Safe Campus Reopening Plan: Fall 2021

CUNY Graduate Center exterior, Photo Credit: Alex Irklievski
CUNY Graduate Center
Safe Campus Reopening Plan: Fall 2021


CUNY’s highest priority in determining the balance between in-person and remote learning and working is to protect the health and safety of all CUNY students, faculty and staff. This priority guides the creation of conditions for our students to make progress in their academic programs, for our faculty to advance their creative and scholarly activities, and for our staff to meet the institution’s myriad programmatic goals.

The CUNY Graduate Center is planning for a robust in-person student learning experience both inside and outside the classroom starting in fall 2021 and beyond. The CUNY Graduate Center Campus Reactivation Plan, is nimble and allows us to adjust building occupancy based on the priorities of health, safety, and supporting academic success. With safety protocols remaining in place, we have planned for a scaled return to in-person teaching and learning, as well as on-campus research in labs, and scholarship in the library and academic program spaces.
 

Guiding Principles

Our plan for a phased reopening of on-campus activities at the GC is guided by three core principles:

  • Protecting the health and safety of the entire GC community – students, faculty, and staff – and the contractors, vendors, and neighbors with whom we interact.

  • Maintaining the highest-quality teaching, learning, research, and cultural expression in every program.

  • Ensuring equitable access to classes, labs, the library, and other academic support services for all students.
     

Sections of the Reopening Plan

 

Shared Responsibility

Taking steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection is a shared responsibility and every member of the GC community must do their part to help keep one another safe. We recommend that all members of our community review the GC’s Reactivation Plan and the Fall 2021 Safe Campus Reopening Plan for guidelines that will help ensure safety when on campus.

Summary of GC Safe Reopening Plan: Fall 2021

The GC Safe Reopening Plan: Fall 2021 has been developed with the goal of keeping the GC community safe, providing a 4-phase approach to campus operations that complies with federal, state, city and CUNY COVID policies and guidelines. These policies and guidelines have been informed by guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), OSHA , and New York State.

Organizations such as the American College Health Association (ACHA) have provided guidance for reopening institutions of higher education. Likewise, the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy has been an invaluable resource to CUNY throughout the pandemic.

Recognizing that our students, faculty, and staff are our most important assets, the GC remains committed to providing a safe and healthy campus for all members of our community. After 17 months of remote operations, our priority is to see our students return to classrooms, laboratories, computer labs, recital halls, and the library.

The goal for fall 2021 is to return to mostly in-person instruction, research, scholarship, student support services, and work. Using occupancy data from CUNY’s ARCHIBUS system, the GC has calculated occupancy rates for every room in the GC at 6’ occupancy spacing, at 3’ occupancy spacing, and at pre-COVID occupancy (normal capacity). For example: thesis and seminar rooms located throughout the building generally will accommodate 7 persons at 6’ occupancy spacing, 10 persons at 3’ occupancy, and 14 persons at pre-COVID occupancy. Larger spaces, such as the 8th floor dining commons, will accommodate 40 persons at 6’ occupancy, 130 persons at 3’ occupancy, and 258 persons at pre-COVID occupancy. The prevailing state and local guidelines (6’ distancing, 3’ distancing, or no distancing requirement) will determine the room occupancy limits that are in effect.
  
We will achieve our Fall 2021 opening goals by working collaboratively with our campus communities and to continue building on the beneficial practices that have emerged during the pandemic. We will remain flexible, recognizing that our operational parameters may vary depending on the status of the global health crisis. As we anticipate better times ahead, we acknowledge that the coronavirus still poses a serious ongoing threat to our safety and wellbeing, as individuals and as a community. The coronavirus continues to affect our communities in different ways, including how, when and where we may be able to conduct our work, engage in teaching, learning, and research and coming together.

The GC Safe Reopening Plan: Fall 2021 includes multiple precautions to protect the health and safety of everyone at the GC and limit the risk of COVID infection, including posted physical distancing requirements, posted room occupancy limits, restricted building access, staggered work schedules, masking (face coverings) requirements, additional PPE for individuals performing tasks such as cleaning the building or conducting research in labs, and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols. All CUNY students will be required to provide proof of vaccination to attend in-person classes in fall 2021, pending full FDA approval of one of the vaccines. Prior to the start of the fall 2021 term, CUNY will implement a COVID testing program across the University to limit the potential for spread of SARS-CoV-2 within the CUNY population. The GC keeps track of personnel, students, contractors/vendors, visitors, and guests coming to the building and has contact tracing procedures in place.

If there is reason to suspect an increase in risk to the health and safety of the community, the GC will adjust operational procedures and capacities, making specific, localized adjustments to reduce risk. This may include reverting to a more restrictive phase of physical distancing or returning to remote operations. If the need arises, the GC will initiate the following steps for decreasing on-campus activities and/or closing the campus:

  • Department heads will be notified by their respective Division head of the decision to decrease on-campus activities or to close the campus.
  • Communications plans will be deployed for further internal and external distribution; including community announcement notifications sent to all students and employees via email and CUNY Alert.
  • Information will be posted to the GC website.
  • If the case of a campus closure, on-campus staffing will be reduced to only essential personnel. Teaching and programming will pivot from in-person/hybrid to remote instruction and non-essential staff will return to working remotely.
  • Facilities and Public Safety will maintain facilities, fire safety, and the security of the building.

The GC’s Safe Reopening Plan: Fall 2021 has been developed in accordance with CUNY Guidelines for Safe Campus Reopening, which provide the best practice recommendations and baseline requirements for gatherings in enclosed spaces, including lecture rooms and classrooms, and embody the most recent New York State guidance for the reopening of higher education institutions.

The Office of Academic Affairs has coordinated the fall 2021 instructional schedule and 63% of the fall 2021 courses scheduled will be offered either in person or fully online. Each division and department will coordinate return to work plans that support the increase of in person activities at the GC. The Office of Human Resources has distributed CUNY’s Flexible Work Guidelines and remote work procedures and guidelines for establishing remote work agreements.

The GC reserves the right to modify this plan based on changes to COVID-19 infection rates, emerging medical standards or changes to CUNY, city, state, or federal policies, regulations, and guidance.

Phased Plan for the GC’s Safe Reopening Plan: Fall 2021

The GC fall 2021 reopening and resumption of in-person learning activities will be guided by the four phases outlined below. These defined phases allow us to provide as safe of an environment as possible as we increase occupancy and bring students, faculty, and staff back to the building. The phased plan has been designed to not only scale forward, but to scale back should there be a need to reduce operations or close in the event of an outbreak on campus, or if indicators of COVID-19 community transmission at the GC, in our neighboring communities, across New York City or New York State direct a return to tighter operational restrictions.

The success of implementing GC’s Safe Reopening Plan: Fall 2021 is contingent upon clear communication, transparency, cooperation, and collaboration amongst all stakeholders at the GC. Movement between the phases will be determined by guidance received from CUNY’s Central Office and the joint approval of the President, the Provost and the Senior Vice President, and the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.

Review the details of each phase >> 

Facilities Preparation

As the GC continues to formulate plans for the phased reopening of campus, the Office of Facilities Services and Campus Planning will provide details on the necessary measures to reactivate the GC facilities for safe occupancy. The Office of Facilities Services and Campus Planning supports building occupants by ensuring clean and safe operating of the building, monitoring protocols for outside vendors and contractors while working on campus and maintaining maintenance and cleaning logs.

The GC provides detailed information regarding the GC and Advanced Science and Research Center’s (ASRC) buildings and how our facilities meet operational standards and recommended requirements. Executive Officers, Assistant Program Officers, Center and Institute Directors will receive a guidelines document to communicate best practices and procedures when on-campus and to provide guidance while operating under COVID conditions.

Responsibilities of Departments, Academic Programs, Centers, and Institutes

  • Designate a COVID Lead Administrator/Safety Officer as the primary representative for the Department, Academic Program, Centers, and Institutes.
  • A COVID-19 training requirement will be in place for students when the fall term starts (the training module is in development).
  • Plan and coordinate with the Office of Facilities Services and Campus Planning, no later than two weeks prior to anticipated date of return.
  • Submit occupancy schedules and locations and reopening checklist. Academic programs, centers and institutes receive approval from the Office of the Provost. Administrative departments receive approval from the Office of the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.
  • Maintain occupancy levels per state requirements and CUNY requirements.
  • Disinfect desks, workspaces, work benches, equipment, computers, phones, copy machines, etc. before reopening and as required for shared resources. The GC will provide disinfecting wipes.
  • Manage access for department users and deliverers from the mailroom.
  • Plan and coordinate visitor access.
  • Maintain a supply of masks, wipes, sanitizer, etc. as required for departmental use. Units will be provided information about sourcing these supplies.

Responsibilities of the Office of Facilities and Campus Planning

  • Clean & Disinfect:
    • Thorough cleaning prior to reopening areas within the building.
    • Disinfection of public spaces and surfaces during the day, following prevailing frequency guidelines/protocols
    • Maintain hand sanitizer stations in public areas.
  • Optimize Building Infrastructure:
    • Review building and system design and identify changes.
    • Ready building and systems, perform inspections and start-up.
    • Optimize and make changes to existing systems and HVAC equipment or operating parameters.
  • Provide Supplemental Support Regarding Space Use:
    • Provide guidelines to departments for arranging their workplace, including the calculated occupancy rates for each space in the department at 6’ occupancy spacing, at 3’ occupancy spacing, and at pre-COVID occupancy (normal occupancy spacing).
    • Assist department COVID Lead Administrators/Safety Officer in installing physical barriers in spaces used for public facing employees as needed (consistent with prevailing CDC and CUNY guidelines), and the placement of signage throughout the building.
    • Reorganize common area set-ups to provide appropriate physical distancing.
  • Manage Facilities Contractors and Vendors:
    • Contractor work rules and training for stand-alone sites and work with the GC building.
    • Site-specific plans.
    • Compliance.

Occupancy Requirements and Limits

CUNY has directed the colleges to prepare occupancy limits for each space under three conditions: 6’, 3’ and no physical distancing requirement. The GC Office of Building Design and Exhibitions has created a COVID Capacity Chart 2021 at Pre/Post-COVID and 6’ and 3’ Occupancy as a guide for room occupancy under these conditions.

Depending on the phase and the prevailing COVID positivity rates, there may be a requirement to maintain either 6’ or 3’ distancing between people. Such a requirement will be posted throughout the building. If 6’ or 3’ distancing cannot be achieved, we recommend that offices use the spaces and layouts they have in creative and flexible ways to accomplish either 6’ or 3’ distancing. Some offices could schedule hybrid work (on-campus and remote), use space in scheduled shifts, or ask workers to develop their own space-sharing procedures to maintain distancing. Distancing requirements may be modified as conditions warrant, so we do not recommend changing classroom or office layouts. Facilities has posted “maximum occupancy” signs in many rooms and spaces. Contact the Office of Facilities Services and Campus Planning for questions about occupancy and room ventilation.

General principles apply to indoor spaces:

  • In Phases 1, 2 and 3, regardless of vaccination status, wearing masks    (face coverings), when in the GC is expected except when an individual is alone in a segregated space, such as when working in a private office or seated in a partitioned cubicle at least 6’ or 3’ from another individual.
  • Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks in all space while on campus.
  • Spaces where there is neither mechanical ventilation nor operable windows will be either closed or limited to use by a single individual (i.e., no sharing).

Auditoriums, Lecture Halls, and Classrooms with Fixed Seating:

  • Students shall be spaced 6’ or 3’ apart as indicated by occupancy signage.
  • In Phase 2, students should be spaced 6’ apart. In Phase 3, follow posted distancing requirements. Even if no distancing requirement is in place, during the pandemic, maintaining a 3’ or greater distance is good practice.
  • Facilities will post COVID occupancy limits.
  • In auditoriums, lecture halls and classrooms with fixed seating, properly distanced seats will be designated with floor markers and signage indicating “do not use” or “seat not available”.
  • Auditoriums, lecture halls and classrooms with fixed seating can be used in Phase 3 or 4 for approved in-person programs or events. There will be specific occupancy rates and a time limitation no to exceed 60 minutes for any in-person program or event.
  • For the fall 2021 term, auditoriums, lecture halls, and classrooms with fixed seating will be used only for in-person and hybrid courses.

Other Classrooms without Fixed Seating:

  • Students and faculty shall be spaced 6’ or 3’ apart as indicated by occupancy signage.
  • Facilities will post occupancy signage that apply for 3’ and 6’ distancing.
  • Under Phase 2, Facilities will designate seating with appropriate signage indicating “do not use” or “seat not available”.

Conference or Seminar Rooms without Fixed Seating:

  • In Phase 2, occupants shall be spaced 6’ or 3’ apart as indicated by occupancy signage. Follow prevailing distancing requirements and comply with posted room occupancy limits.
  • Facilities will post COVID occupancy limits.
  • If the number of available seats exceeds the occupancy limit under the prevailing distancing requirement, seats will be designated with signage indicating “do not use” or “seat not available”.
  • In Phases 2 and 3, conference or seminar room use for meetings will be restricted to essential in-person meetings that cannot be held virtually. Meeting times should be kept to a minimum, meet phase-specific time limitations, and be able to accommodate those who may be working remotely.

Prioritization of Instructional Activities

The planned instructional modality for courses that will be offered in fall 2021 include 37% of courses offered online, 52% offered in hybrid format, and 11% offered in-person. A total of 63% of the courses offered at the GC in the fall 2021 term will be either in a hybrid format or in-person.

The GC’s priority for the fall 2021 term is to safely bring students and faculty back to campus to return to in-person and hybrid instruction, research, access to labs, practice rooms, and recital halls. Returning to the conditions that will allow our students to resume making progress in their academic programs and for our faculty to advance their creative and scholarly activities takes precedent over all other activities. This includes extracurricular activities, public programming and institutional events, tuition/fee-based non-credit programming (ACE). The GC will consider resuming these types of programs in the spring 2022 term.

Scheduling of rooms:

  • The scheduling of rooms for fall 2021 courses has been given priority and all spaces in the GC’s classroom and events inventory have been made available to the registrar. This will ensure that the scheduling of classroom assignments complies with the current space occupancy requirements.

Instructional Technologies:

  • The GC will participate in CUNY’s pilot of the HyFlex  system for simultaneously teaching students in a classroom and online. In the HyFlex modes, students can be rotated through onsite and live streaming participation, or a set number of students may be chosen to take the course remotely due to health concerns. Thus, all students will attend the class simultaneously either in the classroom or online. The Office of the Provost is coordinating the implementation of the HyFlex pilot at the GC.

Teaching and Learning:

  • To allow students, faculty and staff to prepare and create conditions for an effective fall 2021 and recognizing that instruction will be delivered through multiple modalities (in-person, hybrid, and online), the GC shall ensure that instructional delivery and student support is guided, first and foremost, by our commitment to equity and our obligation to the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff, along with our commitment to facilitate academic momentum and the achievement of learning outcomes for all GC students.

Meetings

In-person meetings should be carefully considered in fall 2021, including the option for individuals to participate remotely and occur only when all physical distancing guidelines can be followed.

  • All meetings must have a designated host who is responsible for ensuring compliance with all physical distancing requirements, masking, maintaining a list of all attendees, and ensuring the room is cleared of all meeting materials and personal belongings at the conclusion of the meeting.
  • Careful consideration should be given to the total amount of time In-person department and team meetings are scheduled for. In the fall 2021 term, meeting should be limited to more than 90 minutes in duration.
  • Food and drink. Catering is prohibited in the fall 2021 term. Meeting participants who bring in food and drink must be remove and properly dispose of all food and beverage waste and containers.
  • Discuss IT/AV support with IT 48 hours prior to the scheduled meeting date/time. IT can provide technology solutions as needed (e.g., teleconferencing or videoconferencing).

Public Programs, Events & Gatherings

As part of a community committed to reducing the transmission of COVID-19 and a safe return to public programs, events and gatherings that are offered by the Academic Programs, Centers and Institutes, Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation, GC Presents, and the Institution, we will continue through the fall 2021to limit many in-person activities with the goal of increasing these types of activities in the spring 2022.

For the fall 2021 term the GC’s guidelines will prioritize students achieving progress in their academic programs, our faculty advancing their creative and scholarly activities, and our staff supporting the GC’s mission and of the institutional academic programmatic goals to the entire GC community. We do this because of our commitment to supporting academic continuity of our students, the health and safety of all, and to continue our vigilant monitoring of the current health environment.

The following continue to be the requirements for GC-sponsored Public Programs, Events & Gatherings for the fall 2021 term. GC-sponsored events include all gatherings that involve the use of GC funds (including tax-levy, non- tax-levy, GC Foundation and RF-CUNY funds for grants/contracts administered through the GC) or spaces. Events subject to these requirements include all academic, non-degree, and social gatherings or meetings for students, faculty, and staff of any size other than those occurring as a regular part of course or classes on the academic calendar; and all business or social gatherings in academic or administrative units. Faculty and staff, including RF-CUNY staff, planning off campus events involving students, staff or faculty that are not GC or CUNY sponsored are encouraged to follow these guidelines. Students planning on or off campus events must also follow these requirements.

  • Public programs, events, and gatherings (GC or CUNY sponsored programs) must be held virtually in the fall 2021 term. Zoom and other technologies provide features that allow for online experiences and enable a broad reach to GC or CUNY sponsored programs of all sizes.
  • The GC will provide fall 2021 guidance for GC or CUNY sponsored programs that will respond to the following questions:
    • What is defined as an event/gathering?
    • What qualifies as a GC or CUNY sponsored program/event?
    • Are exceptions made for events organized by a recognized student organization?
    • Can I schedule a meeting, or a GC sponsored program/events in the GC?
    • Can I receive a refund for a GC or CUNY sponsored non-degree tuition/fee event?
    • Can I serve food/beverages at a GC or CUNY sponsored program/event?
    • Can I set up an information table, or fund-raise on campus?
    • What are the building entry polices for individuals attending a GC or CUNY sponsored program/event?
    • When can I reserve space for Spring 2022 in-person events?
    • Who should I contact if I have a GC or CUNY sponsored program related questions?

GC or CUNY sponsored programs that fall outside of classroom instruction, departmental seminars, public programming and involve members of the general public must be held virtually until at least phase 3 or until further notice. In-person meetings that are essential must take place in conference rooms, and adhere to room occupancy per posted limits, time limits, and physical distancing guidelines as issued by CUNY and the CDC .

  • When public programs, events, and gatherings resume (Spring 2022) must:
    • Be for GC or CUNY sponsored programs open only to members of the GC or CUNY community authorized to be on campus.
    • Be limited to no more than 90 minutes in duration.
    • Maintain a record of everyone who participates in the GC or CUNY sponsored programs to facilitate contract tracing if necessary (sign-in of attendees).
    • Require face coverings to be always worn during events, and therefore no food and beverages are to be consumed on campus during GC or CUNY sponsored programs.
    • GC or CUNY sponsored programs must meet all GC occupancy limits for space.
  • GC or CUNY sponsored public programs, events, and gathering must:
    • Hold any approved on-campus event only in spaces that have been approved by the Campus Coronavirus Campus Facilities Coordinator and the Campus Coronavirus Campus Coordinator.
    • Assure that there is appropriate signage, provide hand sanitizer, and arrange for pre- and post-disinfection, by department staff, of the space and equipment as well as disinfection during the event for any equipment used by more than one person.
    • Assure that all participants and attendees maintain 6’ or 3’, as established by the placement of seating or directional signage.
    • Maintain a record of everyone who participates in the GC or CUNY sponsored programs to facilitate contract tracing if necessary (sign-in of attendees).

Building Entrance Policies, Vaccination, Testing and Masking

All members of the GC community (students, faculty, staff, and contractors/vendors) who come to the GC or a CUNY campus are required to comply with current building entry policies. Effective for the fall 2021 term anyone coming to the GC, or a CUNY campus, will be required to provide either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test result that has been taken within the prior seven days.

All students, faculty, and staff coming to the GC or a CUNY campus must continue to monitor their health daily for symptoms of COVID-19 . Regardless of your vaccination status and role in the community, stay home if you are sick. Individuals who experience symptoms are to isolate at home and seek appropriate medical care, including testing for COVID-19. Students, faculty, and staff who experience symptoms, or become ill while on campus will have access to one of two isolation rooms located in the Wellness Center. Individuals may use these spaces to wait for transportation home or to a medical facility.

  • Vaccination:

    Vaccination is the most important way to protect yourself, those you love and your community from COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines are free, easy to access, safe, and effective. When you are fully vaccinated, you can do more things safely.

  • Testing:

    Regardless of your vaccination status, stay home if you are sick. This is true for COVID-19 and other viruses. If you’re unvaccinated; get tested if you have symptoms or were exposed to someone with COVID-19. If you’re vaccinated; get tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in all indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result.

    CUNY will provide a COVID testing program on 20 campus locations in the fall 2021 and spring 2022 terms. The COVID testing services will be available to CUNY students and employees. Unvaccinated individuals will be required to participate in CUNY’s weekly surveillance testing program. The GC will amend the fall 2021 reopening plan when details on the COVID testing program are finalized.

  • Masking (Face Coverings): 

    Following the July 27, 2021 CDC Recommendations, wearing masks (face coverings), regardless of vaccination status, when in the GC is expected except when an individual is alone in a segregated space, such as working in a private office or seating in a partitioned cubicle at least 6’ or 3’ from another individual.

Any unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks in all spaces while on campus.

Masks will be made available to those who need one upon entry.

All CUNY students, faculty and staff are eligible to secure priority COVID-19 testing at designated NYC Health + Hospital testing sites.

When CUNY’s testing and vaccination policies and procedures have been approved, the GC will amend the fall 2021 reopening plan as well as the current building entry policies to comply with new policy guidance.

Visitors, Guests and Members of the Public

Since March 2020, visitors, guests, and members of the public have not been allowed to enter the GC to reduce the risk of bringing cases of COVID-19 to campus. For COVID-19 safety purposes, a “visitor” is an individual who is not a GC student, faculty member, or employee (CUNY or RF-CUNY) authorized to be present on campus. Specifically, “visitors” include:

  • Spouses, partners, children, parents, and other family members, unrelated housemates or friends 
  • Guests of GC-affiliated individuals
  • Prospective students
  • Alumni
  • Donors
  • The public
  • Local community members

Visitors and guests are not permitted into the GC until further notice, unless by express permission of the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration/Campus Coronavirus Coordinator or the President.

Vendors and Contractors

Vendors and contractors who are providing services on-site at the GC, or other groups coming to campus such as site inspectors or safety monitors, must agree to comply with CUNY’s Travel Guidance, the GC’s building access policies and vaccination/testing requirements.

All visitors, guests, vendors, and contractors are required to follow the current building entry policies and sign in either at the front desk or the loading dock. Visitors, guests, vendors, and contractors will be required to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result that has been taken within the prior seven days.

Recognizing the interdependence of all members of the GC community and acknowledging that we all have a responsibility towards one another; each of us must contribute to the GC community in ways that promote health and safety of ourselves and our fellow community members. Both on and off campus, we must all commit to continuing to follow CUNY, GC and public health guidance and protocols designed to minizine the transmission of COVID-19. Failure to do so puts all members of the community at risk and may require   the University to restrict access to campus.

Physical Distancing and Community Health and Safety Measures

The following measures that will be in place are intended to protect the health and safety of our community:

  • Masks (face coverings) must be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status, except when an individual is alone in a segregated space, such as when working in a private office or seated in a partitioned cubicle and at least 6’ or 3’ from another individual.
  • Physical distancing means keeping a space of at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) between people. Follow the posted physical distancing guidelines.
  • Whilst using corridors, occupants should keep to the right, travel in single file, and maintain a minimum of 6’ or 3’ from others; following posted physical distancing guidelines.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Stay home and seek medical advice if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Do not bring anyone to campus from outside the GC community or anyone not authorized to come to campus.
  • Follow guidance from your health care provider to isolate if you test positive for COVID-19, or to quarantine if you know or are notified that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Cooperate fully with contact tracers.
  • Keep informed of and follow CUNY’s travel guidelines.

Personal Protective Equipment

The Office of Facilities Services and Campus Planning will procure face coverings and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and coordinate distribution. Face coverings will be available at the main lobby desk and at the loading dock safety command post.

The Offices of Facilities Services and Campus Planning and Property Management will manage the inventory of PPE: face coverings (masks), gloves, safety glasses, disposable gowns, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Divisions and departments can contact the Office of Facilities Services and Campus Planning to request PPE.

The Office of Facilities Services will ensure that hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are deployed throughout the public spaces and at shared workstations of the GC, and appropriate signage promoting physical distancing, masking, proper hygiene, and occupancy rates are in place.

The PPE inventory is and will be reviewed on a weekly basis. The weekly consumption rate, also referred to as the “burn rate”, is based on the number of students, faculty and staff reporting to campus on a weekly basis and the amount of PPE the community consumes. Keeping track of the PPE burn rate helps ensure that enough PPE is always available and that replenishing orders are placed in a timely manner. A minimum of a 90-day supply of PPE will be maintained on campus.

The GC’s COVID-19 and Reactivation Planning webpage is updated regularly to reflect the most current CUNY and GC health and safety measures. Members of the GC community should be familiar with and check the information on these pages frequently as conditions and our protocols may change.

CUNY COVID-19 Testing Information and Requirements Fall 2021

(Dependent on CUNY Policy Decision)

CUNY’s testing polices and requirements for fall 2021 are evolving.

The GC will establish an on campus COVID testing location pending guidance from CUNY Central. When implementing CUNY’s COVID testing policy, the GC will identify the following as part of its testing protocols:

  • Which individuals will be tested.
  • The frequency of testing.
  • The method of testing.
  • Notification of test results.
  • Access to test results.

Individuals arriving to campus without proof of vaccination or untested, will be referred to the campus testing location. These individuals will not be allowed access to the campus until they provide a negative COVID-19 test result.

The GC COVID testing location will be the designated testing site for students, faculty, and staff from the following schools:

  • Guttman Community College
  • The Craig Newark Graduate School of Journalism
  • The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
  • The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
  • The CUNY School of Professional Studies

This consortium of schools will work together to provide access for their students and employees to COVID testing at the GC during the fall 2021 and spring 2022 terms.

CUNY COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Requirements Fall 2021

(Dependent on CUNY Policy Decision) 

Getting the coronavirus vaccine is the single most important step one can take to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19. On May 10, 2021, Governor Cuomo announced that CUNY students must get vaccinated for all in-person classes beginning with the fall 2021 semester. The Chancellor announced CUNY’s #VaxUpCUNY campaign encouraging CUNY students, alumni, faculty, and staff to get their COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they become eligible. All New Yorkers 12 and older are eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine and able to walk-in without an appointment at all New York State (NYS) and New York City (NYC) sites.

On June 28, 2021, The CUNY Board of Trustees approved a resolution mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all students registering for fall 2021 in-person classes. The resolution establishes the requirement that all students who register for a fully in-person or hybrid class for the fall 2021 term must be fully vaccinated to attend unless granted an exception or medical exemption. CUNY’s Student Vaccination Policy Frequently Asked Questions provides information about this new policy. Students who are vaccinated will upload verification of their vaccination status into their CUNYfirst account.

Each campus will establish a Location Vaccine Authority (LVA). The LVA is responsible for implementing the COVID-19 Vaccination Program on each campus and will be responsible for validating student vaccination status and granting student exemptions. Information about the GC LVA and the declination forms will be published as soon as they are available. 

The GC Office of Human Resources is responsible for validating CUNY employee vaccination status, reviewing requests for medical exemptions and supporting faculty and staff as they get back to in person instruction and work on campus. CUNY’s Getting Back to Working in Person and Learning on Campus Frequently Asked Questions provides information for employees about returning to work. Faculty and staff who are vaccinated will upload verification of their vaccination status into their CUNYfirst account.

The return to in-person work for RFCUNY employees will follow the pattern set by CUNY, which includes a blended scheduling system combing remote and in-person arrangements. In keeping with that approach, the Research Foundation has Flexible and Remote Work Guidelines for RFCUNY Field Employees and a revised Remote Work Agreement  for RFCUNY Field Employees. The RFCUNY Coronavirus Guidance website  provides information for Principal Investigators and Field Staff.

Copies of the Remote Work Agreement are needed for many purposes, not the least of which is their availability for inspection upon demand by the sponsors of projects and for reconciliation of payroll records. Copies of agreements are to be maintain in personnel records. RFCUNY Employees, when coming to the GC will follow the same building entry policies as CUNY employees.

CUNY provides important information about the coronavirus vaccine and what members of the CUNY Community can do to assure a safe return to campus this fall on its Coronavirus webpage.

The GC provides COVID-19 vaccine information on its COVID-19 Information and resources webpage. The GC will continue to encourage all eligible members of the GC community to get vaccinated as a key component for accelerating the safe return to in-person campus activities, including supporting CUNY’s #VaxUpCUNY campaign and messaging via the GC’s biweekly newsletter GC Forward.

CUNY’s vaccination polices and requirements for fall 2021 are evolving and this section will continue to be updated.

Monitoring Indicators of Community Transmission/Triggering Phase Movement

The GC will continue to monitor the critical key metrics developed for the Regional Unpause Dashboard , the Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard, and the COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker to ensure the transmission rate continues to be low enough to guide the reopening timeline and maintain operational safety. The GC will also continue to monitor the alert levels from the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, New York State, New York City, and CUNY’s Central Office.

The GC will continue to work with the Chancellery, informing them of changes in local health conditions and of proposed modifications to the reopening plan or changes to operational status per these conditions.

Compliance and Reporting Issues

GC community members should say something when they see something. It is appropriate to let your colleagues know if they are not following physical distancing guidelines, occupancy limits, PPE requirements, disinfecting protocols or other precautions outlined in this guidance. Our return to in-person life at the GC will be successful if we hold ourselves and each other accountable.

  • GC Community Members can report issues that they see to their supervisor, Executive Officer/Director, or to the Campus Coronavirus Coordinator or one of the Coronavirus Campus Liaisons.
  • Coronavirus Campus Coordinator: Brian A. Peterson, Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Dean for Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation
  • Coronavirus Campus Liaisons:
    • David Boxill, Executive Director of Human Resources
    • Annette Grey, Executive Director and Associate Dean for the Sciences, Advanced Science and Research Center (ASRC)
    • Mariel Villeré, Program Development Director
    • Gail Yancosek, Executive Director, CUNY TV
  • Students can report concerns to Matthew Schoengood, Vice President of Student Affairs.
  • GC Community Members will be able to anonymously report any COVID- 19 related safety concerns or incidents of unsafe conditions at the GC using an online reporting form.

Considerations for Vulnerable Populations

The GC recognizes, and supports, CUNY’s tenet of evaluating multiple approaches to serving vulnerable populations as noted in the GC Campus Reactivation Plan: Considerations for Vulnerable Populations.

Student Success and Support

The GC’s Wellness Center and Student Counseling Services (SCS) provides individual and group counseling to all registered GC students (NYS resident, out- of-state, and international students) via phone, videoconferencing, or Talkspace.

The GC’s Office of International Students provides advice and assistance to students from outside the United States, particularly about current travel restrictions, visa obligations, and immigration issues.

In response to an increase in inquiries from international students, the GC has submitted a list of questions to CUNY Central for guidance as we prepare for the fall 2021 term. Vaccine questions we are seeking guidance on include:

  • Q: Will CUNY accept the U.S. vaccines listed below with emergency use authorization by the FDA including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen.

    A: Until the expected full FDA approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, unvaccinated students will be required to instead show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than seven days prior to attending any on-campus sessions or visiting a campus.

  • Q: Will CUNY accept any of the international vaccines authorized for emergency use by the WHO , including AstraZeneca, Covishield (Serum Institute of India), Sinopharm (Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products), Comirnaty/BNT62b2 (Fosun Pharmaceuticals, Hong Kong), Sinovac- CoronaVac?

    A: If your vaccine is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and you are considered fully vaccinated as specified in the WHO approval, you are fully vaccinated under CUNY policy.

Questions we are seeking guidance on for an FAQ for International Students include:

  • I was unable to get vaccinated at home. Can I be vaccinated when I arrive at CUNY? Will I need to quarantine?
  • Should I delay getting the vaccine offered in my home country and wait until I arrive at CUNY?
  • If I have received my first dose, must I wait until I am fully vaccinated before I can be in a CUNY classroom (two weeks post the final dose)?
  • If I must wait, can I attend my classes online until I am fully vaccinated? Will there be a full-remote/virtual option for students who are enrolled in the fall but aren’t vaccinated?
  • Must I be fully vaccinated before I move into a CUNY dormitory?
  • Can I get vaccinated at CUNY?
  • I received a COVID-19 vaccine in another country (not one approved in the U.S. or by the WHO) and am now at CUNY, should I be re-vaccinated here?
  • I received one dose of a two-dose vaccine in another country, can I get the second dose in the U.S./ New York?
  • Will antibody tests prove I have immunity to COVID-19?
  • Can I put my vaccination information from outside the US into CUNY’s records? How can I show proof of vaccination?

The Graduate Center Apartments (Housing)

Located at 165 East 118th Street, the eight-story GC Apartment complex offers bright, modern, airy, and affordable housing, as well as an easy commute to the GC for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and members of the faculty. The complex abuts the plaza of CUNY’s East Harlem Campus with Hunter College’s School of Social Work.

Apartments are available through a 12-month license issued by the buildings managing agent. The license functions as a lease, except that a renter must maintain eligibility for the license to remain in effect. Licenses may be renewed annually for students who remain in good academic standing.

The GC and the managing agent work closely together in operating the building. While the GC’s COVID-19 policies and protocols apply to the GC Apartments, the managing agent is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the apartment complex.

The steps the GC and the managing agent have taken during the pandemic to ensure the health and safety of the residents include:

  • Accommodating student and faculty requests to terminate their licenses early.
  • Closing the lounge and exercise room.
  • Restricted access on the number of people who can use the laundry room.
  • Restricted gatherings and activities within the building.
  • Posted appropriate COIVD-19 signage throughout the building.
  • Required appropriate physical distancing of all residents and restricted visitor access.
  • Implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.
  • Implemented random, twice a month, testing of residents.
  • Reduced the apartment capacity of the units.

All student residents must be vaccinated. Unvaccinated students will not be allowed to reside in any CUNY dormitory (housing). GC students who reside in the apartments have access to health and wellness services provided by the GC. Faculty members who reside in the apartments have access to wellness services provided through CUNY’s Employment Assistance Program, the CUNY Work/Life Program. Since these are private residences, each with its own kitchen, there are no onsite food services. If a student identifies food insecurity, the Office of Student Affairs will work with the student to provide access to a food pantry or other appropriate support services.

Communication Plan

The GC’s communication plan includes:

  • The GC’s COVID Reactivation Planning Committee (RPC). The Committee is comprised of students, faculty, staff, representatives from the Child Development and Learning Center, the PSC, the Feminist Press, and CUNY TV. The RPC is chaired by the GC’s Coronavirus Campus Coordinator. The RPC provides input on the GC’s reactivation and reopening plans and provides ongoing feedback on issues related to campus operations, the impact of COVID on the campus community, and ensures transparent communications.
  • GC members are kept apprised of current conditions and changes in operational phases via email, the GC website, and virtual town hall meetings.
  • Regular meetings with the Council of Executive Officers, the Graduate Council, Academic and Administrative Departments, representatives from the Doctoral and Graduate Student Council (DGSC), representatives from the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) occur regularly and as requested.
  • The GC’s COVID-19 and Reactivation Planning website provides current information about the status of campuses operations and information about the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • GC Forward, a biweekly newsletter to the GC community from the President, Interim Provost, and Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, provides information to keep the community up to date on plans and progress as we scale operations.
  • COVID-19 Updates and Resources Brief, published on Wednesdays, provides recent COVID-19 statistics for New York City as well as links to COVID-19 related content relevant to the GC, CUNY, New York City, New York State, U.S./Federal Government, Higher Education and Online Learning.
  • GC Online is a resource for faculty who are teaching hybrid or online courses at the GC. It offers broad guidance for a range of pedagogical approaches and support for online instruction. Signage (print and digital) throughout the GC have been designed  to inform and remind community members of current physical distancing requirements, acceptable use of masks and PPE, proper hygiene, as well as cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
  • Signage (print) posted on stairwell entrances provides directional guidance and physical distancing requirements are placed throughout the building.
  • Signage (print) posted on doors to enter the building, as well as spaces within the building, communicate current building entry policies, physical distancing requirements, how to properly wear a mask, and to stay home if feeling unwell.
  • Questions can be directed to reactivation@gc.cuny.edu.

The Graduate Center’s Coronavirus Designees and Teams

Coronavirus Campus Coordinator:

  • Brian A. Peterson, Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration/Campus Coronavirus Coordinator

Coronavirus Campus Liaisons:

  • David Boxill, Executive Director of Human Resources
  • Annette Grey, Executive Director and Associate Dean for the Sciences, Advanced Science and Research Center (ASRC)
  • Mariel Villeré, Program Development Director
  • Gail Yancoseck, Executive Director, CUNY TV

GC Location Vaccine Authority (LVA):

  • Cheri Daniels, Administrative Coordinator, Wellness Center
  • Eric Brown, Student Life Coordinator

Campus HR Point of Contacts:

  • Kaleema Cesar, HR Generalist (Employee Reporting)
  • Geraldine Powell, HR Generalist (Employee Reporting)

Graduate Center Screeners:

  • Albert Bregendahl, Sargent, Public Safety and Security
  • Annette Grey, Executive Director and Associate Dean for the Sciences, Advanced Science and Research Center (ASRC Reporting)
  • Cheryle Holder, Sargent, Public Safety and Security
  • Matthew Schoengood, Vice President for Student Affairs (Student Reporting)

Coronavirus Campus Facilities Coordinator:

  • Charles Scott, Director of Facilities Services and Campus Planning

Graduate Center PPE Procurement Team:

  • Team Chair: Charles Scott, Director of Facilities Services and Campus Planning
  • Ronald Paynter, Director of Purchasing and Contracts
  • Renee Marrero, Property Manager

Coronavirus Campus Communications Coordinators:

  • Wendy DeMarco Fuentes, Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Communications
  • Bonnie Eissner, Director of Communications

Coronavirus Campus Signage Team:

  • Donald Cherry, Graphic Designer
  • Carline Dennery, Facilities Services and Campus Planning Manger
  • Christopher Lowery, Assistant to the Director, Building Design
  • Mariel Villeré, Program Development Director

The GC Campus Reactivation Committee (July 2021):

  • Brian A. Peterson, Committee Co-Chair, Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration/Campus Coronavirus Coordinator
  • Mariel Villeré, Committee Co-Chair, Program Development Director
  • Manju Adikesavan, Student Representative
  • Nora Bartosik, Student Representative
  • Herman Bennett, Professor
  • Harold Berkowitz, Chair Emeritus, Lifelong Peer Learning Program (LP2) Advisory Board
  • Joseph Boninger, Student Representative
  • David Boxill, Executive Director of Human Resources
  • Eve Bromberg, Student Representative
  • Victoria Jansson, Student Representative
  • Joshua Brumberg, Dean for the Sciences
  • Kaleema Cesar, HR Generalist/HR Campus Liaison
  • Norman Carey, Executive Officer Music, Professor
  • George Casturani, Director, Broadcast & A/V Systems and Services, CUNY TV
  • Alyson Cole, Executive Officer Political Science, Professor
  • Teresa Curmi, Acting Director CUNY BA
  • Vincent Deluca, Director of Student Services/Registrar
  • Wendy DeMarco Fuentes, Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Communications
  • Zee Dempster, Assistant Director, IRADAC & AFCP /PSC Representative
  • Carline Dennery, Office Manager Facilities and Campus Planning
  • Emily Drabinsky, Interim Chief Liberian
  • Bonnie Eissner, Director of Communications
  • John Flaherty, Director of Institutional Services/Security and Public Safety
  • Robin Garrell, President
  • Annette “Nina” Grey, Executive Director and Associate Dean for the Sciences, Advanced Science and Research Center (ASRC)
  • Meghan Hughes, Director of Operations (ASRC)
  • David Kapur, Director of IT Client Services
  • Barry Levine, 2021-22 Member, Lifelong Peer Learning Program (LP2)
  • Cheuk Lee, Enrollment Registrar Specialist/Registrar
  • Christopher Lowery, Assistant to the Facilities Planning Director (Building Design)
  • Elizabeth Macaulay, Executive Officer MA in Liberal Studies, Associate Professor
  • Gerry Martini, Associate Director of Admissions/PSC Representative
  • Jeff Maskovsky, Executive Officer Anthropology, Professor
  • Kimberly McBryan, Chief of Staff, Office of the President
  • Patti Myatt, Executive Director, Academic Affairs
  • David Olan, Associate Provost and Dean for Academic Affairs
  • Parisa Montazaran Osmanovic, DGSC University Faculty Senate Liaison
  • Sara Ortiz, Student Representative, DGSC At-Large Representative
  • Adashima Oyo, Student Representative
  • Pinar Ozgu, Interim Vice President for Institutional Equity and Human Resources
  • Ronald Paynter, Director of Purchasing and Contracts
  • Elise Perram, Director of Student Affairs
  • Regina Pakh, Recruitment Manager
  • Lekemo Mgatchi Epse Pawa, Student Representative
  • Lynette Phillips, Legal Counsel and Labor Designee
  • Olena Plaskon, Administrative Assistant, Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation
  • Molly Polin-Kane, Interim Director of the Child Development and Learning Center
  • Geraldine Powell, HR Generalist/HR Campus Liaison
  • Enrique Pujals, Professor Mathematics
  • Ray Ring, Facilities Planning Director (Building Design)
  • Lisa Rhody, Deputy Director of Digital Initiatives
  • David Salmon, Facilities Manager (CUNY Central)
  • Achia Samuels, Blackboard Administrator
  • Karen Sander, Director of Public Programs
  • Matthew Schoengood, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Charles Scott, HR Generalist/HR Campus Liaison
  • Valerie Schaffer. Professor, Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences
  • Victoria Stone-Cadena, Associate Director of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies
  • Rafal Szczurowski, Academic Advisor, CUNY BA
  • Kenneth Tirino, Deputy to the Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration
  • Julie Vanegas, Administrative Assistant, Office of the President
  • Julia Wrigley, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Sumitra Wescott, Administrative Assistant Specialist
  • Gail Yancosek, Executive Director of CUNY TV

Graduate School and University Center (GSUC) NYS Department of Health (DOH) NY Colleges COVID-19 Daily Survey Reporting Team:

  • The CUNY Graduate Center:
    • Kimberly McBryan, Chief of Staff, Office of the President
    • Brian A. Peterson, Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration
    • Olena Plaskon, Administrative Assistant, Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation
    • Julie Vanegas, Administrative Assistant, President’s Office
    • Mariel Villeré, Program Development Director
  • The Advanced Science and Research Center:
    • Annette Grey, Executive Director and Associate Dean for the Sciences, Advanced Science and Research Center
    • Meghan Hughes, Director of Operations
    • Reishma Kistow, Administrative Coordinator
  • The Craig Newmark School of Journalism:
    • Colleen Leigh, Assistant Dean for Administration
    • John Scully, Director of Public Safety
    • Alistair Wallace, Director of Campus Services
  • The Macaulay Honors College:
    • Christopher Dennis, Executive Director for Finance and Administration
    • Sara Mazes, Office of Building Services Coordinator
  • The School of Urban and Labor Studies:
    • Nelly P. Benavides, Academic Operations Manager
    • John Conway, Human Resource Generalist
    • Burt Sacks, Associate Dean for Operations
    • Gladys Schryenmakers, Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  • The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health:
    • Susan Klitzman, Chief Operating Officer and Professor, Environmental, Occupational and Geospatial Health Services
    • Arthur McHugh, Human Resources Director
    • Lynn Roberts, Associate Dean for Student Affairs
    • Doris Suarez, Chief of Staff, Dean’s Office

Graduate School and University Center (GSUC) COVID Testing Consortium Liaisons:

  • The CUNY Graduate Center:
    • Brian A. Peterson, Campus Coronavirus Coordinator/Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration
  • The Craig Newmark School of Journalism:
    • Colleen Leigh, Assistant Dean for Administration
  • The CUNY School of Urban and Labor Studies:
    • Jeff Rickman, Chief Information Officer
  • The CUNY School of Professional Studies:
    • Washington Hernandez, Associate Dean of Administration and Finance
  • The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health:
    • Susan Klitzman, Chief Operating Officer and Professor, Environmental, Occupational and Geospatial Health Services
  • Guttman Community College:
    • Linda Merians, Chief of Staff

Download the Reopening Plan

Download the complete Fall 2021 reopening plan in effect as of August 9, 2021 (PDF)

Download the archived GC Reactivation Plan put in place August 20, 2020 (PDF).