor, as applicable.
 
See the Travel Advisory Policy for more details.

Coronavirus Reporting

Reporting of all positive cases impacting the Graduate Center community is managed by the campus coronavirus coordinator, Brian Peterson, interim senior vice president for finance and administration, and the campus coronavirus health monitoring liaison, Pinar Ozgu, interim vice president for institutional equity and human resources.

The campus coronavirus coordinator and health monitoring liaison are responsible for reviewing health screening data, campus access logs, and other data to confirm reported cases, coordinate contact tracing, and assist New York State and local health officials with tracing. They will also coordinate notification with community members who may have been affected and, when necessary, communications to the GC community.

Students, faculty, staff, vendors, and campus visitors are obligated to report if they have tested positive for COVID-19 to the health monitoring liaison by sending an email to COVID-19screening@gc.cuny.edu.

One of the Graduate Center HR liaisons will follow up with individuals reporting symptoms, aid in identifying exposures, and notify close contacts of the exposure as soon as possible after being notified that someone on campus has tested positive for or been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Additional Information

We encourage you to monitor these websites for updated information on the COVID-19 virus.  

General Resources


Unemployment Assistance


Resources for Managing Stress

  • The CUNY Work/Life Program is available to all employees and their dependents. This is a free and confidential program that offers information, guidance, and traditional counseling in areas such as emotional well-being, workplace challenges, health and wellness issues, and financial or legal concerns. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 855.492.3633.
  • The Graduate Center’s Student Counseling Services team has compiled a list of COVID-19 self-help resources for everyone in our community. These include the New York State Office of Mental Health Emotional Support Line: 1-844-863-9314. The Emotional Support Line provides free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency. The help line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling.
  • NYC Well's website also offers a number of well-being and emotional support applications. You can contact NYC Well, a confidential 24/7 helpline, staffed by trained counselors. They can provide brief counseling and referrals to care in over 200 languages. Call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355); Text "WELL" to 65173; or Chat at NYC.gov/nycwell.