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.

CUNY will operate with mostly in-person instruction and support services for fall 2021 and requires vaccinations for students participating in in-person classes in the fall.

The Graduate Center has developed a reactivation plan to safely reactivate campus operations. The plan's overall goal is to reduce the potential for transmission of COVID-19 on campus facilities. This will require the full cooperation among everyone — leaders, managers and supervisors, students, faculty, and staff. Only through a cooperative effort will we be able to work together to safeguard our own health and the health of our families, colleagues, and those with whom we interact. 

Current Updates

Last updated October 8, 2021

New CUNY Entry Policy
On October 1 at 5 PM, the Everbridge VaxPass will no longer be used by CUNY. To enter a CUNY site, all CUNY students and staff as well as visitors will need to use the CUNY Access Pass in Cleared4.

Vaccination required for all students accessing campus
Any individual who has a regular physical presence on a CUNY campus or location in order to participate in an education program or activity is required to be vaccinated, regardless of whether that program or activity is offered on a degree or non-degree basis and whether their records appear in CUNYfirst or not. Only if they have been granted a religious exception or a medical exemption, they can show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 7 days prior to the visit.

FDA Approval – Guidance for CUNY Students
The FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine on August 23, 2021, triggering a 45-day final deadline for CUNY students to be fully vaccinated and their vaccination documentation uploaded and approved in CUNYfirst. Students now have until September 27 to upload proof of vaccination into CUNYfirst.

To meet the 45-day deadline, students must get the first Moderna shot by August 26, the first Pfizer shot by September 2, and the single Johnson & Johnson shot by September 23. Find a New York State Vaccination Site or a New York City Vaccination Site.

Because Colleges need 10 days to verify and approve the vaccination documents after students upload them, the documents must be uploaded by September 27 at the latest. Students taking in-person or hybrid classes who fail to upload their proof of vaccination by September 27 (so the documents can be approved and verified by October 7, the 45-days mark) will be subject to potential academic withdrawal that could also impact their financial aid and make them ineligible for refunds for the courses.

Until October 7, students attending in-person classes need to be fully vaccinated and have their vaccination documentation uploaded and approved, or they have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the past seven days at a CUNY testing site.

For all health & safety guidance, visit

New temporary mask mandate 
Due to the current rate of the coronavirus transmission, the CUNY Chancellor has announced a new temporary mask mandate as of Monday, August 16. This mandate is subject to modification based on changing vaccination statistics and COVID-19 transmission rates. For the time being, everyone, 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).

Vaccination proof and testing requirements 
Beginning August 16, anyone entering a CUNY facility for any reason will need to be fully vaccinated (defined as 14 days beyond the last vaccination shot) or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the past seven days. As of the FDA approval of a vaccine for regular use on August 23, students enrolled in hybrid or in-person classes now have until September 27 to upload proof of vaccination into CUNYfirst. As of September 3, students accessing University facilities for reasons other than to attend an on-campus class session will also be required to be vaccinated. Only if they have been granted a religious exception or a medical exemption, they can show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 7 days prior to the visit.

Returning to work on campus  
On July 26, 2021, CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez issued an update that moved the day that remote employees will begin to return to on-campus work from August 2 to August 16. He also clarified that the University is instituting a testing protocol for all faculty and staff who are unvaccinated or refuse to disclose their vaccination status. Full details of CUNY’s flexible work guidelines and how to request reasonable accommodations are available here. President Robin Garrell’s message for staff returning to work at the Graduate Center can beread here, and a followup on July 26 can be read here.

Vaccine requirement for all CUNY students 
On May 10, 2021, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for all CUNY students attending in-person classes beginning this fall. All vaccination sites in New York City now allow walk-ins. For more information about the vaccine and where to get it, visit CUNY’s #VaxUpCUNY webpage. CUNY has issued guidance regarding exemptions to the vaccination requirement and other related matters. In the meantime, all Graduate Center current and incoming students are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
What Phase of the GC Reopening Plan are we currently in?
The Graduate Center is operating in Phase 3 of the  Campus Reopening Plan. At this time, there is no physical distancing requirement. If conditions warrant, we will implement either a 3-foot or 6-foot distancing requirement. We encourage everyone in the community to respect the personal space of others. See more information in the FAQ below.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I enter the Graduate Center building?
How do I get a Graduate Center ID?
What is the student vaccination policy?
Who can I contact with questions about the student vaccination policy?
What is the employee vaccination policy?
Who can I contact with questions regarding the employee vaccination policy?
What is the masking policy at the Graduate Center?
What is the COVID-19 testing program at the Graduate Center?
What is the COVID-19 investigation protocol?
What Phase of the GC Reopening Plan are we in?
Does the Graduate Center’s ventilation system meet recommended requirements?
Who do I contact with a question about…


Information For





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.  


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, 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

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