As we move closer to the reopening of our City and State and New York’s massive vaccination program continues, my office has made the careful decision to mark the week of Monday, Aug. 2 as the date for staff to return to their workplaces in preparation for a more in-person fall. Faculty will follow in accordance with the academic calendar of their campus.
The return to in-person work will be guided by the University’s safety-first approach, which includes a blended scheduling system combining remote and in-person arrangements. Full details of our flexible work guidelines and how to request reasonable accommodations are available online. These guidelines were adopted during the pandemic and continue to be in effect.
As we carefully and gradually build to a greater in-person presence throughout the University, remote work arrangements will continue to play an important role in the strategic return of a post-COVID-19 CUNY. Delivering the news now gives each of you and your supervisors the time needed — nearly three months — to determine the logistical details surrounding your return, and to develop a framework for ongoing telecommuting arrangements.
The well-being of every member of the University community continues to govern our decision-making in every respect. Rigorous reopening guidelines created by the Central Office and each CUNY campus last summer are being updated in consultation with University stakeholders for Fall 2021 and will continue to cover a range of scenarios and include contingency plans in case we need to make adjustments to address sudden changes in circumstances.
To ensure a successful and safe return, I strongly urge each of you to get vaccinated. As I’m sure you are aware, Governor Cuomo announced this week that all CUNY and SUNY students will be required to be vaccinated to attend in-person classes in the fall. That mandate does not include faculty and staff but getting vaccinated is the most important step that each of us can take to protect our collective safety moving forward.
I am proud that CUNY has been at the forefront of the State and City’s efforts to get all New Yorkers vaccinated. Five CUNY campuses are serving as vaccination sites. Our VAXUpCUNY page contains a wealth of helpful information. I would also encourage you to sign up for the New York State Excelsior Pass, which will provide one convenient way to show proof of vaccination or a negative test for people who got vaccinated in New York State. As we get closer to fall reopening, and after consultation with key stakeholders, I will provide additional information regarding proof of vaccination status and testing protocols for campuses and offices.
Before I close, I want to acknowledge the work of hundreds of CUNY public safety officers, building maintenance staff, in-person faculty, staff, and administrators who have worked physically in campuses and offices throughout the pandemic. Your commitment to the sustenance of this University has been nothing short of heroic.
As I’ve said before, CUNY is playing an integral role in New York City’s recovery, and the return to our campuses marks an important milestone of that journey. I look forward to the time when CUNY faculty and staff rejoin students throughout the boroughs in a beautiful campus mosaic that will restore the energy and activity to our offices and classrooms.
Thank you again for your commitment and diligence.
By Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, PhD